Saint-Thégonnec Travel Guide

  • Saint-Thégonnec
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Things to Do
    by CatherineReichardt
  • Things to Do
    by CatherineReichardt

Saint-Thégonnec Things to Do

  • Sorry, what was that name again???

    (work in progress)St Thégonnec (St Tegoneg in Breton), an obscure sort of saint if ever there were one.The Bretons are rather fond of unilaterally recognising home grown saints, almost all of which are unrecognised by the official Powers That Be in Rome. To date, only three Breton saints have made it to the offiical Vatican list (St Yves, St Clair...

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  • The boneless ossuary

    (work in progress)Ossuaries - also known as 'bone churches' or by the splendid medieval term of 'charnal houses' - have been a well established tradition in Europe for over a millenium, yet the idea of a structure used to inter disembodied bones seems to evoke a frisson of horror among most tourists.The ossuary was a pragmatic solution to the...

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  • The laying out of Jesus' body

    (work in progress)The ornate Calvary at Saint-Thégonnec depicts the Passion (trial and crucifixion) of Jesus in a series of tableaux whose design is not unlike the freeze frame format of the modern 'cartoon'.For me, one of the most moving of the tableaux depicted on the Calvary is the laying out of Jesus' body prior to burial, which beautifully...

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  • Superb characterisation on the Calvary

    (work in progress)The quality of stone carving in the parish close at Saint-Thégonnec is astonishingly good, and quite the best that we saw during our time in Bretagne.Because granite is coarse grained and very hard, it is very seldom a stone that is willingly chosen by sculptors unless they're working on a really grand scale. However, at...

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  • Sculptures reflect fashions of the time

    (work in progress)The detail on the Calvary at Saint-Thégonnec is so astonishing that I found that I needed quite some time to take it all in.One of the most interesting aspects of the friezes on the Calvary is the fact that they reflect the fashions of the time in which they were carved (in this case, 1610), with the uniforms of the soldiers -...

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  • The 'other' Calvary

    (work in progress)The parish close of Saint-Thégonnec is such an overwhelming spectacle that many will completely overlook the 'other' Calvary at the opposite side of the church. Which is a terrible pity, because I love its simplicity and the way that it stands sentinel over the town.

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  • Charmingly cherubic angel

    (work in progress)Frequent visitors to my pages will know that I am violently allergic to all aspects of Baroque architecture and have an aversion to gratuitous gilding: yet somehow when I came across this delightful angel on the pulpit at Saint-Thégonnec, all my preconceptions flew out the window!With her wide brown eyes and rosebud mouth, she is...

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  • Wild flowers left to grow over the...

    (work in progress)One of the most charming aspects of Breton churches is the fact that wildflowers and lichens have established themselves on the stone, which serves to soften the often austere lines of the granite structures.The building stone of choice in Bretagne is the local granite, which has a very coarse crystalline (alomost sugar-like)...

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  • Go Around the Calvary

    All of the action on this Calvary takes place on the platform and the three crucifixion poles. The lateral ones support the two thieves. The center one is thicker and knobby (thorns?) with a cross bearing Christ at the top. Lower down are two cross beams. The upper has two figures at the ends and a Virgin and Child at the center. The lower also has...

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  • Examine the Church Interior

    On entering the church, one sees above at the west end to the left, a large organ case which is carved. In a corner there used to be a well wrought multifigured carved Deposition. (It must have escaped the fire because a recent report illustrates and places it in the Ossuary-Chapel). A beautiful Rosary Altar was at the end of the left transept; it...

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  • Enter the South Porch

    The South Porch sits belwo the tower and has a severe Renaissance entry arch. The adjacent buttresses contain niches with 4 statues: thinner pair (left and right of the arch) are the Annunciation Angel and Mary, the outer pair, Sts. John and Nicholas. In another niche above the arch stands St. Thegonnec himself. Under the porch 12 fine niches have...

