Review: Monts d'Arrée
Monts d’Arrée, Maison Cornec and Moulin de Kerouat
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Monts d’Arrée is an ancient mountain range in the centre of Brittany. The use of the word ‘mountain’ is a bit misleading as the highest point is only 384m. They are made of granite and are a sparsely populated area of heather and gorse moorland.
The main road from Commana runs along the crest of the Monts d’Arrée with good views north. There is a small car park for ROC’H TREVEZEL, one of the highest peaks in the area. There is good walking here. We walked up to the first lot of granite tors. There were good views across the gorse and heather moorland with a series of rocky outcrops. To the south we could see the Réservoir de St-Michel, the flat boggy land of Yuen Elez and Montagne St-Michel with its chapel. Seen from this height the land to the north appears ‘flat’ although it is gentle rolling countryside with fields and woodland.
MONTAGNE ST-MICHEL is a landmark for miles around. There is a large car park and steep path up to the church. Several footpaths run off from here and it is a popular spot for walkers. On a clear day it has splendid views. Unfortunately it was too hazy for good views.
BRASPARTS is one of the main settlements in the area and has a well stocked Spar shop. We parked in the square to go in the church. This was our first experience of a Parish Close, although it is not a very wealthy or important one. Few tourists visit here. There is a small calvary and ossuary. The church has two splendid altars with carvings of saints on the pillars including St Herbot with his cow. There are nice black and white windows. At the back is the remains of the old clock mechanism and an old coffin with an embroidered cover on what looked like a bier without wheels.
There are two important eco-museums in the Mont d’Arrée run by Department of Finistère which are both worth visiting.
MAISON CORNEC is in St-Rioval, a small settlement with a square surrounded by houses and a small church at a major crossroads. It is reached by a short walk along a sunken lane between the trees. The house is away from the village and surrounded by orchards, trees and sunken lanes. It is a delightful spot.
The house has been restored and is a typical example of an 18thC farm with outbuildings. The house is built of stone and has a tiled roof and beaten earth floor. There is a central passageway with doors at each end. Animals lived in one end, the family in the other. A covered external staircase leads to the upper floor which has a small fireplace and was used for storage and also sleeping. This is now an exhibition area.
Outside the house is a horse gin and two bread ovens. The stone barns house exhibitions on the restoration of the house and the surrounding area.
MOULINS DE KEROUAT are just off the Commana to Sizun road. There is a large car park with a Visitor Centre selling a few craft items and books. The following is a brief summary as I have written a more detailed report .
The hamlet of granite houses with slate roofs is about 300m walk down a leafy lane, surrounded by fields and woodland. A mill and water wheel was built here in the 17thC and a small hamlet gradually grew up round the mill. The last inhabitant left in 1965.
The small hamlet is tucked away in the bottom of the valley. The track goes past a stone barn with a horse threshing machine beside it. There is a small barn with broom covered walls. Beyond, the bakehouse is to the left of the track with the upper mill and miller’s house with cowshed and stables. Opposite these on the right is an early 20thC stables. There are older stable buildings next to these with a cart shed. A lower mill is set back behind them. Next to this is the 19thC bakery with house attached. The hamlet formed a compact self contained unit and shows how a hamlet grew and developed. Having seen this we began to understand how modern hamlets developed as barns and stables are converted into houses.
Some of the buildings are furnished as they would have been in the 18thC. Others house exhibitions about the history, life and industry around the area. These are all in French.
The hamlet is surrounded by fields and pastures. Buckwheat would have been one of the main crops. There is a small washing area away from the hamlet. In one of the fields is a small fountain which is all that is left of the chapel.
This is a delightful part of Brittany which is easily accessible from most parts of Brittany. It is an area ignored by the tourists who flock to the beaches. It gets little mention in the guide books. This is a pity as it is a very pretty area with some good walking. Huelgoat and the small villages of Commana and St Herbot both with very beautiful churches make worthwhile additions to a visit.
I have written a series of more detailed reviews for:
More detailed reports of our visit to Brittany can be read here:
Our web site of pictures is here: http://wasleys.org.uk/france/brittany_11/index.html
98 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.