Le Faou is a small town at the head of River Faou valley leading into the Rade de Brest. We visited two years ago, and walked round before the coffee stop. The town dates back to the 11C and was a busy port, trading in wood from the Forests at Cranou. Today the town has been tidied up and is clearly a busy tourist destination.
The houses in the main street often have upper stories which jut out over the street – ‘maisons à encorbellement’ – and date from 16C-17C. They are built of wood and so have a high risk of fire and were actually banned in the 17C for this reason.
The first church on this site was established by the Hospitallers of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. (There is another of their churches in Lannion, the Church of Brelevenez.) Today’s Church of Saint Sauveur in Le Faou dates from the 16C and is one of the Enclos Paroissiaux although the Ossuary and most of the enclosing walls have disappeared in the 19C when the road was widened. The building glows in its Lagonna stone.
Inside the Church of Saint Sauveur it was dark but with no tripod I just had to hold my breath and hope for the best.
The Font is very unusual – I have certainly not seen anything like it before. The snakes represent the resurrection of Christ and new life through baptism, while the doves are those which ‘told’ Noah about the ending of the Flood. I have seen, in Vila Viçosa in Portugal, a snake associated with the crucifixion…
Do visit Le Faou if you are in Brittany!
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