Saint Philibert and its Chapel!

So as usual, there is a huge amount of monuments around here, some pretty old and meaningful to the locals. I have driven by it but never stop by or maybe it was close; well today I was lucky ,it was open. So let me tell you a bit on the monuments of Saint Philibert, Morbihan, Bretagne, France!

Dedicated to sailors, the Chapelle de Saint-Philibert ; 4 Rue de la Chapelle ; plunges you into a magical world. At high tide as at low tide, the chapel watches over the neighboring fishermen and oyster farmers on the banks of the Ster river. Built in 1648 in the heart of the Bay of Quiberon, its architecture has evolved over time. In the 17C, imagine it looked like a fisherman’s house, on a rectangular plan with a simple central nave.

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Restored twice, in 1773 and in 1785, it was again enlarged in 1954 at the level of the north transept. Then the hamlet of Saint-Philibert grew, and its chapel followed suit: today, it has two lateral extensions for the transepts, and an extension at the back corresponding to the location of the current altar. If it is commonly called a “chapel”, this religious building is the Church of Our Lady of the Nativity. Entering through the main door of the Saint-Philibert Chapel, you take the tiny central aisle leading to the altar, bordered by a few wooden benches, and a splendid “Espére” or hope stained glass window with a marine anchor, on your right.

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The altar is available to you in this colorful little setting. Its sky-blue vault is studded with white stars; the hanging ship models are quite recent because the old ones were stolen in 1989! First of all 3, there have been 4 since 2009, when the oyster farmers of the village offered the 4th model. Skylights pierced in the roof of the chapel are the only skylights with the few stained glass windows.

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To your right and left, in perfect symmetry, the transepts are also modest in size, each with a small staircase leading to a tiny floor. The surface of the chapel is thus doubled to accommodate more faithful during services. All dressed in blue, the woodwork fits perfectly with the azure ceiling. The altarpiece dates from the 17C; the 19C painting of Saint-Philibert on a boat is surprising!

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In the center, a large, richly decorated Baroque altarpiece from the 17-18C, made of tufa by artists from Laval and Angers, adorns the back of the choir. Decorated with four large black marble columns with Corinthian capitals surmounted by two pediments, it houses, in its central niche, a statue of Saint Philibert dressed as a bishop. The Saint is again represented in the large central painting, later, produced during the 19C. He is seen disembarking in the river, on a stone trough, after sailing from Ireland to evangelise the inhabitants. On either side of the painting, two large niches house two statues, not contemporary with the altarpiece: Saint Anne teaching Mary to read as a child 16C and the Virgin carrying the Child Jesus 19C. Coming out through the small door of the chapel, one can admire two beautiful fountains: the closest to the church, intended for animals, was built at the same time as the church by 1649, while the larger one, at the more noble architecture built in the 18C was reserved for the inhabitants of the town.

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The city of Saint Philibert on its heritage including the Chapel: https://www.saintphilibert.fr/st-philibert/patrimoine/

The tourist office of the Bay of Quiberon on walks showing the Chapel: https://www.baiedequiberon.bzh/explorer/randonnees-en-baie-de-quiberon/les-circuits-de-randonnee/randonnees-a-pied/saint-philibert-men-er-belleg

This is a bit out of the bourg or city center all along the coast and before hitting the beaches as mentioned on another post. All on road D28 Saint Philibert, follow plages or beaches. Hope you enjoy this jewel that is worth the detour to see it, the Chapelle de Saint Philibert is very nice indeed.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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