Archive for ‘Bretagne’

April 12, 2019

Church of Saint Melaine at Morlaix!

And as promise staying right put in lovely Morlaix by the bay. It has several monuments and you can read on them in my previous posts, however, feel that the best monuments needs a post on their own. Therefore, here is the second episode of Morlaix and now its Church of Saint Melaine. Ah yes the sun is triying to come out in my neck of the woods with temps of 11C or about 52F.

The Church of Saint Melaine is located at Morlaix, Finistére dept 29 of the region of Brittany. The  Church of Saint-Mélaine, is of flamboyant Gothic style (15C) dedicated to Melaine de Rennes. The Priory of Saint-Mélaine  was founded between 1149 and 1157 following a donation of Guyomarc’h III, Lord of Morlaix. The Church was built at the end of the 15C. In 1879, the Church lantern was replaced by a zinc-coated wooden arrow. The Church houses beautiful paintings and scultptures from the 15C to 19C, as well as a Dallam organ restored in 1971.


The Sainte-Marie Chapel, was initially included in the parish of Ploujean. In the middle of the 12C, it was given, with all its dependencies, to the Abbaye Saint-Melaine of Rennes by Guyomarc’h III, Viscount of Léon. The son of the latter, Hervé II, confirms the donation in 1154. A Priory Saint-Melaine is therefore founded between 1149 and 1157.


In the second half of the 15C, the population of the parish grew very fast. The Church of Sainte Melaine is declared by the parishioners too small and obsolete. They decide to demolished it and build a new Church without interrupting the exercise of worship. At the entrance to this porch, two Angels hold a banner on which one can read: “the year one thousand four hundred and eighty nine was started this Church of God”. From 1511 to 1516, the construction of the bell tower, the last installment of the big work was started. A clock is set up in 1564. The bell tower is only completed in 1574. the Church will be completed in the 1570’s with the Bell Tower. It is covered with a Renaissance dome in lead, topped with a lantern. In 1610 and 1611, the paneled vault of the south porch and the inner tympanum are painted.


Under the French revolution, the parish of Saint-Melaine was abolished. The Church of Saint Melaine is closed to worship, and it became a food store. The parish of Saint-Melaine was restored in 1856. In 1879, the Renaissance dome of the tower is destroyed. It is replaced by an arrow of wood covered with molded zinc. In 1943, a bomb fell into the garden of the presbytery, causing considerable damage to the north sides. Reconstruction work is underway. A larger sacristy is built. In 1956, the organs are deposited and transported for restoration in Nantes. On this occasion, the Rector wishes to modify the provisions of the Choir, of the altar in particular. Long debates engage and conclude the displacement of the altar to the west, a modification made in many buildings.


What about Saint Melaine a local hero! Saint Melaine was a monk in the region of Redon (Morbihan dept 56), and was elected Bishop of Rennes in 491. A church man and diplomat, he became adviser to king Clovis and worked on the rapprochement of the Armorica church with Rome. His tomb in Rennes quickly became a place of worship. An Abbey dedicated to the Saint was built in Rennes in the 11C (see my post other churches of Rennes); the radiance of this abbey was very great , and at the end of the 12C, the monks of Saint-Melaine held a hundred churches, radiating all the way to England.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip to lovely Morlaix and enjoy these gems are

City of Morlaix on heritage

Tourist office of the Bay of Morlaix on Morlaix heritage

Tourist office of dept 29 Finistere on Morlaix

Tourist office of Brittany on Morlaix

And there you go , a nice one two punch to see in lovely Morlaix and easy ride with train station. One of the gems of the off the beaten path of my belle France. Enjoy it here the Church of Saint Melaine, nice indeed.

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


April 12, 2019

Church of St Ronan, Locronan!

So I am staying in my gorgeous Brittany and take you again to the Finistére dept 29 the closest dept to mine 56. We have gone all over here and never stop amaze of the wonders encounters. Here we have been even in Christmas time as they have a nice market; see my other posts on Locronan in my blog.

However, I like to indulge you with a bit more on a wonderful monument that must be seen. This is the ensemble of the Church of Saint Ronan and the Chapelle de la Pénity that communicates next door. So bear with me and hope you enjoy it.

The Church of Saint-Ronan is a priority Church located in Locronan, Dept. 29 of Finistère, region of Brittany. The Chapel of the Penity, which houses the tomb of St. Ronan, is also part of the ensemble. The Church of St Ronan is one of the most beautiful specimens of the flamboyant ogival art of the 15C.


From the Romanesque church, raised in 1031 by Alain Cainhart, Count of Cornouaille, on the site of the primitive Oratory of Saint Ronan, there is nothing left. The current Church of St Ronan was built between 1430 and 1480 by the Lords of the Nevet, with the donations of the Dukes of Brittany John V, Peter II and Francis II.


The statue of the Saint welcomes you in the large porch with a low arch and a double gate with a trumeau. On each side, a décor of armatures, without niches of Apostles. Bypassing the Church in the north, by the rue de Châteaulin, you will see successively,  the lateral porch, with fests portals and mullioned windows; the sacristy, of fortified aspect, with an elegant skylight on the floor;  the cemetery, dominated by its Calvary ,16C adorned with statuettes and a risen Christ. The Virgin, Saint John, Saint Ronan and Saint Peter framed it;  the bedside of the Church, pierced by three flaming bays, topped by a gable with hooks with ridge cross; and the pallister, in the south, where the view embraces all the buildings, the Gothic steeples of the Priory and the Penity framing the square tower; the pinnacles forming on the roofs and balustrades, opened with hearts, running on the walls.


