Guengat and the surrounding area
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We spent a week in Guengat which is a small village a few miles north west of Quimper in Southern Finistère. We were wanting to explore the coastline and some of the small villages. Many of these places are ignored by the guide books as visitors to the area tend to head to Quimper, Locronan, Pont Aven and Concarneau. It is an area unspoilt by modern development and we enjoyed it.
Guengat is a typical small Breton village built around the church and Marie. It still has a bakers and chemist shop (identified by a bright green neon cross). There is a small market on Thursday afternoons behind the marie. The evening we visited, there was a fish monger, a stall selling cider, an old lady selling honey, a vegetable stall, a fruit stall, bread stall, cheese, butcher and charcuterie.
On the Quimper road, set in a carefully tended garden, is a small fountain with a nice containing a statue of St Fiacre, the patron saint of Guengat. The water flows into a lavoir (washing place).
Guengat church doesn’t feature in the guide books but is a typical example of a simple 16thC parish close with wall, small triumphal arch and calvary. It is a big church with a tall and very thin Kreisker spire. There are two side aisles. These have a series of dormer style windows which make the church look as if it has four aisles.
Inside the church has a blue painted roof in the choir. Below is a carved wooden frieze with animals, a woman pulling beer, soldier, farmer, a head being eaten by two crocodile like animals. All had great character and we kept saying ‘have you seen…’ There is a good collection of statues.
There was a large tomb of a lord and lady in one corner. Some believe this is the tomb of St Alouarn and his wife. There is a small glass exhibition cupboard with communion plate, and 16thC processional cross. There was a large and elaborately carved wall cupboard. The side altar was splendid with gilt paintings.
On the road to Plogonnec, there is a sign to CHAPELLE ST THÉGONNEC. This is down a narrow lane past a farm. There is a small parking area and the chapel is reached along a grassy through the trees. It is in a lovely setting in a grassy clearing among the trees. It is a plain, small granite building with two doorways. This is one of the few churches that has a fountain (spring) inside it. A spring feeds into a small fountain in the nave which has a small pool for ablutions. It then ran across the floor and out of the opposite wall before running off down the bank. The church looks unloved and unused. The walls are suffering from damp. It is plain and simple inside. There is no pulpit and two carvings of saints on either side of the altar, (one is St Thégonnec) and a statue of the Virgin. There are no pews. There were two tables with tourist information and stacked up chairs. It is a lovely setting and well worth the detour to find it.
PLOGONNEC is a larger settlement than Guengat and has a large SuperU on the Guengat turn. This had an excellent range of fresh food and was a nice place to shop. Plogonnec has a bakers in the main square but the butchers shop had a notice saying it was shutting from 10th September. We didn’t know whether this was for the winter or permanently.
Plogonnec church is 16thC with a massive stone tower with open belfry with two bells. On either side are smaller towers with stairs. This again is big with three large altars across the east end and several side altars. The windows are 16thC stained glass. There is a carved wooden pulpit and painted ceiling.
From Plogonnec we took the Le Juch road and turned off to find CHAPELLE ST-PIERRE which we had seen marked on the map. It was built in 1608 and is on the edge of Bois de Nevet, a large area of deciduous and coniferous woodland with a lot of footpaths. There was an old house next to the chapel but no other settlement. It had been a large and important building with carved doorway and separate round tower giving access to the belfry. The windows are now blocked with wood and it looks very shut.
We then drove to LE JUCH. It has kept a small bar but no other shops. There were many nice old houses including a very large building at the top of the street which used to be a bar and epicerie but is now long shut. It must have been important in its time as it had a splendid fireplace and assorted buildings and sheds behind.
An old gentleman came across with a key to let us into the church and found an English leaflet for me. He enjoyed pointing out all the highlights including St Michael and the devil and photographs of the annual Pardon. There were nice stained glass windows and large altars with statues above. There was a carved pulpit and a statue of St Sebastian in the back corner with his body pierced with arrows.
It was a nice run back to the gite from Le Juch through fields and trees with isolated settlements.
As well as detailed reviews of the places we visited in Brittany on Silver Travel Advisor, I wrote a more detailed report for the week which can be read here: www.slowtrav.com/tr/tripreport.asp?tripid=1980&index=0
The photographs to go with this report can be found here:
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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.