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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 20 of 26: Châteauneuf-de-Faou

photo by MAW

Geraniums in Châteauneuf-de-Faou

Châteauneuf-de-Faou is a small town built on the slopes of a hill overlooking the Aulne valley between the Monts d’Arrée and Montagne Noire. This was a fortified town and there are a few remains of the town wall near the tourist office. Chapelle de Notre-Dame-des-Portes was built on the site of the old castle and the remains of the motte can still be seen.

It is an attractive town with tubs of flowers everywhere. The bright red geraniums were colourful in the sunlight. The Hotel du Ville is a splendid building with a tiled mural on the front.

There is a new water feature in the centre of the town with a fountain and water tumbling down rocks to the street below. Nearby is the underground fountain of St Jean Baptiste Baptist in an alleyway more or less opposite St Julian’s Church. There were walls round three sides and steps down to the fountain area with a statue.

St Julian's Church in the centre of the town was rebuilt in 1878 and gets a mention in the guide books as it has early 20thC murals painted by Paul Serusier, a close friend of Gauguin. There are three small paintings on the back wall which we assume were the murals painted by Gaugins’s friend rather than the ‘amateurish’ murals in the side chapel with the font.

Chapelle Notre-Dame-des-Portes is a five to ten minute walk from the centre of the town. Built on the old castle site it has excellent views down to the Aulne Valley and the 17thC Pont du Roi. I had thought about dropping down to the bridge and walking along the river, but changed my mind when I realised just how steep the climb back up would be.

The chapel had been built in the 15thC after a statue of the Virgin Mary had been found in a hollow tree. It performed many miracles and became place of pilgrimage. The present building is late 19thC and was restored in the mid 20thC. It is modern and unremarkable inside. The highly carved remains of the 1438 porch have been remounted on the front of the nearby sacristy building.

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