The Church of Saint Ronan is 43 meters long. The width of the Church increases at the level of the last spans of the south collateral. The large western tower, which lost its arrow, is preceded by a raised porch of several steps. A 17C pulpit is seen inside.  The visitor entered by the great porch lying between the four piles of the tower. It is struck by the harmonious proportions of the nave, by the brightness of it. It is a rectangle nave divided into three naves by pillars without capitals in bundles of balusters. These support stone vaults, with liernes and warheads crossed. The vault keys are badges of the blazons destroyed by the French revolution. A different level and two pillars carrying a diaphragm arch marks the entrance of the monastic choir which was surrounded by a chancel, probably topped by a rood screen. Beautiful perspective on the Chapel and the retable of the Rosary.


Vestiges of a statue of Saint Eloi, patron Saint of blacksmiths and veterinarians. Saint Christophe in tufa stone of 16C. This bearded giant deformed with a living and astonished gaze forms with the child Jesus whom he wears, a remarkably balanced group and of great expressive quality. He’s the patron Saint of travelers. Ancient statues of Santa Barbara or Sainte Barbe (patron Saint of my native town!), bearing her turn; patron Saint of the carriers and firefighters, and of Saint Margaret, famous penitent, trampling a furious dragon. Saint Herbot, protector of horned cattle. Saint Maurice, a Breton Benedictine Abbot, honored by the monks of the Priory who gave his name to one of the streets of Locronan where he had his Chapel. Saint Fiacre in granite stonen of 13C, patron Saint of gardeners and plumbers, Also, Saint Teresa of Lisieux. Saint Yves, who came on a pilgrimage to Locronan, patron Saint of Brittany and lawyers. Altar of the Rosary, altarpiece carved in 1668, framed by torsos columns, adorned with fifteen miniature medallions reproducing the mysteries; in the center, the crowned Virgin between St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena; on the left, Saint Joseph; right, Saint Joachim. In the niche, a graceful Italian Virgin. The high altar of the early 18C, with carved and gilded Tabernacle topped with Angels bearing the Cross.


The great glass canopy done c. 1480  represents the passion in seventeen paintings. This canopy reads from left to right and from bottom to top. It begins with the resurrection of Lazarus and ends with the resurrection of Christ and the people in front of the empty tomb. the majestic profile of Christ of the twigs. Gift of Duke Francis II, father of Anne of Brittany c 15C. Right of the great glass canopy, Saint Ronan, Bishop, hieratic polychrome granite statue. On the left, Saint Corentin,in polychrome wood, a contemporary of Saint Ronan, first bishop of Quimper and patron Saint of the diocese. At the entrance of the Choir, the Apostle Saint John in his tragic pose and the Virgin standing near his son of polychrome wood from the 17C, frame the stained glass of Passion. The statue of Saint Mary Magdalene, bearing a skull, emblem of her penitence. She looks at Christ on the Cross. Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John ,near the pulpit, Saint Anthony, hermit, protector of livestock in polychrome wood of 17C. The pulpit c.1707, history and legend of Saint Ronan in 10 medallions.


The Chapel of the Penity was built on the site of the primitive Church to serve as a reliquary at the tomb of Saint Ronan, idea from 1485. The tomb of St. Ronan is located in the Chapel of Penity, built in 1530 by Renée de France, daughter of King Louis XII annexed to the Church at the supposed location of his former Hermitage. The Chapel of the Penity is a one-nave construction, consisting of three bays, one of which only, that of the West, does not communicate with the Church of St. Ronan. The Saint is depicted on a stone slab of kersanton, supported by six Angels carrying coats of arms; two Angels watch at his side, the other six bear the funeral table. The Saint’s son-in-law pushes his butt into the mouth of a monster and he blesses his right hand.


Anne of Brittany, who had herself made a pilgrimage to Locronan in 1505, gave the Church an annuity on the duties of salt from the land of Guérande. The Penity or Hermitage, retains the memory of the donors: their coats of arms appear in the stained glass ,late 15C Saint Louis, wearing Crown and Royal mantle, represents the Maison de France. His statue also recalls that he made a crusade to bring the thorn wreath back to the Holy Chapel. He presented it in a linen, like Nicodemus of the group of the descent of the Cross. The descent of the Cross, carved masterpiece in granite, polychrome group of the 16C where Marie-Madeleine wears a costumed of Medici and Nicodemus a costume Henri II. Joseph of Arimathie extends the shroud. recessed in the pedestal, to the left of the altar, two bas-reliefs in kersantite stone, the apparitions of the risen Jesus to Mary Magdalene and to the Disciples of Emmaus.

Located in the heart of a small city of character, the Church of Saint Ronan of Locronan is known for having been the backdrop of several films such as the Chouans (1947) by Henri Calef, or Tess (1979) by Roman Polanski.  It is the starting and arrival point of the Grande Troménie. The procession of the Grand Troménie takes place every six years between the second and third Sunday of July. The next will take place this year 2019. The other years takes place the petite Troménie(little tromenia).

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

City of Locronan on history of St Ronan

Tourist office of Locronan on Locronan heritage

Tourist office of Finistere dept 29 on Locronan

Tourist office of Brittany on Locronan

There you go another gem in my Brittany ,this one in neighboring Finistére and lovely medieval Locronan. Hope you enjoy the tour and thank you for your visit.

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

April 11, 2019

Church of Saint-Mathieu at Morlaix!

