Driving from Rennes to Gouesn’ach

posted in: Brittany, Home | 4

After a wonderful two days in Rennes it was time to set off for our gîte at Gouesn’ach, near Quimper, and the Brittany coast.

We stopped at Pontivy for coffee and to visit the Château, one of the homes of the Dukes of Rohan (was this where Tolkien took his inspiration?) Pontivy is properly three towns: a Mediaeval town on the Blavet River; Napoleonville with its regular streets and the Nantes-Brest Canal; and a new town. The Château was closed! So we walked around the old town and along the river but really didn’t do justice to this town founded by an English monk, St Ivy, in 685AD …

The Chateau de Pontivy


The Blavet River in Pontivy

Flowering grasses in pots along the Blavet River

The Basilica of Notre Dame de Joie was built in the early 16C and developed by the Dukes of Rohan in the 18C and 19C. The many statues came from the Récollets Convent which burned down in 1795. I found the Basilica cool and calming.

Notre Dame de Joie

Notre Dame de Joie

Notre Dame de Joie


And in a corner..

In Notre Dame de Joie

The town became was known as Napoleonville in 1804-14, and again in 1852-70. Napoleon wanted the town to important in wartime, and commercially strong. The Nantes-Brest Canal was started by him in 1811 to link the two important French ports when Brest was blockaded by the English. The canal of 385 kms  was completed in 1885 but is no longer fully functional because the new dam at Guerledan has flooded the canal between Maël-Carlaix and Pontivy. The Napoleonic buildings included a Law Court and a Town Hall, and the new streets were straight and regular.

nantes-brest-canal (http://www.kerbars.eu/kerbars_canal.html)

A lock on the Nantes-Brest Canal in Pontivy

The Law Courts, Pontivy

We visited the very good SuperU and set off again to find Gouesn’ach.

Further information

The Chateau de Rohan
Interesting blog post on the Basilica

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