Landerneau is an important town on either side of the Élorn River which divides the provinces of Cornouaille and Léon in Brittany. It was a significant port, even in Roman times, and in the 16C and 17C it was used to export linen and flax, vitally important products in Brittany. The remains of the port are clearly visible in the centre of the town, close to the 16C Rohan Bridge.
The Rohan Bridge was the only crossing over the river until 1958! This house on the bridge was built of Lagonna stone in 1639 and belonged to a Jacques Gillart. There is some confusion over his profession because another Jacquest Gillart was a high-ranking official, a notary, but the dates seem to indicate father and son with the same name, with the father (clearly a wealthy man) building the house.
Opposite M Gillart’s house was the site of the first hospital in the town, with a curious little figure on the wall of the building. And this point also marked the start of RN164 from Landerneau to Ancenis (and later Angers to Brest) which I encountered in Loc-Ildut.
The Church of St Thomas is named after Thomas á Becket and a church has stood on this site since the 13C, named after him shortly after his martyrdom. The dominating bell tower dates from the early 17C, and the nearby Ossuary dates from 1635. This was the district of the town in which the tradesmen settled and it is easy to envisage the ‘feel’ of the town in earlier times.
And round the corner, on the river, is the 16C house of the Prior of St Thomas.
Opposite the church is the House of the Thirteen Moons, alongside which the Rue aux Fruits leads down to the river.
Across the river, in the wealthier part of town, is a 16C inn, Le Réveil-Matin, with a wolf and a lion guarding the building from the roof.
Walking through the town one can see the Maison Duthoya, 1667, the home of a merchant ship owner; the Manor of Keranden, 1904; the former 16C Capuchin Monastery which now houses the Fonds Hélène and Éduard Leclerc; the former Convent of the Ursulines (used as a barracks during WWII); and the Church of St Huardon, 16C but rebuilt subsequently.
And back down the main shopping street after a wonderful day! Do visit!