Ok so on a cloudy rainy day in my neck of the woods in Brittany, let me go back and tell you a bit more on a nice church on a nice town we had visited couple times, this is Morlaix. There will be a sister post on another wonderful monument next. Enjoy the brief tour.

The Church of Saint-Mathieu is located in Morlaix, Finistère, Dept 29, region of Brittany. It was during the 11C that the Abbey of St. Matthew near Le Conquet, founded in Morlaix, the Priory of Saint-Mathieu.  The current Church was built in 1824; it replaces a Gothic church dating from 1498, succeeding itself to the primitive priory Church probably Romanesque. The Bell Tower, it, dates from the 16C. It is one of the first witnesses of the Renaissance style in Brittany.



The jewel of the Church of St Mathieu is the opening statue of Notre Dame du Mur (Our Lady of the Wall). This Virgin is in the catalogue of the treasures of the churches of France; It was reportedly carried out around the year 1400 in the Cologne region (Germany).  Also note to the left of the Choir, two polychrome wooden bas-reliefs representing the Last Supper and the foot washing. To the right of the Choir, a high relief of the crucifixion. All, coming from the Collegiate Church of the Wall.  The whole of the Crucifixion , the great Christ, probably from the Spanish origins has the strange and painful expression. To its right, Mary, mother of Jesus. To the left: John, the Evangelist. The statues are ancient, they come from the old Church of Saint-Mathieu, or from the collegiate Basilica of Our Lady of the Wall destroyed in the French revolution.


The stained glass windows evoke the life of St. Mathieu. The choir, made in 1883, represents above  Saint Mathieu writing his Gospel  , and downstairs, the four great doctors of the Latin Church with in the middle, the Pope Gregory the Great; right, Saint Augustine holding his Treaty of the city of God; back, Saint Ambrose; left, Saint Jerome. You see below this stained glass, the golden wooden Tabernacle of the late 17C.  The organ buffet is from 1667. The organ, transformed by Heyer in 1872, has 2 keyboards of 18 sets.


And I said brief ok. Here are some webpages to help you enjoy the trip to Morlaix, worth the detour indeed

City of Morlaix on heritage

Tourist office Bay of Morlaix on the city heritage

Tourist office of Finistere dept 29 on Morlaix

Tourist office of Brittany on Morlaix

It is a nice harbor bay city with lots of interestings things to see, as written in my previous posts on Morlaix. However, the old architecturally nice historically relevant monument such as the Church of Saint Mathieu are our favorites.

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



April 11, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXVII

Oh wow, just reliazed having so much fun with my lovely Brittany, had not been around my belle France news report! Well of course, the news and fun of my France are too many for just one blog even less a series of posts, but I do my grain of sand effort to show you the best of the most visited country in the world, for good reasons.

The weather has been mixed with cold rain and now calm sunny beautiful Spring times. Here in my neck of the woods is 13C (about 58F)  but will go down in the morning of tomorrow to 1C! At our grand Paris is a bit cooler at 11C and 55F. The weekend looks a bit colder again.

Now let me tell you a bit on what are the things nice and lovable and like by me. Oh CCXXVII is the Roman numeral for 227th post on the series since Nov 2010! Thank you!!

When Fellini Dreamed of Picasso at the Cinemathéque Française of Paris, and until July 28 2019, with an integral retrospective of the films of Fellini until  May 25th.More info here: .

Pastry passion ice Fruttini by MO is the new gourmet jewel of Saint Germain des Prés, located just a few steps from the Bon Marché.More info here:

From 8h. to 18h  today Thursday, the rue du cloister Notre-Dame ,4éme will be closed to traffic. A 100 meters high crane will be installed. Starting at 10h30, the first eight statues of the Apostles and Evangelists of 3 meters in height (but whose heads have already been removed) and which have been there from the great restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral by Viollet-le-Duc in 1861, will be lowered to the ground in order to be themselves rehabilitated. The end of this work is planned for 2022. See more info here:

The project to reenchant the Champs-Elysées on the horizon 2024,  date of the Olympic Games in Paris. While 63% of Parisians believe, in an Ipsos survey, that it remains the most beautiful avenue in the world, it is also considered “noisy”, “artificial”, “stressful” or even “dangerous”. On 100 pedestrians, in addition to tourists, 22 people work here and only 2% are Parisians who come there for pleasure. 15 hectares of gardens are spread out along the Champs-Elysées, between the Seine and the Elysée in particular. And there are twenty times less walkers than at Parc Monceau which is only 8 hectares. They have began to open an ideas box, with closed and theme family parks, a pedestrian walkway between the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, a sports course on the Seine side, bathing basins on the Seine river, and cultural animations . I need this but tourist galore come to it. More info here :

The Hotel de la Marine, a historical monument built under king Louis XV, continues its renovation, started in 2017. The monumental worksite must be completed in about a year, for an opening hoped for in June 2020. With an ambition  to making the place, inaccessible since 230 years, a place of life for Parisians, who expects 600 000 visitors per year on 6200 sq meters. The Cour d’Honneur or Court of honour is in the process of restoring its volumes of origins, with its arcades that had been cloisonné when the building welcomed the naval staff, the court will become the living center of the hotel and it will be open permanently, allowing the passage from the rue Royale or the place de la Concorde. This transverse artery will host a CMN bookshop, but also a quality grocery store offering takeout. Restaurants, whose card will be entrusted to the chef Jean-François Piége, and a coffee shop, more classical, come to enrich this leisure offer. Finally, a tea room, this time by the brand Alain Ducasse, will find its place on the 1st floor (2nd fl US). Visitors will be able to access the tour concentrated on the 1st floor. The apparat lounges, all gilts and pendants, are preserved in their 19C origins. Their little addition, the terrace that offers a unique view of the Concorde and the Tuileries. The 18C section, the intendant’s apartments, are still in the process of restoration, with the bet to find the decorations and original furniture. More info here:

