After a wonderful week in St Gilles de Vieux Marché it was time to move on to Sizun, only 118 kms away. We stopped in Carhaix but were too unprepared to really understand this important town and instead went on to The Valley of the Saints.
First though, coffee and croissants in Gouarec. We parked near a sign saying ‘Enclos Paroissial’ and after the most delicious pastries we went to see the church – I can’t resist an Enclos!
The Chapel of St Gilles in Gouarec dates from 1568 and replaced an earlier, 14C, building. St Gilles was a 7C saint from Athens and invoked to protect those who are unhappy and become solitary, and the woodlands. The Church was closed but is an enclos, with enclosing walls, calvary, South Porch, and an ossuary with bones.
There was a break in the rain in Carhaix.
The Valley of the Saints is actually a hillside north of Carhaix, near Carnoët, on which there are c.80 granite figures of Breton Saints of 3C-10C. The aim is to erect 1,000 figures in a project which was conceived by Philippe Abjean, a philosopher who wants to reawaken a sense of the Breton individuality and soul. On top of the hill is an ancient motte and bailey and in the valley below a chapel with a miraculous fountain.
What an extraordinary place! I am going to post photographs in black and white because I think that is an even better way of conveying the mood, the sense of age, and the link with the past.
The Valley of the Saints
I don’t know of the Lewis chess men – I will have to visit the British Museum – thank you! The Valley of Saints is a quite extraordinary undertaking, reinforcing a cultural identity which is already very strong in Brittany, particularly in the west of Brittany.
These remind me of the Lewis chess men!