This is Guingamp in the Côtes d’Armor!!

And again updating the best of the times and what of thrill it has been to go back to these older posts and relive memories! Thanks for reading me over the years!! And I like to tell you this time about an off the beaten path nice town call Guingamp in the Côtes d’Armor dept 22 of my lovely Bretagne! Hope you enjoy it as I and on the list to be back when possible.

And , yes Bretagne oh well it is locally Breizh. So many things to see in my Brittany now, and you know my blog on the rest of France, no wonder is No 1 most visited country in the world! according to the UN WTO. Oh yes United Nations World Tourism Organisation.  Let me tell you a bit more of the historical Guingamp.  I admit , been here briefly passing by on way to Lannion , and once just walking around the city center with the family a while back, but is still another place to see.   Guingamp is located 110 km east of Brest and 130 km west of Rennes. Saint-Brieuc, the prefecture, is 32 km to the east. Guingamp is crossed by the Trieux river. The Breton name of the city is Gwengamp, probably from Gwenn “white” or “blessed” figuratively, and Kamp (Latin campus) “field”. The etymological sense would therefore be white field.


The N12 road , the old royal road from Paris to Brittany now the main road passing by it and it goes all the way to Fougéres where I connect with Paris lately. The Gare de Guingamp train station is located on the Paris-Montparnasse-Brest line, their secondary network lines, the line at Carhaix and the line at Paimpol, allow to reach Carhaix and Paimpol.

A bit of history I like

The excavations in the castle of Guingamp have highlighted the three castles built successively on the same site. A first castle, built around 1030 on a circular feudal clod, was surrounded by a ditch with a depth of 5 meters dug into the rock. The buildings were wooden, as were the rectangular tower-gates resting on six poles that defended the entrance. A second castle, built in stone, was erected in the 12C. Its enclosure wall is polygonal; The angles are reinforced with buttresses, according to a model then very common in the country of Plantagenet. A third castle was built in the middle of the 15C, with square planes with imposing circular towers at the four angles, adapted to the artillery of the time. This third castle remained unfinished: the tensions existing between the Duchy of Brittany and the Kingdom of France oblige Duke François II of Brittany to favor the castles located in the east at the borders of his duchy.  Guingamp is quoted for having participated in the revolt of the Red Caps (bonnet rouge) or revolt of the stamped paper which occurred in 1675 against the King for high taxes. At Guingamp, under the French revolution, no execution is to be noted. On the other hand, crops were catastrophic and market supplies are often meagre. No guillotine, no chouannerie. On the other hand, the active participation of locals in the wars of Vendée, on the Republican side (revolutionaries). Guingamp was released on August 7, 1944 by the maquisards of Plésidy-Saint-Connan, resistance fighters. A Museum of Resistance in Argot opened in 2014 in Saint-Connan in order to recall the actions of these heroes.

Things to see ,my favorites in Guingamp.

Château de Pierre II (or Guingamp) is a former fortified castle, from the beginning of the 11C, the castle was also part of the defensive belt of the city ramparts built in 1446 by Jean de Beuves for Pierre II (Peter), were also present and drew the outlines of the city in the 15C.


 Saint Croix Abbey . Founded around 1135 is a foundation for the regular canons of St. Augustine in Brittany, established in 1134 by Count Étienne de Penthièvre for canons from the Abbaye Saint-Victor in Paris.  The abbey was founded by Count Étienne I of Penthièvre and his wife Havoise of Blois known as Guingamp.

Fountain of the Plomée at the top of the Place du Centre, at the crossroads of rue Notre Dame and rue Henry Kerfant . The term Plomée comes from the Breton word plomenn meaning “pump, fountain ” and locally “source “. The fountain was built in the 15C. In 1588, it was transferred to the top of the square and became ornamental. It was renovated in 1743 .

Chateau des Salles (castle of the rooms) built in the 15C. It had a major redevelopment at the beginning of the 17C. It’s closed to the public. The building was erected at the entrance of the city coming from the alley of the Marquis.   The tower on the side is a former 16C dovecote.