The GoodPlanet Foundation, created by photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand to educate the public about ecology, inaugurated on April 13th and 14th 2019 its new season. And it’s a book of new things. In the Castle, exit Humans, the beautiful series of video portraits on giant screens. The new permanent exhibition is called Planet Ocean and it transports us to the seas of the globe, for four hours of underwater images, fascinating, in the world of the abyss Domaine de Longchamp, Bois de Boulogne ,16éme  Saturday and Sunday April  13-14 2019, 11h  to 19h  free admission. More info here:

A street art fresco of 150 m2 underway at Gare de L’Est. The day may be a little less bleak from today onwards. In order to bring art a little closer to Parisians and Franciliens, the urban art production house Quai 36 has appealed to the ONOFF collective to create an immense street art fresco. To enjoy it, we will take the exit/entrance Château-Landon from the station. Gare de l’Est place du 11 Novembre 1918, 10th. More info here :

Direction Fluctuart, the first center of urban art floating in the world with a unique transparent structure, which will offer exhibitions, creative workshops, bookstore and festive evenings from the end of May. The space of 1 000 m2 totally transparent and in the heart of Paris will valorize the trends of urban art, from the pioneers of street art to contemporary artists, and will particularly highlight the emerging and innovative practices. Scattered in three levels, the structure of the place is completely modular and transparent. Pont des Invalides 2 Port du Gros Caillou  7th. More info here :

Just a teaser to keep abreast of what is going on, Paris and France in general are moving on to another record year of visitors, estimates run to 100M visitors! So pack early and plan well, things will be busy. Enjoy l’Hexagone!

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


April 11, 2019

Ville Close of Concarneau!

I am taking back into time and a fortified city with ancient walls and full of life now. Lovely and enchanting all around it. This is the Ville Close of Concarneau. Again, written briefly on it on several of my posts on Concarneau but feel deserves a post of its own. Therefore, here it is. Hope you enjoy as we did. Of course it is in the Finistére dept 29 of the region of Brittany.

The walled city of Concarneau is a fortified city of the 15-16C built on an islet. It is the historical heart of the city of Concarneau which has gradually developed around the islet.


According to the legend, it is Concar who would have liberated the site occupied by the current city close (Ville Close) of the Picts to base the city of Concarneau. Around the 10C, a Priory was established by the monks of the Abbey of Landévennec on the basis of some houses already present on the upper part of the islet. Traces of a 13C tower and a 14C wall found near the Tour du Fer à Cheval (Horseshoe Tower) confirm the existence of a medieval enclosure. It was probably Duke John II of Brittany who built this first stone enclosure surrounding the islet around 1285. At that time, a community of bourgeois, traders and fishermen lived in the city.

concarneau ville close entrance jan13

The city now closed becomes a stronghold of Brittany and the stakes of rivalries between English and French, especially during the War of Succession of Brittany during which the Englishmen, who came to help Jean de Montfort, took the city in 1342. In 1373, after thirty years of English occupation, Olivier du Guesclin, took over the city on behalf of the King of France Charles V and chase the English out. In 1488, after the battle of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, the closed city (Ville Close) passed into the hands of the King of France Charles VIII, before being taken over by the Bretons. In 1489, John II of Rohan siege the city closed and takes over the islet in the name of the King. Anne of Brittany, to counter the French influence on the Duchy, appealed to the English who occupied the city until 1495.


Concarneau becomes a Royal court with a right of provost and one of the 42 cities of Brittany to send a member to the States General of Brittany. In July 1619, King Louis XIII, dissatisfied with the Governor of Concarneau, ordered the Governor of Brittany to take control of the city. Until the French Revolution, Concarneau, in addition to the garrison, had a population of fishermen who had a few dozen rowboats. The fishing mainly consisting of the pressed ,dried or smoked sardines, is then shipped by boat to Saint-Malo, Nantes, La Rochelle, or even Bordeaux and by cart to the cities of the Interior. During the industrial revolution, the city is transformed with bourgeois houses  built along the docks outside the closed town (ville close).


Between the mid-19C and the middle of the 20C, the closed city (ville close) was also the subject of the attention of the painters known as the “Concarneau group”. The Chapel-Hospital of the Trinity, located in the walled city, is a victim of a fire in 1917, but a wealthy American, Katerine Wylie, finances its reconstruction in 1924 as a hospital-dispensary. The building subsequently became a maternity ward until the construction of the Porzou maternity in the early 1970’s.

See a site in French on the painters of Concarneau as above : Painters of Concarneau

The ramparts, in their contemporary form, girders the walled city over a total length of about 980 meters. The closed city extends from East to West in its largest length over 380 meters and 220 meters in its largest width (North-South) and on a 60 meters in its minimum width. The ramparts made of local granite have an average thickness between 2.5 and 3 meters. Their machicolations date from the 15C. The main entrance of the closed city (ville close) is protected by a first raveling enhanced by a parapet crenate. The latter is connected to the half-moon by a sleeping bridge. These structures are interconnected by a set of six wooden bridges, three drawbridges and three sleeper bridges. The ramparts are drilled by eight towers (nine if you count the Horseshoe). Starting from the tower located close to the main entrance, one counts in the direction of a clockwise rotation.


