Auray Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by ranger49
  • Entrance dating from circa 1450.
    Entrance dating from circa 1450.
    by ranger49
  • Things to Do
    by ranger49

Best Rated Things to Do in Auray

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    An American Statesman lands at St Goustan

    by ranger49 Updated Nov 22, 2009

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    American readers will need no reminder of the remarkable talents of Bejamin Franklin in the fields of diplomacy, engineering, scientific invention and literature.
    The story goes that in 1776, Benjamin Franklin, was sent as an envoy to France to seek their help in the American war of Independence from the British Crown.

    He set sail, on a small warship, for Nantes but severe weather and strong winds forced him to anchor in the bay at Quiberon. From there he travelled up the Auray River, in a rowing boat, and landed at the port of St. Goustan on December 4, 1776.
    At that time it was the third largest port in the whole of Brittany.

    From there, he eventually ( the following day according to most records) travelled to Nantes and on to Paris.
    The outcome of his diplomatic and negotiating skills was a Treaty of Alliance between France and America.
    Ultimately, financial, and military aid in the form of arms afforded by France, led to the success of the American war of Independence.

    Both my sister-in-law and I have very strong memories of visiting, in 1987, a "museum" where Bejamin Franklin was said to have "lived". It looked very like the Inn in the pictures shown here.
    For a modest fee we visited said museum. It was upstairs, a barely furnished room with a bookcase, a desk and chair. In the chair sat a tailor's dummy dressed in 18th Century clothes and wig.
    We felt a bit let down.
    When we returned a couple of years later there was no sign of the "museum".

    Was this perhaps a shortlived tourist trap?
    Nevertheless a real sense of history can be felt here - particularly as on the occasion of my last visit in October 2009 - on the morning after a storm.

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    Linguistic connections - Little House

    by ranger49 Written Nov 22, 2009

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    At first sight this little house (Ti Bohannig) in Rue St Saveur, close to the church looked unoccupied and abandoned. The rusty chain across the steps to the side door did not appear to have been disturbed in years. But when we went round to the side to see the ancient cross more clearly we also spotted many sign of current occupation - so just as well we did not go poking around!
    Apart from its unusual appearance we were struck, as we so often are in Bretagne with the similarities between the Breton and Welsh languages = Ti Bohnnig / Ty Bychan/ Tiny/small house. though Ty bach is more commonly used in Welsh now.

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    St Goustan - saint of mariners and fishermen

    by ranger49 Updated Nov 23, 2009

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    St Goustan is the patron saint of mariners and fisherman and gives his name to the ancient port area of Auray.
    In this picture he stands high on the wall of the street that leads upwards from Place St Saveur to the parish church of that name at the top of the hill..in his arms he holds the fish that eaved his life.

    The legend of St Goustan,
    Saint Goustan was actually born in Cornwall in Great Britain in 974.
    Whilst still a teenager he was kidnapped by and brought up by pirates. Because of an injured foot that made him of no further use to them he was abandoned on the Ile de Hoedic in the Gulf of Morbihan.. He survived by feeding from an enormous fish that miraculously restored itself each day providing endless food. On the island he was cared for by St.Felix and convertd to Christianty, later he bacame a monk and founded a monastery on the Ile de Hoedic.

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    Cyrillic Script - A mystery sailing ship

    by ranger49 Updated Nov 27, 2009

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    For many years a familar, blue-hulled schooner, transformed into a musem - La Goelette St Sauveur - has been moored in the harbour at St Goustan. Sadly we discovered this tourist attraction was damaged, possibly beyond repair, and removed from the harbour in May2009 .

    On our October 2009 visit a small sailing ship we had not seen before was anchored mid-stream opposite Franklin Quay.

    An elegant vessel with its name written in Cyrillic script.
    There was no wind at all, its flag remained semi furled, only faint glimpses of faded blue and yellow could be seen - so its country of origin could not be identified.
    My husband knows Russian but was not sure about the writing on the hull - but he wondered if it might be Ukrainian or Bulgarian.

    It was a pretty vessel and if anyone can identify its origin I'd be really pleased.

    A mystery no more!
    With many thanks to VT Members ChristinaNest, Fugu, HunterV and Kaspian, with whose combined help and advice I can now add the following information about this ship.

    It is a 1992 reconstruction of a classic Ukranian ship of the type known as Chaika (seagull) or Cossacks Chaika.
    The name of this ship may be translated as Sacred Shroud or more literally The Most Holy Protecting Veil (of the Mother of God).
    The ship voyages to various northern European ports. I'm really pleased we saw her in St Goustan, Auray.
    Look out for her on your travels - thanks to VT you will recognise her!

