Paimpol Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Things to Do
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Things to Do
    by CatherineReichardt

Most Recent Things to Do in Paimpol

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    The splendid Chapterhouse of the Abbaye

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 25, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    (work in progress)
    The Chapterhouse is the best preserved section of the medieval part of Abbaye de Beauport, and has a fine roof which features some splendid Gothic vaulting.

    Even in high summer - though admittedly on a cool day - the hall was cold and it doesn't take much imagination to realise how chilly this room must be in midwinter when the wind and rain whip in over the salt marshes. It's no wonder that they needed such huge fireplaces to warm such an enormous space!

    Was this review helpful?

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    An abbey in Bretagne funded by English pilgrims

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 25, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    (work in progress)
    A monastic community was first established in this area on the island of Saint-Riom in 1184, but the conditions proved too challenging, and the decision was made to relocate to the mainland.

    Abbaye de Beauport was subsequently established on its current site at the start of the 13th century by Alain de Penthièvre and formed part of a network of Premonstran monasteries.

    The Premonstrans were a preaching order, a fact underlined by the Pope five years after the Abbaye's foundation, when he decreed that because of the Breton-speaking nature of the region, the Abbot was also required to be fluent in Breton.

    For the early part of its history, the Abbaye served as a transit point for English pilgrims embarking on the long pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. To underline its English links, it was funded by a group of thirteen parishes in Lincolnshire (eastern England) but seems to have experienced financial problems throughout its history, particularly after the English Reformation in the 16th century, which effectively starved the Abbaye of funds.

    The Abbaye fell into decline in the mid 18th century, and was ransacked by revolutionary forces during the French Revolution, after which it fell into picturesque ruin, and was declared a national monument in 1862.

    It is located in a beautifully scenic position on a hill fringed by salt marsh and if you have a little time, it would be well worth wandering down to the shore, if only to appreciate the Abbaye from the perspective of the medieval pilgrims. Give yourself at least a couple of hours to explore the ruins, the gorgeous gardens and the tranquil setting.

    Was this review helpful?

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    The ruins of the Abbaye church

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 18, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    (work in progress)
    Some places are arguably more impressive as ruins than they would have been in their intact state, and I suspect that this may well be the case with gorgeous Abbaye de Beauport.

    A major part of the Abbaye's attraction is the way that it rises out of the salt marshes that fringe the bay, and the fact that the ruins seem almost organically linked to the neighbouring gardens (including the fascinating walled garden). The fact that the floor of the church is now 'carpeted' with a lawn and that there are plants growing out of the stonework seems very fitting and serves to soften lines that were probably much more stark in the Abbaye's heyday.

    Was this review helpful?

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Explore the Abbaye's extensive cellars

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 18, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    (work in progress)
    One of the reassuring aspects of visiting Abbaye de Beauport with kids is that as it's already in ruins, there's little chance of them breaking anything!

    Obviously this is a somewhat flippant comment, but hopefully you get my drift. All too often when you're travelling with children to historic monuments, you spend so much time worrying about them touching things they're not meant to or making excessive noise that your own enjoyment of the place is compromised, but here the kids are free to explore with little chance of them causing damage to themselves or anything else.

    What kids wouldn't love to play hide and seek in these old cellars? And if they're allowed to play 'make believe' amid such evocative surroundings, it's amazing how much they'll pick up about the way that people used to live.

    P.S. Don't get too excited about the wine barrels that are standing around: they've long since been emptied by thirsty monks!

    Was this review helpful?

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Artichokes in the abbey's walled garden

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 17, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 more image

    (work in progress)
    One of the many surprising things that we discovered about Bretagne is that it's big on artichokes: interesting for us, as it's not a crop that I can recall ever seeing being cultivated on a large scale previously. They also feature prominently in the walled garden at Abbaye de Beauport, which gives you a chance to examine one of these odd plants up close.

    Artichokes are outlandish things, however you look at it: effectively they're outsize, edible thistles and it's difficult to imagine why it would have occurred to anyone to try and eat one in the first place. I am particularly spooked by their strange pointy leaves that put me in mind of illustrations from a medieval book of spells, and judging by his expression, Small Son shares my reservations!

    Was this review helpful?

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Ancient walls of the Abbaye's kitchen garden

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 2, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    (work in progress)
    I love old walls: just to look at them and imagine what they have witnessed since they were constructed gives me a thrill.

    The walls of the enclosed garden at Abbaye de Beauport are particularly beautiful, and the passing centuries have lent them a particular charm that is only enhanced by their slight irregularity. Tiny pockets of mortar have accumulated in the mortar, in which the seeds of wild flowers are trapped and germinate, and I was particularly taken by the contrast of this vivid red poppy against the earth tones of the wall and the blue of the sky.

    Was this review helpful?

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    The Abbaye's walled garden delights all senses!

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jul 31, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 more image

    (work in progress)
    I have an abiding passion for walled monastic gardens, and the one at Abbaye de Beauport is one of the most wonderful that I've ever had the privilege of wandering through.

    The garden has been laid out within walls which serve a number of purposes. The most obvious function of the walls is that they contributed to food security, protecting the garden from damage or plunder by outsiders and preventing access for wild animals. The walls helped to create a microclimate in the garden, in particular, sheltering the plants from the bitter winds that rip in from the Channel for much of the year.

    These gardens were intended to grow fruit and vegetables to feed the resident monks, and were also used to cultivate medicinal herbs and plants befor the advent of modern medicine, . The curators of the Abbaye have sensibly chosen to stick to old fashioned species of plant and traditional methods of cultivation. Fruit trees have been pruned and trained in the distinctive French 'espalier' (trellis) fashion and pests are kept under control using 'companion planting'. Areas between trees have also been left uncultivated, and when we visited in late June, were full of wildflowers and alive with butterflies, bees and and other insects.

    I found this a very tranquil and restful space, and I can easily imagine how it might have served as a welcome refuge for monks seeking a few minutes relief from the ordered discipline of the monastery.

    Was this review helpful?

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Old trees in the grounds are great for climbing!

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jul 31, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    (work in progress)
    The grounds of Abbaye de Beauport are delightful, with an ideal mix of 'formal' and 'natural' elements.

    With kids in tow, the parkland aspects of the grounds are a much more attractive option, especially after a couple of hours cooped up in the car. Just to one side of the walled garden, my kids espied a grove of ancient trees that were just asking to be climbed, and scrambled up into them quicker than a rat up a drainpipe!

    Was this review helpful?

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    Celebrating the pilgrim visitors of the Abbaye

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 25, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    (work in progress)
    This tile is displayed in the Abbaye and depicts Irish pilgrims on their voyage over to start their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

    Was this review helpful?

  • skywalkerbeth's Profile Photo

    what a marvelous find!

    by skywalkerbeth Written Jan 10, 2005
    an ancient Abbey

    I stumbled across "l'Abbaye de Beauport" as I was heading for Ploumanach and La Cote du Granit Rose.

    Related to:
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Paimpol

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

71 travelers online now

Comments

Paimpol Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Paimpol things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Paimpol sightseeing.

View all Paimpol hotels