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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 19 of 26: Pleyben, One of the 'Must See' Parish Closes

photo by MAW

Pleyben church

Pleyben is a small market town which is very much on the tourist map with visitors coming to see the parish close, which features in all the guide books. On a Saturday afternoon the town was busy with tourists and a coach party although most of the shops were shut. There were few spaces left in the parking areas around the square.

The wall surrounding the close has gone but the triumphal arch remains standing in splendid isolation. There is a massive calvary which is unusual as it has an arch under it. It was built in 1555 with extra carvings added in 1650. On the top are crosses with Christ and the two robbers. Below are carved scenes showing the life of Christ. The ossuary contains a small museum.

The church has a massive tower crowned with pinnacles. There are carvings of the twelve apostles in the porch. It is a big church and gives the impression of being light and airy inside.

The pillars have statues of saints on them. The main altar of carved wood is flanked by saints and processional banners. Above are large stained glass windows. The side altars have massive carved Baroque retables with vine leaves and grapes twining up the pillars.

The wooden ceiling is painted blue with painted and carved bosses. There is a carved wooden frieze around the top of the walls. Painted beams coming out of the mouths of mythical animals span the nave.

The organ over the west door is carved and painted bright blue, red and gold.

This a place where you need to allow plenty of time to stand and look.

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