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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 14 of 26: South Coast of the Crozon Peninsula and Crozon

photo by MAW

Detail from Retable of the Ten Thousand Martyrs

Pointe de Penhir looked very busy with parked cars and people. We decided to give it a miss and headed back towards Crozon, past the splendid sandy beach of Anse de Dinan with views across to Pointe de Dinan and its natural arch.

We drove down to Pointe de Dinan, which has good access to the coastal footpath. There is a large car park. Although there were a lot of cars, there were few people around. It is a lovely walk across the dwarf heather and gorse to the end of the point. There are good views of the cliffs, the sandy coves to the east and down to Cap de la Chèvre. It is a jagged rocky coastline with several natural arches. There is a network of footpaths to follow and it is excellent walking. Even though there were a lot of cars in the car park we saw few people while we walked.

We drove along a network of white roads past isolated small settlements made up of a few stone houses to Lostmarc'h, a small settlement of single story stone buildings along a dead end road with a track out onto the headland. Below us the headland, with the remains of an iron age fort, stretched into the sea. We could see the two massive banks and a ditch across the neck. There are good views across the sand dunes behind Lostmarc’h beach. The vegetation in this part of the peninsula is low scrub-land with little agriculture.

We drove through St-Hernot and Rostudel, a nice settlement with a few well kept stone houses, to Cap le Chèvre. There was a steady stream of traffic leaving the Cap. There is a huge car park which was still busy at 5.30pm. Most people seem to head to the monument representing a wing of an aircraft stuck into the ground and dedicated to aircrew killed or missing on active service in the Atlantic. It is a short walk to the point with a large coastguard lookout station with a track down the side. This takes you through low scrubby vegetation and wasn’t particularly attractive so we gave up.

Crozon is a large busy settlement with a lot of shops. We parked in a large quiet car park behind the church. Eglise St-Pierre is a huge building rebuilt at the end of the 19thC although the porch and parts of the east end are from the original 16thC building. The stained glass windows date from 1950. The tower had to be rebuilt 1945/6 as it had been badly damaged when the German Battery at Cap de Chèvre used it for target practice.

The organ dates from the 17thC but has been restored several times. The lectern is modern but made from panels from the retable from the previous high altar. The Bishop’s chair is 17thC. There is a fairly plain main altar with two side altars on either side. In the north transept the retable of the rosary dates from 1664 and shows the Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child as she gives the rosary to St Dominic and the scapular to St Catherine.

The most famous sight in the church and what everyone goes to see is the retable of the ten thousand martyrs in the south aisle which dates from 1602 and is made up of 29 panels. There are over 400 painted carved characters telling the story of the ten thousand soldiers of the Theban Legion who, as a punishment for their Christian religion, were put to death on Mount Ararat by the Emperor Hadrian. This is made up of three parts with doors that can be closed. The church is worth a visit just to see this.

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