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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 10 of 26: Around Baie d’Audierne

photo by MAW

Chapelle St-Vio

Baie d’Audierne lies between Pointe du Raz and Penmarc’h. The coastline is inhospitable and desolate. The shingle beach is very exposed to the currents. The land along the coast is poor and supports little agriculture. Most of the settlement is inland and inhabitants make their living from agriculture rather than fishing. It is a landscape of small fields surrounded by banks, hedges and trees.

We spent a half day puttering around the area concentrating on the old churches and chapels, which did involve a lot of careful navigation (plus a bit of intuition).

Our first stop was Plovan, a nice small village around the church (shut) with open belfry, next to the graveyard.

Just beyond the village is the ruined Chapelle St-Quidou, in a rural setting with a few houses above the chapel. It is surrounded by a stone enclosure and has a small calvary. The original building was 12thC but was rebuilt in the 16thC when the rose window was added. It was partly dismantled in 1795 and left. The walls, empty rose window, nave pillars and round window in the chancel are still left. It is a delightful place and very peaceful.

Chapelle St-Evy is in a rural setting reached down a rough road and surrounded by fields with tall hedges and trees. It is a simple 16thC chapel rebuilt in 2000 and looked immaculate. It was very firmly shut.

Chapelle St-Vio is reached by a long drive across the rough land behind the beach. The soil is poor and there is little agriculture and little settlement. The chapel stands isolated with nothing round it. It is a simple lichen covered building with a small central belfry with stone steps up to it. It was locked although a notice said open 2-6. Close by was a small round menhir.

Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Tronoën is one of the landmarks of the Pennarc’h peninsula and its massive belfry spire can be seen for miles across the low flat land. There is a large and busy car park and a restaurant across the road.

The 15thC calvary is the oldest in Brittany and certainly impressive although the carvings are now quite weathered. It has Jesus with the two robbers. Below there are two rows of carved figures with scenes from the life of Jesus.

The inside of the church has been restored and is very bare. There is a shop selling books and post cards. This is one to admire from the outside.

The 12thC church of St Beuzec is signed from Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Tronëon. We wouldn’t have found it otherwise as it doesn’t get a mention in the guide books. Chapelle Beuzac is in a small village of neat granite houses. It is surrounded by a large walled enclosure. Only the 12thC chancel is left as the rest fell down in the 19thC. The building was shut and there was little to see, but there were two stone benches in the enclosure were we sat to eat our lunch.

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