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  • Visit the Ossuary-Chapel

    Thisrectangular building has on its long side an entrance under a broken pediment with what must be St. Thegonnnec above. As noted there are shell niches above the windows. Inside when we visited there was an Altar at one end with a picture upon it of the death of (St.) Joseph. The altarpiece has spiral columns. In the depths under the altar is a...

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  • Enter the Parish Close

    The Close is partially encircled by a stone fence with a Triumphal Gate. The enclosure is completed by tall hedges. We parked to the east of the church and entered through the gate. We looked at the tower above the South Porch as we appraoached. It was Renaissance in style (1587) with samll lantern at the top corners around a small dome. To the...

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  • The calvaire - more details

    Here are more biblical scenes from the calvaire that I haven't been able to identify. Suggestions are welcome.

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  • The chapel - inside: the Deposition

    The wooden Deposition of Saint-Thégonnec is one of the most beautiful and best kept in Bretagne. You may recognize the following people:standing, from left to right: Saint Joseph of Arimathea, the man who took Jesus's body down from the Cross and buried it; Veronica, the Pious Woman who wiped Jesus's face; Virgin Mary; John, Jesus's favourite...

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  • The chapel - inside

    The inside of the chapel is very beautiful. You see a high altar, a very unusual representation of God, the blue ceiling, a showcase with the treasure of the church, including the cross used on occasion of the pardon (the annual procession to celebrate Mary on the Assumption Day), and an altar decoration depicting Saint Joseph's death. However,...

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  • The chapel - outside

    Most enclos paroissiaux have a charnel house, but this one has never been used like that. It is a chapel with great treasures inside.

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  • The calvaire - general view

    This big calvaire dates back to 1610. The sculptures represent scenes from the Passion of Christ. A small niche keeps a small statue of Saint-Thégonnec. You can see it in the last photo.

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  • The church - inside: retables and...

    You can see two Baroque retables to the sides of the altar. They portray saints and scenes from the Holy Scriptures. I think they are the most remarkable attraction of the church, together with the windows.There are two large well-decorated windows: one portrays male saints and the other female saints. The guide told us the names of most of them...

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  • The calvaire - details

    The calvaire of Saint-Thégonnec is not as populated as that of Guimiliau but it is not less interesting. Here you see some scenes narrated in the calvaire:1) the capture of Jesus;2) Jesus's burial;3) Jesus falls under the weight of the cross.You can see more photos in the travelogues.

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  • The church - inside: general view

    Neither does the inside of the church look as it did when it was built for the main reason that a silly boys had the wonderful idea of setting it on fire in 1998, as you can read more in depth in the "General tips" section of this page.The organ has just been restored, while the repair of the apsis is still in progress.

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Saint-Thégonnec Restaurants

  • CatherineReichardt's Profile Photo

    by CatherineReichardt Updated Aug 12, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    (work in progress)
    The Bar des Sports in Saint-Thégonnec is almost a caricature of the sort of bar that you hope to be lucky enough to stumble across in rural Bretagne.

    Square, solid weatherproof granite exterior and slate roof artistically highlighted with acid green lichen - check. Pictureque creeper softening the austere lines of the architecture - check. Bright blue, impossibly pictureque shutters - check.

    Given all those advantages, who would care if the beer and food were good? Well, actually I would, but unfortunately our time constraints intervened, so I had no time to ground truth its other merits and determine whether the interior lived up to the spectacular exterior.

    This is one place where I would dearly have loved the opportunity to watch a sports game on big screen TV with a supply of local cidre on tap! If you've been so lucky, then please let me know whether it would have lived up to my high expectations!

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Saint-Thégonnec Favorites

  • Blue ceilings

    The blue ceiling you see in the chapel of this enclos paroissial is typical of many Breton churches.

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  • 8th June 1998

    In the morning of a normal day in June, a boy is playing with the candles in the church. His parents tell him to come away from there; he continues staying there; at a certain moment, he incidentally sets fire to the church.[...]Many parts of the church were destroyed but the people of the village could save something and, after long works, the...

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