The Governor’s Tower or tour du Gouverneur (circa 1477-17C) it hosts the House of the captains and the Governor of the city. Vauban strengthens and walks the structure to support an artillery platform. At the beginning of the 18C, a spur was added to the base of the tower. The tower of the Major or tour du Major (14-17C), the primitive structure of the Tower of the major dates from the 14C, the front is of the 17C. It is mainly composed of a low room serving as ammunition depot especially for powder barrels and protected by a lookout corridor. Upstairs is the major’s Firehouse. The New tower or tour Neuve 16C also called the Powder Mills tower or tour du Moulin à Poudre, it is built to protect a section of the ramparts more vulnerable at low tide. The Gate to the Wine tower or  tour de la Porte au Vin dates from the last quarter of the 15C. The Passage tower  or tour du Passage probably dated from the 15C, it is located in a strategic location. The tower of the harbor of the dogs or tour du Port aux Chiens, 16C, also called the “tour de l’essence”. The Horseshoe  or Le Fer à Cheval dated from the 16C, it was block in the 19C. Restoration works uncovered the remains of a 13C tower.  The Tower of the Moors, or tour du Maure,dated from the 15C, it is pierced by three archers gunboats. The tower of Fortune, or tour de la Fortune is one of the oldest towers of the closed city. Pierced by three archers, it is also called the Masson tower or tour du Masson . The door of the Thieves or porte des Larrons, 15C, located near the square of the thieves or carré des Larrons, this door takes its name from the thieves who were driven by barge on the other side of the shore, in the passage, to be hanged there. Walled for several centuries, it was reopened in 1991. The gate to the wine or porte au Vin ,15C, this door opened on the first commercial port. A wharf is built in 1891 in the outside extension of the gate, along the ramparts to satisfy the fishermen. The gate of the passage (19C) or  porte du Passage, the wall is pierced at the end of the 18C to facilitate access to the passage. The door itself dates back to the time of Louis-Philippe (1830-1848). The Governor’s House ,or  maison du Gouverneur, 17C, this building backed by the Governor’s Tower, serves as a house and an annex to the latter with which it communicates on two levels. No Governor actually occupied this dwelling, rented a time to a carpenter. The house of the major or Logis du Major (circa 1730) in the absence of the Governor of the city, the garrison is commanded by a major. The watch room or salle de guet above one of the main gates was reassigned in the middle of the 18C to house the major. The bodyguard, or  corps de garde rebuilt in 1694 in the half-moon to protect the second drawbridge.


The old Church of Saint-Guénolé was built in the 12C and today only remains its façade and its gable-bell. The Chapel of the Hospital (Trinity) from the 16C, the walled city (ville close) has a hospital chapel dedicated to the Trinity, by the French revolution; it is transformed into a decadaire temple. After the revolution the building became successively a parish church, a school, a house closed during WWI, and then a dispensary and finally a place of exhibition. From the primitive building, there is only visible the façade on rue Vauban. Several other remarkable buildings or structures to see as you walk about.

Again a must to see I am telling you. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Concarneau on the Ville Close

Tourist office of Finistere on Concarneau

Tourist office of Brittany on Concarneau

You must come, it is really nice and we are so lucky to live close to it. There is lots to do in Concarneau but the Ville Close is definitively my favorite.

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


April 11, 2019

Church of Saint Herlé at Douarnenez

So moving right along in my beautiful Brittany which as a whole can be told as an off the beaten path tourist destination in France. Even thus, it is the third most visited region by the French for vacation, the foreign visitors seems content with going back to the popular places. Brittany has a huge inventory of wonders with historically and architecturally gems such as the one showcase here.

Again briefly mention in my previous posts, I like to tell you a bit more on the Church of Saint Herlé in Douarnenez.


The Church of Saint-Herlé, or Saint Erlé, is located in the Ploaré district of Douarnenez, Finistére Dept 29 of the region of Brittany.  This church is recognized as the most beautiful church in Douarnenez, according to many folks in the region. What strikes above all in the Church of St Herlé is its superb Bell Tower, one of the most remarkable in the Cornish region. Situated on a height, in the center of the town, it dominates the whole country from its slender arrow, whose end rises more than 65 meters above the ground level.


douarnenez ch st herle right side dec13

The construction of the Church of St Herlé began around 1548 as evidenced by an inscription visible at the base of the Tower; the Spire was built in several stages during the 17C. The whole thing is of the Cornish Gothic style. But the tower and its spire were rebuilt several times, probably after partial destruction due to lightning, especially in 1751, hence their composite character. The sacristy dates from the 18C.


The Church of Saint-Herlé has hosted numerous sermons by the famous preacher DOM Michel Le Nobletz. A stained-glass window dating from 1902 depicts him leaving Douarnenez in front of his crying followers.  A bas-relief of the Church dating from the 16C represents sardines on which a gull is eaten them; it is a lasting testimony of the ancient importance of the sardine fishing industry in Brittany. And still big as the best is from there today and we buy them!


The high altar, from the 17C, is adorned with a double Tabernacle and a Retable with turrets. At the door of the lower Tabernacle, the lamb is lying on the Cross. At the upper Tabernacle we see a carved monstrance framed by two virtues. At the top appears the risen Christ. To the left and to the right of the Tabernacle you can see the statues of St Peter and St Paul. Two beautiful carved oak chandeliers decorate the entrance of the choir; on the left, the figure Saint Herlé, in deacon; on the right, a beautiful group of the Trinity, where the dove overcomes the tiara of the Eternal Father. At the top of the north side is the altar of St. Anne, with twisted columns, with the Eternal Father on top. There are, also, modern statues of St. Anthony and St. Isidore.


