Saint Gildas de Rhuys and its Abbey!!!

And here I am again in lovely Saint Gildas de Rhuys in the Presqu’ïle de Rhuys peninsula in my beautiful Morbihan and my gorgeous Bretagne and in my belle France. A wholesome package of beauty and unbelievable history and sights. The best way to get here is by car along the N165 expressway Brest -Nantes and get off from Vannes at exit Sarzeau follow it on the D780 road until the roundabout for direction Saint Gildas de Rhuys on the D198.

Each town has its marvels, gems of our history and architecturally stunning. This is the case of the marvelous Abbey Church of Saint Gildas!, and I like to tell you a bit more. Hope you enjoy it as we did!!!




The present Saint Gildas de Rhuys Abbey  still preserves beautiful elements of the Romanesque Abbey  such as the Choir, north transept, 32 capitals with geometric decorations and several tombs. The monumental altarpiece of the south cross brace dates from the first third of the 17C. By their sobriety, the nave and the crossroads of neo-classical transept harmonize well with the surviving Romanesque parts. The treasure of the Abbey, saved during the French revolution by the Rector Le Duin, whose tomb is still in the cemetery of Saint Gildas, is one of the most important reliquary treasures of Brittany. Preserved in the sacristy, it includes in particular a lame wooden shrine of copper 14C, another in silver 15C, the Chief-reliquary in silver said of Saint Gildas  16C, members-reliquaries in silver and vermeil ; they would hold according to tradition an arm, a knee and a leg of Saint Gildas, a chalice in gold 16C, a silk mitre embroidered with gold and silver (attributed by tradition to Abelard, it dates in fact from the 16C), a processional cross in silver 18C, etc., etc. In 1789, there were only 5 monks left. St Gildas had nevertheless founded 25 priories throughout its history . During the French revolution, the monks were driven out and the entire estate, including the church and outbuildings, were sold as national property. In 1802, under the Concordat, the church became a parish church. The town bought it in 1804.




The history of Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys begins around 536, when the Breton monk Gweltas (Gildas) left Great Britain to retire to the island of Houat. The small island was soon no longer enough to receive all the disciples of the hermit whose fame grew day by day. Count Guerech, then lord of the country of Vannes, gave him a castle he owned on the Rhuys peninsula and Gildas converted it into a monastery. Thus was founded the abbey of which he became the first abbot. He was buried there in 565. The Saint-Gildas-de-Rhuys abbey then fell into ruin and was rebuilt in 1008 by a monk called Félix. From 1506, the abbey of Rhuys again falls into ruin. In 1649, the Benedictines of St Maur then take possession of the place and restore the abbey after 1653, and will remain their residence until the eve of the French revolution.

The second period extends from 1008 to the end of the 15C. It is best known by the Romanesque church, its tombs, some archives saved from destruction, and various testimonies. The monastery was restored from 1008 to the request of the Duke of Brittany Geoffroy I. The 11C is marked by the presence of other Saints, first Saint Goustan, then a poorly known Abbot, Saint Rioc. The Abbey then developed the cult of Saint Gildas and other related Saints, such as Saint Colomban, St. Brigitte and St. Armel. In 1189, the Duchess Constance of Brittany attended an office and gave a charter to the Abbey, with a donation. The children of the dead Dukes in Suscinio are buried in the Abbey. But the historical gaps remain numerous, due to the destruction or dispersion of the Abbey’s archives during the Hundred Years War.

Finally, from the end of the 15C to the French revolution, the archives of the Abbey are practically all preserve. The Saint Gildas de Rhuys Abbey was taken into management by the Congregation of Saint-Maur in 1649. The nave was done in Néo-Classique style, the bell tower transfer to the western facade and finished in 1705. At the French révolution, the monks were chase out and the buildings sold as national property in 1796. They were purchased back in 1804,by Mother  Saint-Louis,founder of the Sisters of Charity of Saint-Louis. The abbey found its religious vocation and again renovated. The Sisters found a school and then an orphanage.  By 1960,the Sisters of the Charity of Saint-Louis founded a space speciliased in handicapped persons. This center was later transferred to Vannes in 1993, and they renovated and enlarged the buildings to developed a hotel to answer to the new needs of the abbey to become a cultural and spiritual center.




Discover, under the Roman vaults, the more than a thousand-year-old   and mysterious history of one of the most prestigious abbeys in Brittany and its famous characters: Saint Gildas, Saint Félix, Saint Goustan, Abélard, the Dukes of Brittany. The precious goldsmith’s treasure still contains relics. To discover it is to embark on an extraordinary journey through time. Awesome recommended to visit.



The official Abbey Church of Saint Gildas

The Friends of the Abbey Church of Saint Gildas

The city of Saint Gildas de Rhuys and its heritage:

And there you go dear readers, indeed I believe Bretagne or Brittany or Breizh has an endless amount of things to see and do and this just one region of my belle France where I live for the last 9 years of my life. Hope you enjoy the post on the Abbey Church of Saint Gildas as we have and share the enthusiasm and awesome experience with you.

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

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