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Report 1980: Megaliths, Parish Closes and Cider - Part 1 Southern Finistère

By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2011

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Page 11 of 26: Penmarc’h and Loctudy

photo by MAW

The three lighthouses

The end of the peninsula around Penmarc’h is built up and busy.

Pointe de la Torche is a small promontory with sand dunes and a popular surfing beach. The huge car park was very full and overflowing, so we decided to drive on.

St. Guénolé has a huge sandy beach which was busy with holiday makers with a large car park behind it. Across the road is the Musée Prehistorique Finistérien, which was shut. On the grass around the building are megaliths, including a reconstructed chambered tomb, cists and iron age steles.

Round the headland the coastline is very exposed with huge stone boulders. There were few buildings along the shore - perhaps it is too exposed.

A short distance beyond is St Pierre at the end of the peninsula. There has been a lighthouse here since the 2ndC. There now three lighthouses. The first was built against the 16thC Chapelle St-Pierre. Beyond it is a small shipwreck cemetery. The tower had originally been used for defence as well as a semaphore station. It was reduced in size when the lighthouse was added in 1835. This was replaced by a later 19thC round lighthouse on a square base and then the current Phare d'Eckmühl, which is an elegant building with a decorative top. This is named after Adélaïde Louise of Eckmühl, (daughter of the Prince of Eckmühl who was a friend of Napoleon), who left money in her will for the building of a lighthouse.

We drove through Plobannalec-Lesconcil and Lesconcil which are no longer fishing villages and the harbour is now full of pleasure boats. Houses were beautifully maintained and newly painted white or cream. There is a lot of money here.

We had intended to drive through Loctudy until we saw the sign to the 12thC church. This was well worth finding. It is a massive church with a large rounded Romanesque apse at the east end with three smaller apses off it and a tall spire. It is surrounded by a graveyard which has several graves with metal crucifixes. Inside it is a very plain, simple building, dominated by the massive pillars and rounded arches. There are few statues and the altars are simple. The main altar in the apse has round pillars and arches with carved capitals behind with a walkway round the back. This was a delightful church and we were glad we had stopped to visit.

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