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The church at Roscoff, "Notre Dame de Croas-Batz" primarily of Gothic design, was begun around 1520 and only finished in 1701. A change in design was made in 1576 with the building of the magnificent Rennaissance belfry. Two ossuaries, including one with a double row of balusters are to be found in the close. Also around the walls can be seen several small sculpted motifs showing ships, an indication of the importance of maritime commerce here, and a nice sundial with the words "Craignez la Derniere", surely a reference to the "Grim Reaper and the last hour".
Written Jul 16, 2010
Address: rue Albert de Mun, Roscoff.
Just at the entrance to the leisure port and parking are two houses known as "The Mary Stuart houses". Mary Stuart landed here in 1548 and the legend goes that the future Queen of France and Scotland stayed in these houses. But the reality is, they were both built at leat 10/20 years after her landing. In fact at that time there only existed the St. Ninians chapel at the head of the landing stage. The chapel was demolished in the 1930's and all that subsists is the "Porte Marie Stuart".
Updated Jul 16, 2010
As would be expected from such a scenic location Roscoff has several commercial art galleries with works by local artists for sale. Unfortunately on an out of season Monday none of them were open but the window displays certainly are tempting.
The local style seems to be mainly impressionist but none the worse for that.
Website below will give you a taste.
Written Mar 28, 2010
Having been in the catering trade here in the UK for more years than I care to think about I am very familiar with Brittany produce. The region has richly fertile arable land, relatively short, mild, winters and long, but not overhot, summers. Because it is a peninsula there's always moisture in the air and whilst rainfall isn't particularly generous the general climate makes for ideal growing conditions for most vegetables.
Roscoff's particular claim to fame is its red onions (they even have their own "Appellation Controlee) which it began exporting in the early 1800's following a bumper crop. The early traders would sail across the Channel with boatloads and sell their produce door-to-door, firstly on foot and later by bicycle, with the onion stems woven to form necklaces for ease of carriage. These men became known as the "Onion Johnnies" (Since most of them were called Jean and those that weren't probably called themselves Jean anyway - perhaps for tax reasons ;)).
In the town centre there's a little museum dedicated to these guys and during the summer this is open Sunday to Friday with guided tours available. Unfortunately during the winter (which is the only time I've been) the house is only open on Tuesdays and Fridays and so I haven't had a chance to visit as yet - but watch this page.
Updated Mar 26, 2010
Address: 48 Rue Brizeux
Once you get back to the ferry port and have checked-in; if your ferry isn't ready for boarding the L'accostage cafe-bar at the port is quite a pleasant, friendly, place to have a quick beer or two. This has the advantage of opening onto the departures area and so you can enjoy your beer and watch for the boarding commencing.
This is open to the public, as well as ferry passengers, and is quite popular with the local workers from the docks and the adjacent industrial estate.
Obviously as well as beer you can get a full range of beverages, alcoholic and otherwise, and the food menu looks quite good too and is reasonably-priced.
PS It's also useful if waiting for the bus as the bus stop is just out front.
Written Mar 26, 2010
Address: Port de Bloscon
Chez Janie is the bar and restaurant of the Hotel du Centre here in the centre of town (strange but true!).
This is a friendly little bar and the terrace overlooks the harbour which makes it an ideal spot to relax with your pre-lunch aperatif. There's a good selection of local draught beers and cider (I think it was 4 + 1) and whilst its not the cheapest bar in town (at 2.70 for a demi "Lancelot Blonde") its not the most expensive either.
The food menu looks as if it's more restaurant-style than cafe but the plats du jour looked good value.
Written Mar 25, 2010
Address: Le Port, Roscoff
Bar ty Pierre (or Cafe depending on which bit of signage you read!) is as pleasant a spot as any to linger with your morning coffee. Service is pleasant, swift and friendly, and at 1.30 Euro the coffee is perfectly reasonably priced.
The terrace is ideal for watching the world go by and out of season is very much a locals haunt.
The cafe-type menu looks good too if you fancy a snack or lunch.
Written Mar 25, 2010
Address: 1 Rue Gambetta
Phone: 98 69 72 75
Personally I tend to just meander and see where I end up, depending on the time I've got available. However if you want to take a circular walk there are freebie leaflets available from the Tourist Office with maps, descriptions and timings.
These routes are signposted at their junctions and so it should be impossible to get lost.
Written Mar 25, 2010
Roscoff's main church is the 16th/17th century Eglise de Notre-Dame de Croaz Batz (Our Lady of Cross Batz) situated in the town centre. Its distinctive twin bell towers can be seen from miles around and up closer you'll notice the secular stonework carvings commemorating the fact that it was built by local merchants and shipowners.
This is very much a working church but inside is as interesting as the exterior by all accounts and the Louis XIII main altar is particularly magnificent.
For a virtual visit the website below has useful info and great pics.
Written Mar 25, 2010
If you want the best view overlooking Roscoff there is a hill between the old port and the ferry port. It is not immediately obvious from ground level and (I don't think) signposted. I merely stumbled accross it (after a 2&1/2 hour lunch stumbling is probably the most appropriate description!), having decided to walk out of town along the seafront in the opposite direction from my morning walk.
There it was, this little hill, with a little windey path leading from a dusty little carpark - with no cars in it (little or otherwise) and a little white church (Chapelle St Barbe) on the top.
The hill is probably not even 200 metres high but the view over the town, the old port and the bays on both sides is superb. It has one of these coin-fed binocular things, but the panorama doesn't really require using it.
Updated Mar 23, 2010
Address: Pointe de Bloscon