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

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    Pointe de Minard

    by himalia11 Written Nov 3, 2014

    The Pointe de Minard is a headland south of the Pointe de Bilfot and north of the Pointe de la Tour. There's a car park from which you have very nice views on the cliffs to the south. Unfortunately we've been there on a rather misty day so we couldn't see that far, but the view still was nice. We did walk along the coastal from there to the Pointe de Bilfot, which took almost 2,5 hours there and back and was very nice - except for the 200 steps down to the Crique de Porz-Donant and 150 steps up on the other side, and doing this again on the way back! But the views on the coast with the lighthouse on the island near Pointe de Bilfot was nice, and we even saw several dolphins in the distance!

    View to the north Pointe de Minard View to the south
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    Pointe de Bilfot

    by himalia11 Written Nov 3, 2014

    It seems the headland near Port Lazo has two names: Pointe de Plouézec and Pointe de Bilfot. From there you have a nice view on the islands nearby, Petit Mez Goelo", "Grand Mez Goelo", and a small island with a lighthouse called "Phare de L'Ost-Pic". You also have a good view on the bay of Paimpol, but unfortunately it was pretty misty.
    Like at many places at the coast you here also find a monument about WWII. It remembers the men that were killed during the war when they were attacking the signal station on this headland which was held by the Germans.

    View on Pointe de Bilfot & islands Harbour of Port Lazo Phare de L'Ost-Pic Island near Pointe de Bilfot
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    Domaine de Beauport

    by himalia11 Written Nov 3, 2014

    The grounds of the abbey are almost 120 hectare, and you can discover the for free on the various walking paths. There are two trails, one near the sea and another one in the forest, but I'm not sure if they are signposted as we didn't find signs. You can buy a map for a few cents in the abbey, it's the same that you can see in front of the abbey and which I find it a bit confusing. In any case it was interesting to shortly walk through the marshland, find this little waterfall, enjoy the nice views on the coast from a viewpoint at the border of the forest and then walk a bit along the cove. It's all not far from the abbey, we only walked about 1 hour. The coastal long distance trail GR34 is also passing close by.

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    Abbaye de Beauport

    by himalia11 Written Nov 3, 2014

    Beauport Abbey was founded in 1202. It's located pretty nice, at the outskirts of Paimpol and overlooking the Paimpol bay. It used to be an important abbey of the Premonstratensian order, but after the French Revolution the abbey was dissolved and its building used as stable, town hall, school and cider press. Today you can visit several of the abbey buildings and the church, which is in ruins now. There was a decision to preserve existing buildings but not reconstruct the ruins, to protect the animals who live there.

    At the entrance you'll get a map with information, either in French, Breton, English or German. You can then visit the cloister, the church ruins, the old sacristy with some archeologic finds, the chapterhouse with its green stones, the duke's hall where it's not sure what it was used for, a large garden with fruit trees and the storage cellar with some old tools. At all places you'll find a box with laminated leaflets in several languages which give you some details what you see here and about the abbey live. This was very interesting and well presented.

    Admission 2014: adults 6,-, children 3,50.

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    The splendid Chapterhouse of the Abbaye

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 25, 2012

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    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!

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    An abbey in Bretagne funded by English pilgrims

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 25, 2012

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    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.

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    The ruins of the Abbaye church

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 18, 2012

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    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.

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    Explore the Abbaye's extensive cellars

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 18, 2012

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    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!

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    Artichokes in the abbey's walled garden

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 17, 2012

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    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!

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    Ancient walls of the Abbaye's kitchen garden

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 2, 2012

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    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.

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    The Abbaye's walled garden delights all senses!

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jul 31, 2012

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    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.

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    Old trees in the grounds are great for climbing!

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Jul 31, 2012

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    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!

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    Celebrating the pilgrim visitors of the Abbaye

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 25, 2012

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

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  • skywalkerbeth's Profile Photo

    what a marvelous find!

    by skywalkerbeth Written Jan 10, 2005

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

    an ancient Abbey
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