    A calm and misty morning Name in Cyrillic Script A fierce looking animal on the prow.

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    Explore the historic quarter

    by ranger49 Updated Nov 27, 2009

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    We were lucky this time - an early, damp morning in October - and very few people about.

    On previous visits, in the earlier months of the year, it would have been impossible to get deserted shots of the lovely, old, cobbled alleys that lead up from Place Saint-Sauveur to the church of the same name.
    So we saw the place as it is - where people still live and work in a centuries old environment.

    I am including a picture from an old post card circa 1939 - not too different - and on my first visit to Briittany in 1966 it was not at all unusual to see older women dressed like the one in Picture No. 5.

    Old Post Card corca 1939

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    L'Eglise de Saint Sauveur

    by ranger49 Updated Nov 24, 2009

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    This is the parish church of St Goustan. Situated at the top of the narrow cobbled, steep hill that leads up from the harbourit stands on the site of a much older church.

    Erected in the mid 1400's it has undergone many changes.
    A devastating fire in 1886 destroyed most of the Church and the only original thing that remains from the medieval period is the the entrance porch and doors.

    At the back of the church in a small square now used for car parking you can see an ancient cross that I would think probably predates the church built in the 15th century. No reference to it is made in any of my guide books and there was no local plaque to provide information.

    Entrance dating from circa 1450. Interior view A striking window Informatiom Plaque outside the church Medieval Cross

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    Old Castle ruins of Auray

    by gwened Updated Jul 6, 2013

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    A magnificent castle once stood here, name as early as 1082AD. The castle was sold in auction by king Henri II of France in 1560 after taken by French troops. The castle of Auray was the site of residence of the dukes of Brittany François Ier and his wife Isabeau d’Ecosse or Elizabeth of Scotland in October 30, 1442. It was an strategic fortress, as in September 29 1364 duke of Brittany Jean IV put a siege on it to end the pretentions of the dukedom to his adversary Charles de Blois. the views are wonderful ,recommended.

    Now you can meander about its old ruins walls, and breathtaking views over the river Loch and Gulf ,district of St Goustan. The trails is a great exercise and better be in shape to climb it all, very steep.

    If you do climb it all will end on the high city of Auray by the stade du Loch, and see the tour du loch monument.

    You can ,also, walk below its old walls along the river Loch all the way to the point of the bay, just underneath the bridge of Kerplouz which on it runs the road N165 Nantes-Brest.

    no webpage is a castle in ruins lol! now part of city of Auray

    ruins of castle with guide posts history bits chateau ruins and see top right entry toupper city ruins walls of Castle fr across river Loch trails up inside castle ruins ruins in autumn from quai Franklin
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    See Saint Goustan

    by gwened Written May 8, 2012

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    this is a marvelous gorgeous area of Auray, its the district next to the river Loch that goes into the Golf of Morbihan and Atlantic Ocean.

    Here you have a mini city, with shops, restos, bars, churches, artists quarters,antiques, water sports like kayak and canoe, passenger boat to outlying islands in the Gulf. You name it, and it is gorgeous again, a must coming to my area. This is heavens , was there again today, any day i take it there.

    Some of the pictures here were taken high in the old castle ruins across the river, so the shots Ithink are marvelous.
    The city of Auray site in French
    http://www.auray.fr/auray/architecture/saint-goustan/

    a blog about the district
    http://www.saint-goustan.net/

    mid level up the castle St Goustan across river mid level looking at river Loch towards Gulf high level out into St Goustan highest point looking at St Goustan along river Loch on quai Franklin to Gulf
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    The Chapel of our Lady of Lourdes

    by ranger49 Written Nov 24, 2009

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    Some years after Bernadette claimed to have seen a vison of Mary in the grotto at Lourdes her story was verified.
    It was then that the Vicar at Saint Sauveur in St Goustan decided that a Chapel dedicated to her honour and memory should be built.
    The chapel was built in 1878 - just across the road from the Parish Church. The interior was richly decorated with a grotto and stained windows that tell and commerorate the story of Bernadette.

    Sadly the building now appears to be in a parlous state .
    Closed to visitors and barricaded against intruders or vandals. It seems that a programme of repairs and restoration has been agreed -but there was no sign of work on our visit in October 2009.
    Seems the art of medieval builders was not bequeathed to those of the 19th century.

