Church of the Holy Cross in Le Conquet!

Going up to the Finistére of my Bretagne to update this quant small town by the sea and its beautiful monument. This is again one of the thrills of this opportunity in our times that allows me to go back into forgotten posts. Hope you enjoy reading the Church of the Holy Cross in Le Conquet!

The wonderful ocean coast town of Le Conquet, the most westerly continental town in France! The town of Le Conquet is located in the pointe Saint Mathieu, part of the town of Plougonvelin. In addition, the territory of Le Conquet includes the islands of the Archipielago of Moléne.  However, I like to tell you about a nice monument there and leave you the harbor and beach already in another post. Let me tell you a bit on the Church of the Holy Cross or église de Sainte Croix. The interesting thing here is that the church was undergoing restoration on the outside bu the inside was great for visiting! Always a first…

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Once in town you get to it coming from  Brest, continue straight to the city center and turn left to park at Place Llandello. Coming from Pointe St-Mathieu, facing a parking lot, turn left onto rue de Verdun and park right on Place Llandello.  The entrance to the Church of the Holy Cross is at 100 meters in rue Poncelin.

The Church of Saint Croix at Le Conquet with its Gothic appearance, the ancient statues adoring its façade, its 18C tomb and its large flamboyant stained glass, all these elements seems several times centenary . However, the church was built in the mid-19C. In fact, It has travel over time.

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The construction date for this building is 1856, and listed above the entrance gate. However this is not a construction entirely of that time. The first stone of the new church was laid in 1857. The final reception of the church took place in 1858. Only fifteen months will have been enough to carry out these gigantic works. But the work has been considerably simplified by reusing most of the stones from the old Church of Lochrist and the Chapel of St. Christopher. The new Church of the Holy Cross… or Sainte Croix is a little bigger than the old one. It has the form of a real Latin cross and its Bell Tower, copied on the old one, is no longer flanked by the high turret which housed the staircase leading to the galleries and the bells chamber.  In August 1944, the Church was severely damaged by the bombing of WWII. It was not until the 1950’s that the Spire was rebuilt and carry out restoration work. The zinc gutters were laid in 2005 and the Arrow spiral Cross in 2012. And more repairs… As in the past, three statues dominate the entrance gate. Two others are at the corners of the façade. The most beautiful, the most moving is this Christ of pity, or Christ of the bonds, who, stripped of his clothes, waits peacefully, to be judged by the Sanhedrin.  The state of repairs of all these statues betrays their seniority. They are likely prior to the construction of the ancient Church of Lochrist dating from the 16C. Perhaps they were already decorating the previous Church, the experts date them in the 15C.

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The Bell Tower has two beautiful galleries. Under the first, there are prominent sculptures that resemble gargoyles. At both angles of the façade, they represent fantastic animals and they are actually gargoyles intended to evacuate from the walls the rainwater coming from the gallery. At opposite angles, they are cannons and you can  see very well that erect to the sky, they would not allow the water to flow outward. 

The very classical Interior plan of the Church of the Holy Cross (Sainte Croix) as well as the Interior restorations of the 1950’s , you have to go through it with curiosity to measure all the riches. The lateral walls, for example, are adorned with decorative sculpted elements that come from the ancient children of the Church of Lochrist. In the right wing of the transept, you see an imposing tomb of black marble that surmounts a magnificent statue.

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This is the tomb of Dom Michel Le Nobletz, a famous Breton missionary priest of the time of Richelieu. Ardent advocate of the most deprived, fervent preacher of the Catholic Counter-Reformation to the point of being nicknamed (ar Beleg foll =Breton language), or the mad priest, by his critics, he spent the last twelve years of his life at Le Conquet in a house transformed since Chapel, the Dom Michel Chapel. His talents as a speaker and his very pedagogical method of illustrating his words by large drawings, the taolennoù, which he commented to the public, are at the origin of his fame.

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The stained glass windows, from three different eras, deserve special attention. At the ends of the transept which houses the tomb of Dom Michel Le Nobletz, you can admire two beautiful stained glass windows painted in 1932. The other stained glass windows of the nave, by their modernity, differ greatly with the previous ones. Made in 1960 and 1970, with the theme of the great characters of the Church.

Finally you have to take a look at the superb organ buffet overlooking the entrance to the nave. This great instrument was made in 1872 in the shop in Quimper of Jules Heyer. This famous factor of Polish origins had contributed with Aristide Cavaillé to the construction of the great organs of Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris. Jules Heyer has built the organ of the Cathedral of Quimper as well as most of the organs of Brittany.

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Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are:

The town of Le Conquet: http://www.leconquet.info/accueil/

The Iroise area tourist office on Le Conquet: https://www.iroise-bretagne.bzh/decouvrir/actualites/le-conquet-trebabu-53830

The Finistére dept 29 tourist office on the port of Conquet: https://www.toutcommenceenfinistere.com/loisir/port-du-conquet-le-conquet

The heritage sites of the Iroise area on the Church of the Holy Cross in Le Conquet: https://www.patrimoine-iroise.fr/culturel/religieux/Sainte-Croix.php

And there you go folks, a nice monument sitting in a lovely coastal town in the confines of the Bretagne. Hope you enjoy this Church of the Holy Cross of Le Conquet

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

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