The pulpit to preach seems from the 18C. It is equipped with five sculpted side panels, representing the four evangelists, with Saint Herlé at the central panel. At the bottom of the south collateral, you will notice a fireplace with the baptismal font. At the north side, in an already ancient tomb, was buried Marguerite Le Nobletz, sister of DOM Michel. Several mothers lay down their slow little children to walk, after having carried them processionally along the naves.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Douarnenez on religious heritage

Tourist office of Douarnenez on heritage

Friends of St Herle assoc supporting the Church

Another historically and architecturally nice monument in the Finistére breton of Brittany or Bretagne or Breizh. Hope you have enjoy the small tour.

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


April 10, 2019

Chapelle ND de Rocamadour, Camaret sur Mer!

And let’s go further deep into my adopted Brittany and the coast and a symbol for them and, us. This is the sea at its best and traditions that still holds strong. I ,again, written bits of pieces on it before in my blog but feels deserves more.

Therefore, here is my take on the Chapelle Notre Dame de Rocamadour in pretty Camaret sur Mer.

camaret sur mer

The Notre-Dame-de-Rocamadour Chapel is located in Camaret-sur-Mer in Finistère, dept 29 of my Brittany. It is located near the Vauban Tower, on the Sillon.

camaret sur mer

The first Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Rocamadour was built in 1183. The oldest part of the present Chapel dates from 1527. Rocamadour means the rock in the middle of the waters. The Chapel, like the Vauban Tower, is located on a rock connected to the Esplanade Jim Sévellec by the “Sillon

In particular, even difficult to pinpoints its beginnings ,it is mentioned of a Notre Dame of Rocamadour in a brief of Pope Gregory XI, dated 1372 and granting indulgences to the faithful who would contribute to the reconstruction of the monument. Which suggests that before there would have been a chapel. It seems, however, that the construction can be dated, given the inscription on the west gable in abbreviation of use at the time: “the year 1527 was founded the Chapel of Notre-Dame du ROC”.

The steeple was beheaded during the battle of Trez-Rouz  in 1694, by an Anglo-Dutch canonball. A legend tells us that Notre-Dame-de-Rocamadour took revenge by returning the canonball to the guilty ship, which sank it was probably for this reason that it was never rebuilt. The arms of the Lords of Crozon, successors of the Rohan and represented by the Goulaine family, remained intact despite the decrees of the Convention(tribunal of the French revolution), ordering to stripped them. They are still  visible below the clocheton.

The present Chapel of Notre Dame de Rocamadour was built in a Breton Renaissance style from 1610 to 1683, when an arc of discharge was added that isolates the choir and the sacristy.

Inside, all the antique furniture disappeared during the fire of 1910. The chapel was rebuilt in 1911. In the past, the roof was held by beams of the 16C, adorned with dragon heads in wood. The pulpit is from 1914-1915. The statue of the Virgin is modern. The Cross in front of the pulpit is the former cross of the cemetery. Today, you can see ex-votos hanging in the nave. Likewise, a set of old photographs representing the forgiveness and life of Camaret in the early 20C. The Baroque-style high altar is that of the old church of St. Rémi. The Notre Dame pardon of Rocamadour takes place on the first Sunday of September.

camaret sur mer

A bit on the meaning of this Virgin.  Our Lady of Rocamadour Notre Dame de Rocamadour)  is a black Virgin, with her eyes closed and with the child Jesus sitting on her left knee. It is a Virgin maiestas Mariae, with hieratic expression and like absent. The Mother and the Son seem crowned. The Virgin of Rocamadour is linked to the Camino de Santiago de Compostela,(the Way of St James in Spain)  which contributed to her devotion in Spain and Portugal, where she is known as Nuestra Senora de Rocamador. On the Breton coast she is revered as the patron Saint of sailors and fishermen.

camaret sur mer

A nice place to visit all around the Chapel worth the detour into the peninsula of Crozon to reach pretty Camaret sur Mer. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Camaret sur Mer on religious heritage

Tourist office of Crozon peninsula on Camaret sur Mer things to see

Unofficial Tourist site on Crozon and the Chapelle

Hope you enjoy the sights of pretty Camaret sur Mer, worth a detour to this off the beaten path of the Finistére, Bretagne, France!

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

April 10, 2019

Arsenal or Naval Base of Brest!

Ok so once again going to tell something different, it can be a tourist destination more of a military naval base but can be visited with prior arrangement of the tourist office of Brest and will be the highlight of your trip here me think. Of course, I have mentioned in previous posts, but will like to tell you more about the Naval Base of Brest.

The Brest arsenal or military port of Brest is a naval base of the French Navy consisting of a set of military and naval installations located in the Penfeld River in Brest, dept 29 of Finistère in the region of Brittany. This is the second French naval base, after that of Toulon. In the popular workers’ language the local Brestois, call it the “arsouil” (do not want to say the meaning here but soldiers needs). It is right in city center after the castle naval museum of course!


The Penfeld, in the confines of the military port, is almost entirely bordered by wharves, which however present the major drawback of not being attached directly because of the level of the rock that discovers in many places at low tide. There are also positions, mainly on the left bank, by means of overflowing, in order to allow some small units to moor in Penfeld, and to use some facilities such as the great crane.


