Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 1982: Megaliths, Parish Closes and Cider - Part 3 Northern Finistère
By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2011
Page 32 of 32: The Medieval Village of Goenidou - Not One of My Better ideas...
I do a lot of reading and research using the Internet before a holiday. We like to find the secret places not mentioned in the guide books and not visited by the average tourist.
When reading up for this holiday I found a couple of references to the medieval village of Goenidou on the web.
It was described as the ruins of a deserted 13-15thC village which was discovered in 1983. Only part of the site has been excavated, revealing a group of three buildings around a courtyard, with a separate fourth building. Buildings uncovered were typical of a type common in the Middle Ages. They were made of granite walls without mortar and turf roofs. The family lived in one end with a fire place. The animals lived in the other end of the building.
It was thought that either the monks of St Relec or St John of Jerusalem in La Feuillée were responsible for clearing the land and establishing the village. The land was given to a tenant at a minimal rent to clear, build house and cultivate.
Pictures showed the excavated foundations surrounded by short grass.
It sounded just the kind of place we liked to visit.
The nearest directions I could find was that it was between Keraden and Quinoualch to the west of Berrien. I should have been alerted when emails to the Marie at Berrien didn’t get a response. However, I found all three places on the Michelin map and it seemed easy sailing.
Roads in the area are narrow and signing is erratic. We drove through Keraden, a delightful small hamlet, took a wrong turning and reached Quinoualch the long way round. There was no sign of Goenidou. Michael was all for giving up but I said turn left (keeping my fingers crossed). We did another loop but still no village. We decided to give up and head to our next stop of La Feuillée. We’d not gone very far when I saw a small sign to the medieval village which also, rare in Brittany, gave a distance of 1500m. I could hardly believe my luck - the description was wrong, not my navigation. “That way” I said pointing firmly.
This took us down a grass covered, rutted sunken lane. Michael took one look and asked “Are you sure about this?....I hope I'll be able to turn round...” By now I had the bit between my teeth and wasn’t going to be thwarted. “Yes” I replied.
The grass got longer and the trees met above our heads. Apart from one very empty house there was no sign of any human habitation or life. We eventually came to a cross roads. Other cars had been ahead of us and we could see where they had had difficulty turning round. The road ahead was rutted with mud and standing water. The side roads were overgrown and unused by vehicles.
We think the site was in the field at the cross roads. There were posts which might once have held a sign. With the eye of faith we could see banks which may have been old walls overgrown with vegetation and bracken. The grass was long and wet. If this was the site then it had been left to return to nature.
We gave up and returned to the main road. There was a terse comment from Michael “That was not one of your better ideas.” He had a point...
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