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On our last visit to Le Faou the church was very obviously undergoing renovation and was out of bounds to tourists and, I would think, also to parishioners.
It's blackened stone exterior and eroded ornamentation was not a sight to behold.
We were however impressed by the attempt made to uphold the beauty of the site in its surrounding planting.
We made a special stop on our way through in October 2009 to see what progress had been made in restoring this 16th century church that was originally designed as a parish close.
I am not sure how much cleaning, or replacement, of the original stone has been undertaken. For me the effect of whatever was not really attractive - ancient granite or new Cotswold came to mind.
Unfortunately for us not one door into the church was open and I suspect the real glories of this ancient Christian building may be in the restored interior. (A flickr search bore out these thoughts).
The main entrance porch was barricaded.
It is in this porch that the polychrome 12 figures of the 12 apostles can be seen - six standing on either side; I was able to take pictures through the railings which I thought might be to protect visitors from dangerous masonry. However the real danger might be that the porch has been "occupied" and is now more like a pigeonnier. Their presence must be detrimental to the sculptures.
Updated Oct 20, 2009
This impressive statue, in the square in front of the Town Hall and opposite the Hotel de Beauvoir commemorates Monsieur et Madame de Pompery who were responsible for introducing new agricultural methods in the region between 1830 and 1880. It was unveiled by their son and brother at the Le Faou agricultural show in 1884.
Here, it seems, was a woman well ahead of her times, who knew her oats from her onions!
Updated Oct 19, 2009
Finisterre is very definitely a "seasonal" destination.
In my opinion far too many places of historic interest, other tourist attractions - and eateries! -close in or at the end of September.
On our recent October visit we enjoyed beautiful, warm/hot sunny weather, it seemed more like high summer and there were still many tourists about..
This small local history museum is one of the places we would have liked to visit but it opens only from Tuesday to Saturday 10h-12 h/14h-19 h, Sunday and Monday 15h-19 h, in July-August.
Outside these times visits can be made "by arrangement" - not a lot of use if you are travelling through.
Written Oct 19, 2009
This small town has a larger than usual number of attractive old partially timbered houses in relation to its population.
Even though this method of construction was banned in 1561, because of the risk of fire, the ones seen here were mainly built at the end of the 16th and early 17th centuries. So the inhabitants of Le Faou were of an independent nature!
The High street is a mixture of ancient and modern buildings and several of these buildings are used as commercial premises, as no doubt they were when first built when it was common for an artisan or shopkeeper to conduct his business on the ground floor and to live upstairs with the family.
Updated Oct 19, 2009
This attractive reataurant was opposite Brasserie le Halles where we had lunch. It was highly recommended by a local couple we chatted to and also appears in my favourite little guide book - Le Peti-Futé
So this is one for next time!
Updated Oct 17, 2009
Address: 50, rue du Général De Gaulle, 29580 - LE FAOU
Phone: Phone : 02 98 81 09 09
We stopped here for lunch in May 2008 and had the 14 euro menu. And again October 2009 Plat du jour 8euros 50.
It is a very small restaurant which was full on both occasions, and apart from one other couple we were the only "foreigners". On our first week-day visit it seemed a local meeting place where everybody knew each othere and were known to the staff. Slightly different on a Saturday when the customers included more men than women.
Just to enter the place was like taking a step back in time - like I remember bistro style restaurants in the '60's. Crowded, even a bit cramped, full of pictures and interesting objects.
Floral table covers and net curtains. Good aromas from the kitchen. Food was hearty rather than fine - plentiful salads and sea food platters, fried white fish, omelettes, soups and casseroles.
We said would go there again and we did!
Updated Oct 17, 2009
Address: 3 Place des Fusillés
Phone: Tél : 02.98.81.00.55
The restaurant, named La Vieille Renommée, in Hotel Beauvoir where we stayed in July 2007 was particularly recommended to us.
It seemed an odd name for a restaurant and we did not discover its history. Was it perhaps once run by an old lady who was a very good cook?
Or is it named in honour of the Noblewoman whose statue stands in the square opposit the hotel?
When we went down to dinner the restaurant was already filling up and the few remaining tables were reserved. Good job we had booked when we checked in to the hotel. I have mentioned in the hotel tip the rather eclectic elegance of the restaurant decor.
We had been told that it was rather more formal than most rural restaurants are these days and it was! A good job too that we had at least changed into smart,smart casual.
But it was well worth the effort . We both had a sea-food concoction with a delicious creamy and flavoursome sauce to start, and I had a baked trout to follow. As we were on the special D.B&B deal we had desert and cheese. Deserts were either artistic creamy type creations or fresh soft summer fruits with cream or home-made ice cream. The cheese selection came on an antique trolley and was excellent.
A really good meal in a relaxed but stately environment. As part of the deal very good value for money; Menus otherwise a bit above average .
Written Jul 27, 2008
Address: 11 Place aux Foires – 29590 Le Faou
Phone: Tél : 02.98.81.90.31
There is a very picturesque route along the river Aulne as you travel west from Le Faou on the D791 towards Térénez and the Crozon Peninsula.
It a beautifully wooded area of mainly broadleaf trees through which you may catch glimpses of the numerous bends and creeks in the river.
At one point there is a Last Resting Place for former naval vessels (not really as pretty) - we wondered if they might in any way be used on training exercises given the major militrary and naval operations at Brest and in the surrounding area.
For anyone with an interest in civil enginering both the old Pont de Térénez, and the new one currently under construction alongside, can be seen here.
To cross the river the old bridge is still in use. It is one of the hundreds of bridges constructed in France post-WW2 to replace those lost during the war.
Built in 1950, it is a 270 m long suspension bridge with concrete towers at each end and it is because of alkali damage to the feet of the towers, and other wear and tear, that the new one is being constructed now.
Netherlands based,Arcadis NV, the international design and consultancy firm are responsible for the new design which should be finished by the end of 2010.The aesthetical streamline design is intended to blend well with the surroundings of the River.
The new bridge will be more than 500meters long, and will be a cable-stayed multiple-span bridge with a prestressed concrete and metal deck.
There are pictures on the Company website - copyright so not included here.
Written Jul 28, 2008