There four spikes were to be attached to the south pier of the military harbor, parallel to each other, arranged in an angle to the pier and rooted every 250 meters, the first spur being rooted at about 600 meters from the rooting of the pier. Their common length of 270 meters and the depth available to their right would allow accommodating the largest boats of the Allied Marines, especially the aircraft carriers, hence their name. Brest is no longer a port-base for a French aircraft carrier. The usefulness of the spikes is limited to the reception of large ships, and of Allied boats in stopover or hulls. Along the pier, reservations made for the reception of no. 1 and 2 spikes are still discernible. This basin, located in the so-called Troulan Cove, on the left bank of the Penfeld, is currently named pool no. 1. It is the oldest of the forms of Brest. So unique, it was called the form of Brest. Basin No. 1 was built in 1683, modified in 1745 and 1864. Its dimensions are 115 meters in length for 25 meters width at the level of the docks.


Until 1966, France was part of NATO’s integrated command. As such, France had to have facilities for the reception of Allied marine boats, including American aircraft carriers. For the arsenal of Brest, this obligation was done by the creation of four pitches, the ears of aircraft carriers. The two basins of Pontaniou are located in the Cove of Pontaniou, at the confluence of the Penfeld and the Valley housing the rue Saint-Malo, now crossed by the building of the Salou an area located upstream of the current Pont de L’Harteloire, where currently are basins 4, 6 and 7 of the arsenal.

Not much used upstream of the pont de Recouvrance, these stations welcome however downstream of this bridge the old naval rigging, the port’s skippers and the trans rades providing services between Brest and the Crozon peninsula. Bordered by eight lines of pontoons launched perpendicularly to the masterly of the wharf, this wharf is the privileged area for the docking of the units of the National Navy based in Brest, in particular for the minehunters, the avisos, or the buildings-school. Two parallel pontoon lines are embossed in front of the underwater base and have a similar role.


One of the most spectacular workshops is certainly the cordage (Corderie), if only because of its length.  In Brest, there were two cordages, after the oldest one, installed along the Brest basin, burned down: the low cordage and the high cordage stretched under the prison and the maritime hospital. The Madeleine building, or Pontaniou prison, was built during the first decade of the 19C. Originally intended for the sailors and workers of the arsenal (and not the convicts), it was a model prison, with a certain comfort whose flagship point were the individual cells. Located just beyond the lift of Pontaniou and the building to the Lions,( bâtiment aux Lions) it was outside the confines of the arsenal.  Transferred to civilian use in 1952 the building is still standing today


The building to the Lions, the name given comes from the ten lead lion heads that serve as gargoyles. It is also referred to as the lifting of Pontaniou.  This building, located at the bottom of Pontaniou Cove, had a double objective: to close the Pontaniou Cove , and to promote communication between the plateau of “the Cayenne” ,where was the second depot of the crews of the fleet, and that of the Capuchin.  The lifting of Pontaniou is a four-story dike bridge, 58 meters long, 10.5 meters wide and 20 meters high. The site successively housed the convent of the order of the Capuchin, a hospital, a barracks and in the 19C, large industrial workshops.  Retrofitted to the community in 2010, the workshop buildings were conserved and rearranged to accommodate commercial and cultural activities (e.g. Media Library and Cinema).

The mole of the viaduct allows to ensure the connection between the workshops of the Capuchin plateau and the docks. This imposing construction is elevated to the north of the plateau to which it is connected by a 30 meters long arch. This is one of the most representative monuments of the naval arsenal steam period.

In all an impressive naval base right coming up to the city center of Brest!


Some webpages as usual from to help you plan your trip here worth the reservation.

Tourist office of Brest on the naval base guided tour

Official Finistere dept 29 tourist office on Brest

Official Brittany tourist office on Brest

There you something different off the beaten path and well worth the visit; the Naval Base of Brest is unique for a visit.

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

April 9, 2019

American Monument at Brest!

This is what I meant when I say Brittany in general still has a lot of off the beaten path sites not visited by most. Brest is a great city with plenty to see and heck one of the best Chrismas markets in Brittany and we often here. Lots of better known monuments too.

However, if you come by car like we do, upon entering the city by the wharfs you will a huge tower on the hill. This is the American Monument or Naval Monument of Brest. I like to tell you a bit more about it.


The Naval Monument, more commonly called the Pink Tower, is an American Memorial erected at the Cours Dajot in Brest, dept 29 of the Finistére in Brittany; to recall the action of the American Navy in Europe during WWI. Destroyed by the Nazis during the occupation, it was rebuilt identically in 1958.


The Pink Tower was designed from 1930 to 1932, and inaugurated in 1937. Located roughly in the middle of the Cours Dajot, resting on the side of the rampart dominating the port of Commerce, the Memorial consists of a square tower in pink granite of 44 meters high or 30.5 meters (100 feet) from the cours Dajot. In front there is an esplanade and a public garden. The whole is owned by the Government of the United States but does not benefit from extraterritoriality as commonly the case in American cemeteries in Europe ,due to the fact there is no one buried at it.


my family at American Monument

At its base, on its north-west side (Esplanade side) and south-east side ( Avenue Salaun Penquer) is inscribed, “Erected by the United States of America to commemorate the achievements of the naval forces of the United States and France during WWI”.


Inside the Pink Tower, not open to the public, a staircase allows access to a small platform about 30 meters in height. The interior It is said of no particular interest except a letter from President Eisenhower, written while he was President of the United States at the time of the inauguration of its reconstruction, which was deposited there. The monument is owned by the American government and managed by the American Battle Monuments Commission and it is the American military cemetery of St. James (in the South of the Manche Dept 50) which is responsible for its maintenance.