Old prison Style “Pennsylvanian” (18C) was built between 1836 and 1841 according to the model “Pennsylvanian , and is located at 4, rue Auguste Pavia. It was disused in 1951 and property of the city since 1992. The prison worked as joint penitentiary establishment between 1841 and 1931, when it officially closed. However, the prison underwent a new activity between 1941 and 1952, and 1 400 persons were again imprisoned for common law offences.

The jewel and a must to be seen is the Basilica of Bon Secours (Our Lady of Good help) built from the 11C to the 16C. In 1093, the Earl of Guingamp, Étienne inherited the county of Penthièvre on the death of his elder brother, Geoffroy. It gives the city and its surroundings a large lot. Inside the walls, the old chapel of the castle quickly becomes a respected and influential parish. In the 12C, the church known today as Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours bears the successive words of St. Peter and St. Paul before bearing the name of the Church of the Blessed Mary of Guingamp, a place of Marian pilgrimage. Some of the details of it are:

The tour Pointue : the Tower is located in the center of the basilica. High of 57 meters, it is surmounted by an octagonal granite spire at the end of which one can distinguish a rooster perched on its cross in wrought iron 3 meters high and admiring the view.   Renaissance tower is located on the south side of the western façade of the basilica. It was erected in the 16C, allowing visitors to admire the Renaissance style. The clock tower is located on the north side of the western façade. It is the oldest part of the church after Romanesque substructions. The Notre-Dame portal is located on the north façade of the basilica. The Sainte-Jeanne portal is located on the northern façade of the basilica and opens onto the north transept. The Porte au Duc( Duke) is located on the south facade of the basilica.   The chapel of the baptismal font is located south of the Western portal The Chapel of Blessed Charles of Blois dates from the 13C. It is located at the point of the clock tower, north of the western gate. This chapel is the oldest part of the basilica after Romanesque substructions. The Chapel of the Virgin is located to the north of the basilica. The chapel of the deceased, formerly Chapel of La Chapelle Saint-Jacques(St James), is located near the Porte au Duc on the south side of the basilica. It was, until 1621, the place where the city community was meeting. Trinity or Chapelle de Saint-Denis, is located on the north side of the basilica; the Treasury Chapel is located immediately south of the porte au Duc on the south side of the basilica. The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is located in the eastern part of the southern lower-side of the basilica. Formerly called the Chapel of the Virgin, it was garnished in 1860 with a white marble altar. The north of the nave is the Gothic part of the 13C while the south corresponds to the Renaissance part of the 15-16C. The choir of the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours is surrounded by four large pillars offering each to the eyes of the discerning visitors, heads of Énigmatic characters. In the past, this part of the church contained a coffin in the form of a armorised tomb of the Le Brun family with above a stone pyramid. A marble slab with a wooden cornice bore an inscription which indicated that Jacques Le Brun had been governor of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours in 1656. Today, one is surprised by a small statue at the turn of the south-west pillar representing a young man dressed in a robe, holding a fleur de Lys in his right hand and leaning on what looks like an axe: it is Saint Joseph.  At the ambulatory level, the tracery of the windows are flamboyant in style. This peculiar form of Gothic affection lanceolate imitating flames and succeeds in Radiant Gothic. The carved foliage of the capitals, the corolled pellets of the fallout and the old statues are also impressive to the visitors. The apse of the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours dates from the 15C.   The bedside represents the end of the nave behind the great altar. Originally flat and composed of three large windows, it was between 1462 and 1484, replaced by a polygonal apse after a donation from the rector of Tréveneuc . The majestic organ of the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours is located on the south side, in the chapel Santiago. In the course of his history has underwent several restorations. The presbytery is located near the western Gate, southwest of the basilica.

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The Guingamp Paimpol tourist office on Guingamp:

The Friends of Guingamp Heritage in French:

The Côtes d’Armor dept 22 Tourist board on Guingamp small city of character:

There you another wonder of our beautiful Bretagne in seldom seen Côtes d’Armor up north. Guingamp is nice and deserves more time even by me! Hope you have enjoy the post as I.

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

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