Brec’h and its heritage!

Ok this is small but what a pack of architecture and especially history it has! I was lucky to lived in it briefly when first came into the Morbihan breton dept 56 from Versailles in the Yvelines dept 78 way back in 2011. And of course, I have written about some of the things to see in Brec’h in my blog.

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However, I like to tell you a bit on the local heritage ,more than before as took the time to stop by again with new photos. Bear with me on the text as already done the history on the town, let me tell you a bit more on the heritage sites in its territory.

The Church of St André, it curiously has 24 capitouls from the 12C, the belltower was added in 1896, and many stones to built it taken from the chartreuse or Cartusien monastery nearby. It has been extensively renovated and looking great now as I passed by , again today.

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The church dedicated to the apostle Saint Andrew was built in the 12C and altered several times. The nave is one of the rarest 12C Romanesque naves in Morbihan. It is separated from the aisles by large semi-circular arch and arches with a double roller, which rest on columns set in heavy square pillars. The 24 capitals 12C are decorated in particular with animals and rough human figures. The large bay with a flamboyant network of the choir with a flat apse has been walled up.

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In 1740, the side walls were rebuilt, the original transept and the bell tower demolished. In 1835, the new transept and the choir were dressed with the stalls and paneling 17C of the Chartreuse of Auray. The central painting of the large altarpiece in the choir shows a “Descent from the Cross” between the statues of Saint Andrew and Saint Peter. Above, a Holy Trinity in stucco.
The side altars are reduced to their wooden altarpiece decorated with paintings and statues. The paintings represent “Saint Anne teaching to read to Mary” and “The gift of the rosary to Saint Dominic and to Saint Catherine of Siena”. The bell tower was added in 1896 and is reminiscent of that of the Saint-Gildas d’Auray Church (see post), the tower of which is also damped in an octagonal granite drum. The semi-cylinder vault with visible frame of the nave was redone in 1988. The stained glass windows with medallions are signed by the Vannes painter-glassmaker Ernest Laumonier and date from 1896.

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The city of Brech on its heritage briefly mentioned the St Andrews Church here:https://www.brech.fr/a-voir/le-patrimoine-naturel-2/

The Chapelle Notre Dame des Fleurs, dates from the 18C, a site of pilgrims very popular during  the time of the Pardon du Printemps. Inside, the Notre Dame des Fleurs Chapel is represented in the middle of the altarpiece with fluted pilasters. The chapel is between rue Georges Cadoudal and rue Pont Douar (road D19), at the corner of rue du Stade. This chapel was restored in 1993. More on the Chapel of Our Lady of Flowers here: https://www.brech.fr/a-voir/le-patrimoine-naturel-2/la-chapelle-de-calan-st-goal/

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The Chapelle Notre Dame de la Route , mane salut D120 road off roundabout by N165 The Notre-Dame de la route Chapel was built in 1963 with stones from ruined local chapels. It is a modern chapel in a green setting. Its name was born from the many motorists who stopped there. The chapel is an example of the angular architecture that imposed itself after WWII. Its sobriety, its unity and the harmony of its volumes reflect the will of the architect. The chapel is open year round, every day from 10h to 18h. More on the Our Lady of the roads Chapel here: https://www.brech.fr/a-voir/le-patrimoine-naturel-2/la-chapelle-notre-dame-de-la-route/

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The Chapelle Saint-Quirin D768 la chaumiere rd. Dated from the 17C, the Saint Quirin Chapel contains what is considered to be the most beautiful classical altarpiece in the Morbihan. Built in tufa and Maine marble, this masterpiece is attributed to the Laval masters. The chapel is placed under the patronage of Saint Quirin who is said to be a martyred bishop. It belongs to the lordship of Kerivallan belonging to this family from 1628 to the French revolution.  In 1675 the manoir was enlarged .The site is a typical Breton sanctuary and a stopover for pilgrims on their way to Sainte-Anne d’Auray. Formerly, the chapel and in particular its fountain were very popular. A rare document known as the “notebook of miracles of Saint Quirin” attests to the popularity of the sanctuary. In this register, the pilgrims recorded the fulfillment of their vows, mainly healings. The chapel is open year-round, every day from 11h to 17h30. More on the St Quirin Chapel here: https://www.brech.fr/a-voir/le-patrimoine-naturel-2/la-chapelle-de-saint-guerin-saint-quirin/

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The Chapelle Saint- Jacques. is located on the road to Sainte-Anne-d’Auray, at the edge of Bourg de Brech.  Lower down, the fountain and the washhouse complete the ensemble, whose harmony is degraded by the D19 departmental road. The chapel erected in 1464, and enlarged in the 20C. Until then, you had to cross the Brec’h Bridge. This same bridge which perhaps gave the name to the town, Brec’h then meaning “bridge”; however, there is room for doubt. Nearby, the path of the blue damsels, a tribute to the dragonflies of such a singular color that roam the Loch river, is a popular path for hikers and goes up to the mill of Treuroux. With its chapel and fountain, its large presbytery , Brec’h was a relay mentioned in 1648 on the map of the ways of Saint- James of Compostela. The Tro Breiz, or pilgrimage of the Seven Saints of Brittany, passed through this ancient route.

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The chapel is in a rectangular shape built in paired stones, surmounted by a square steeple, pierced by a portal with flamboyant decoration, with hammered blazons. The windows with flamboyant work, have been mutilated. The choir preserves two flaming pools. An interior stone bench runs all around the chapel. The facade is adorned with two pilasters, in the shape of a prism, framing the door. Transformations took place in the 17C, with the addition of the bell tower on the gable, and certainly the installation of an altarpiece of the chevet. lit by a window , no doubt pierced in the 18C, which was forced to wall up by the large axial bay. More on St James Chapel here: https://www.brech.fr/a-voir/le-patrimoine-naturel-2/la-chapelle-saint-jacques/

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There is plenty more in historical lovely little Brec’h and I am not finished yet but it will be another day as said ,the Morbihan is full of history and wonderful architecture all over and so is my belle France!

Hope you have enjoy the ride as can be done by car or bike as well. This is Brech or as the locals write it Brec’h, my first encounter with Brittany and love it. Nowedays we passed by it every day yet always lazy to come in to its heart, the territory can be extensive as there are many lieu-dits or hamlets that make up Brech.

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

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