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    passenger boat to see the islands in the Gulf

    by gwened Written May 13, 2012

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    yes idylic islands in the Gulf of Morbihan UNESCO world heritage site, there about 12 with 7 vey interesting to see such as
    Île aux Moines,Île d'Arz, Houat, Hoêdic, Belle Île Île de Croix

    I gave you Auray where I live, but the islands can be visited from several other coastal towns in south Morbihan such as Vannes, Locmariaquer, Quiberon, Port Navalo,and La Trinité sur Mer.

    From Auray you leave from St Goustan right by the bank and rest room house, there is a ticket office, then walk on quai Franklin to the embarcadére or launch pad nearest the big bridge you will see Korpluz, contact tel +33 (0) 2 90 92 05 21
    the site is www.navix.fr

    quai Franklin towards embarcad��re boat launch the loch /Auray river out to the Gulf and cruising
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    Church Charles de Blois

    by gwened Written Jun 12, 2012

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    A nice historical church in town.
    The church was sacre in 1939 and named after Charles de Blois (pretender to the throne to the duchy of Brittany killed in combat with his rival and cousin, Jean de Montfort ,on September 29,1364). The style is medieval and nice for a time away from the train station at about 100 meters from it.

    The Pope Urban V orders a work from 1371 to have the canonisation of Charles de Blois. He is canonise in 1376, but one need to wait until December 14, 1904 for Charles de Blois be admitted as the divine Saint.

    front Church Charles de Blois Church Charles de Blois front train station belltower at church Charles de Blois statue Jeanne d'Arc outside church side of church Charles de Blois
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    St Michel de Montfort

    by gwened Updated Sep 24, 2014

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    Duke Jehan IV, duke of Brittany, Count of Montfort and of Richemont, had built this collegiale church of Saint Michel, in honor of God and Saint Michel in the year 1382. Wonderful architecture and great painting inside

    next to the Chartreuse, walk to it 50 meters. I stop by often and it is a very beautiful peaceful place and historical building all around you.

    the side coming from chartreuse to monastery main door to St Michel order of Montfort front porch of entrance with saint in enclose glas
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    Church St Gildas

    by gwened Updated Aug 26, 2012

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    in place Notre Dame, beautiful small church in a quaint old plaza. near city center. The main church in the city and as usual very nice inside. the pl Notre Dame is a nice quaint area with shops all around the plaza.

    a bit of history
    The church of St Gildas takes its name from a preury of the 12C that depended from the abbey benedictine of the Presqu’île de Rhuys. It was built at the site of this preury starting in 1623 and completed in 1663. The belltower in 3 levels was not done until 1701. You can all the city and serve as a model in the region.
    The style is sober with the exception of the two doors of baroque renaissance style. Inside we can admire the tombeau gisard of Christ circa 1520-1550 and an imposing altar retable of marbre from the 17C. The organ of Waltrin is from 1761. The ceiling is decorated with nice wood work.

    Church Saint Gildas main entrance altar church of St Gildas tombeau of Christ circa 1520-1550AD organ 18C and beautiful music back side of church belltower
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    chapel St Helene and tourist office

    by gwened Written Feb 12, 2012

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    it was a hospital until recently, annexed to a chapel that still its open, and adjacent to it is the town 's tourist office. A lovely building right in city center.
    built in 1651AD as a Hôtel-Dieu, connected to a chapel as above. In 1674 the Augustines arrive in Auray and took residence. The chapel of St Helen or chapelle Sainte-Héléne is open Mondays to Thursdays from 9h-12h and 14h-17h30,Fridays from 14h-17h30.

    main entrance at chapel Ste Helene and hotel dieu St Helene and hotel dieu inside altar chapel St Helene chapel along rue G Clemenceau the back of Chapelle St Helene and hotel dieu
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    La Fontaine Chazelles - more local history.

    by ranger49 Updated Nov 25, 2009

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    In the background of the first picture you can see, opposite Franklin Quay, a small structure built in granite..
    This is La Fontaine Chazelles, named after the local official who was responsible for bringing the first public water supply to the inhabitants of St Goustan in 1821.

    The importance of safe public water supplies cannot be over emphasised in the control and eradication of fatal diseases. Sad to reflect how many of the world's population still await - nearly 200 hundred years on - a Mon. Chazelles where they live.

    The fountain was also used by the many trading boats that used the harbour so that they could leave port with fresh water for the next part of their voyage.
    Not visible, the remains of an ancient public washery for laundry can be seen nect to the fountain.
    The ground on the opposite quai Martin was too wet for me to get there for a photograph. The picture in picture 2 is therefore courtesy of Wikipedia under the agreed licence procedure.
    http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0

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