The US Navy has been active in the conflict since the United States entered the war on 6 April 1917 and the creation of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), the American Expeditionary Corps which it conveyed in Europe until the repatriation of the last American soldiers in 1919, several months after the Armistice.

The American Battle Monuments Commission therefore decided to erect a memorial to commemorate this action of the American Navy in European waters. Brest was chosen because the Breton port was the headquarters of the American naval forces in Europe during the war and the main place of landing and re boarding of the American troops. Of the 2 million members of the AEF, more than 700 000 arrived by Brest. It was also via Brest that the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, arrived in Europe in 1919.

The Pink Tower was destroyed by the Nazis during the occupation on July 4 1941 and they built a bunker at its location. The purpose of this destruction could be to deprive the British aviators who used the tower and the Portzic lighthouse as an alignment for their bombing. After the war, in 1958, the tower was rebuilt identically, on the bunker, slightly shifted in relation to its original location, and inaugurated on July 16, 1960.

Some webpages to help you enjoy your visit here are

American Battle Monuments Commission on the Pink Tower

Tourist office of Brest on heritage

Tourist office of the Finistére dept 29 on Brest heritage

Tourist office of Brittany on heritage of Brest

There you go,so on your next trip to Brest…upon sighting the castle marine museum go across the park into the esplanade overlooking the port of Commerce and even from the castle museum you will see the Pink Tower. Go see it and read it. Hope it helps

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



April 9, 2019

The Castle at La Roche Maurice!

Ok so I am staying in this wonderful old town of the Finistére dept 29 in Brittany. We have come here for sights and even to purchase at the wonderful market next to the Church in city center of lovely La Roche Maurice. Again in previous posts did not go too much into the sights here and the Castle ruins is a must to see. Let me catch up you on it now.

La roche maurice

The La Roche Maurice town is located in the downstream part of the Valley of the Élorn river , between Landivisiau (upstream, east) and Landerneau (downstream, west). La Roche-Maurice is crossed by the former road National 12 , now name the D 712., and by rail line from Paris-Montparnasse to Brest which goes along the Élorn, right bank for the former N 12, left bank by the railroad tracks. La Roche-Maurice is served by a train station.

la roche maurice

And the castle has according to legend, the Castle,  very old , would have belonged in the 5C to a Lord named Élorn and then would have been called Hainebon, “the old bridge”, the history of the Château de la Roche-Maurice is closely linked to the counts of Leon. During the dismantling of the territory of Léon in 1180, the youngest branch of the Léon family ,founded by Hervé I de Léon Lord of Léon, the youngest son of Guyomarch IV, Viscount of Léon, obtained the territories of Daoulas, Landerneau and Landivisiau until Penzé and manages to keep himself around his fief of La Roche-Maurice for 8 generations.

La Roche Maurice

The Château, which was then called Roc’h-Morvan ,because it was originally built, facing   Leon, by a Lord of Cornwall, called Morvan, was taken by the English in 1177; they placed a garrison there until Geoffroy II Plantagenet, Duke of Bretagne from 1181 to 1186, restored a part of Léon to the sons of Guyomarch IV of Leon. The dungeon, about 13 meters wide, could have been raised by Guyomarch V of Leon, heir in 1179 of the Viscounty of Leon, and living until 1210. It is probably partially destroyed around 1240 when Hervé III, Lord of Léon tries vainly to oppose the advance of the Duke of Brittany Jean I Le Roux, but nevertheless continues to be in the hands of the family of Leon until the death of Hervé VIII of Leon in 1363, who dies without a direct heir . The lordship of Leon had a sister, Jeanne, wife of John I of Rohan. The lordship ,then became part of the House of Rohan. For 150 years, waiting to become Viscounts of Rohan, the eldest sons of Rohan settled until 1517 in the Château de la Roche-Maurice under the title of Lords of Leon. The Château de la Roche-Maurice is then the only fortress of the lordship of Leon in a state of defence fortification.

La Roche Maurice

In 1489, following the Franco-Breton war of 1489-1491 led by Viscount John II of Rohan, who claims to inherit the Duchy of Brittany because of his ascend and his wife Marie de Bretagne against the King of France Charles VIII, the Château de la Roche-Maurice is dismantled. Around 1580, during the League wars, the Rohan took the side of the Protestant party in Brittany. The castle is probably definitely destroyed at that time. It will never be rebuilt.

la Roche Maurice

In 1678, the Castle was transformed into a prison, and retained this role until 1694 in the 18-19C, the Castle served as a quarry, and many of the houses of the village and perhaps the present church were built with these stones. The Château remained the property of the family of Rohan until its acquisition in 1986 by the General Council of Finistère open now to the visit, the Castle now offers a secure course dotted with interpretive panels (construction phases, reconstitution of scenes of daily life). The history of the Château de la Roche-Maurice will remain, however, forever unknown due to the destruction of most of the trail of the Maison de Rohan, also known as the “Chartrier of Blain” in 1793 during the reign of terror of the French revolution.

La Roche Maurice

Very nicely done the presentation tours from the tourist office of La Roche Maurice which is at the base of the Castle across it. A nice place to see on the off the beaten path ways of my Brittany; hope you have enjoy it.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here worth a detour are

City of La Roche Maurice on heritage

Tourist office of Landerneau Daoulas on La Roche Maurice castle

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


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