Pilgrim Route & Chapels

The Daoulas Sunday Market is a ‘must visit’ in west Brittany – situated at the head of a sea inlet the little town also has a wonderful Abbey with a walled garden filled with medicinal plants. This year I concentrated on the Daoulas Sunday Market where we had previously bought delicious roast bacon and potatoes cooked in dripping and I felt I needed to repeat the experience! 

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Shopping over we planned a walk which included some of the GR34, one of the Pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela, and we wondered if we would rediscover a sense of pilgrimage as we visited several Chapels along the way. We parked at Kergoff which must have been a significant stop on the Pilgrim Route because I could see a large mansion hidden behind a wall and trees, and a derelict chapel. From here we followed quiet green lanes to another Chapel, La Fontaine Blanche.

Chapel at Kergoff
Chapel at Kergoff
Green lanes around Kergoff
Green lanes around Kergoff

The Chapel of La Fontaine Blanche was originally built of wood, destroyed by the Normans, and rebuilt in the 10C. Today’s Chapel dates from the 15C and was part of a Priory attached to the Abbey at Daoulas. (I didn’t photograph the buildings across the road from the Chapel as I didn’t realise their importance at the time.) The fountain, with a statue of the Virgin and Child, is believed to have magical, curative powers for children with rickets and those who are slow to walk. As is so often the case this site has had religious or pagan associations (fertility) for centuries. It certainly had a tangible atmosphere and standing under the trees it was easy to believe in layers of time and unseen forces.

Chapel of La Fontaine Blanche
Chapel of La Fontaine Blanche
The Chapel of La Fontaine Blanche
The Chapel of La Fontaine Blanche
The Chapel of La Fontaine Blanche
The Chapel of La Fontaine Blanche
The grove of trees outside the Chapel of La Fontaine Blanche
The grove of trees outside the Chapel of La Fontaine Blanche

We set off again down shaded, quiet green lanes with high earth walls studded with ferns and ivies, coming out eventually at Kerzianou, a small hamlet overlooking the Anse du Moulin Neuf.

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Anse du Moulin Neuf
Anse du Moulin Neuf

And down the road to the Pont Kalleg over the Anse du Moulin Neuf. Boats sailed up the Anse with cargoes of Maërl, a coral growth which was crushed to create an organic fertiliser. This sounded good until I read that it grows by 1mm per year, some areas can be over 5,000 years old, and these beds are ‘nursery’ grounds for some species of cod and scallops.

Anse du Moulin Neuf
Anse du Moulin Neuf

Noticeboard at Anse du Moulin Neuf

Anse du Moulin Neuf
Anse du Moulin Neuf
Anse du Moulin Neuf
Anse du Moulin Neuf

Plunging again into green lanes we came out at the Chapel of St Claude which was built by the Lord of Kergoat in gratitude for his deliverance from the Moors during a Crusade to the Holy Land. It was neglected over time and the current Chapel, walled, dates from the 16C and looks like one of the enclos parroissiaux. Like the Chapel of the White Fountain this was an ancient site of worship and pagan rites. Unfortunately it was locked so we couldn’t see inside. The statues on the Calvary were particularly beautiful and I think these were by Roland Doré.

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This plaque is on the wall of the Churchyard but I can’t find any further information about the people on the internet. The 15 US Cavalry was active in Northern France in WWII, and of course the American army was in the Battle of Brest in 1944.

American forces in Brittany, WWII (https://www.breizh-amerika.com/history.html)
American forces in Brittany, WWII (https://www.breizh-amerika.com/history.html)

A few more green lanes, past the water mill below Kergoff, and we were back at the car. And on the way home a stop at the neighbouring Anse, the Anse de Penfoul – a wonderful day.

The Anse de Penfoul
The Anse de Penfoul

Further information
La Chapelle de la Fontaine Blanche and here
The Stained glass in the Chapel
The Chapels of La Fontaine Blanche & St Claude – excellent blogsite, with lots of information about Brittany!
The 15th US Cavalry Regiment in France

5 comments

  1. Sorry it’s taken me a while to get here, Candy. I’ve taken a break from blogging as I have family visiting me in the Algarve. I’m accumulating rather a lot of walks so I’ll be posting again next Monday. It’s a lovely place you’ve taken me to. Thank you very much. 🙂 🙂

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