(work in progress)One aspect of the Breton landscape that I hadn't anticipated was the number and prominence of war memorials. But then before I visited, I didn't realise that Bretons suffered the highest casualty rate of any nation in the First World War (WWI), during which a staggering one in fourteen Breton men, women and children perished.The...more
(work in progress)I'm partial to a good gargoyle, and was happy to discover that the church of Saint-Ténénan has a couple of endearing offerings which draw on a big cat theme.The main picture is certainly a lion, which was a commonly used image in the medieval world, often signifying royalty. The second - which I particularly like because,...more
(work in progress)One of our most endearing discoveries in Guerlesquin was the medicinal herb garden that has been established in the grounds of Saint-Ténénan church.Neat beds contain a range of plants that would have been used as traditional remedies in the days before modern medicine. Many are scented and it's fascinating to wander along the...more
(work in progress)I loved this sign which is displayed prominently next to the war memorial.It is an excerpt from a famous speech given by General de Gaulle in London during June 1940, which was designed to raise morale among "Tous les Francais" ("All the French") after French troops had suffered a series of demoralising defeats. It starts with a...more
If you can, visit Guerlesquin on a Monday: it's the day of the market. This is not a "normal" market with typical Breton products, it's a musical market. As you will see in my travelogues, musicians go through the streets of the village and also across the market, performing great Gaelic music. My father recorded some seconds of music, I will see...more
The prison seigneurale was the prison of the Lords of Guerlesquin. It was built around 1640 by Vincent du Parc de Kerret, a Lord of the village. It consists of a square fortress with a tower at every corner. You can visit it inside (I think it was free when I did it), where you'll see a room with a fireplace as well as two latrines. The fourth...more
Here you see more decorations located inside Saint-Ténénan.The first photo shows a banner with Saint Trechmeur (Trémeur in French), a local saint who was beheaded. This banner is probably used to celebrate a pardon.The second image is a painting of Mary's assumption to Heaven, while the third is a statue of the Vergin with his mother Saint Ann.The...more
Like most Breton churches, also Saint-Ténénan has a number of statues. Here you see:1) Sainte-Marthe who defeated a creature half-dragon half-fish. I have found this information on the web, but I'm not sure it's her, although it looks likely;2) Saint-Louis, the Holy King;3) Sainte-Barbe (Saint Barbara), whose church was originally located where the...more
The primary église de Saint-Ténenan was built at the end of the 15th or in the early 16th century by the Beaumanoir architect atelier. After it was demolished with the neighbouring chapel of Saint Barbara and charnel house, a new, wider building replaced it in 1859. The new church was erected in Neo-Gothic style and part of the original decorative...more
The church inside shows a mixture of styles: it looks Gothic for the wide and decorated windows, but it is also a little Romanesque because the arches are not real vault-arches as in Gothic. Anyway, you see it is a very rich architecture. Let's have a look at the paintings and statues of the church now.more
(work in progress)Breton belongs to the Celtic family of languages, and has strong links to both Welsh and Cornish. It's still widely spoken, particularly in Basse (Lower) Bretagne, and the most obvious reflection of Breton's enduring influence (and marked sense of separatism) is that all of the road signs are 'bilingual'.If you've travelled in...more
(work in progress)I know a thing or two about hostelries, and being of Irish stock, I should be a past master at identifying Irish pubs. Indeed, it is often a source of annoyance to me when I'm exploring a wonderful new city in an exotic location and stumble across a "Molly Malone's" when an authentic local bar would have been so infinitely...more
Since Guerlesquin is a small village and all its inhabitants know each other, you will certainly assist to the traditional Breton custom of kissing on the cheek (se faire la bise), especially if you visit this village on Mondays, when there is the musical market. Here, only one kiss is usually exchanged. I think I saw very few people add a second...more
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I love it when buildings betray their antiquity - as in the uneven wear on this flight of stairs in Guerlesquin's old prison.
However, much though I appreciate the aesthetics and history, I have to put on my health and safety hat here. These steps are not only uneven, but have been worn smooth by the passage of thousands of feet over the centuries, which have polished them smooth and treacherously slippy.
The interior of the prison is not well illuminated - articularly if you're coming inside from bright sunshine - so it would be easy to miss your footing and fall. Also be sure to keep Small People under close supervision: the prison is such an exciting place to play 'soldiers' that chances are that they won't be paying too much attention.
(work in progress)As you will have gathered by now, I liked pretty well everything about Guerlesquin: it really is a delightful little town that is heartwarmingly accessible to visitors, without having 'sold out' to the tourist hoardes.One small but significant contributing factor to this congenial atmosphere is the excellent signage for visitors,...more