Where should I go next?…
I was originally planning a trip to Brest, but then I came across some information about “Enclos paroissial” (Parish enclosures) and they are right there in the same region.
There is no way I would go all the way to the west to Brest without seeing the parish enclosures.
So what exactly are these parish enclosures?
They were mainly built between the 16th and 17th century and were located throughout the Finistère department of Brittany.
They normally consist of 5 elements: the church, the calvary, the ossuary, the large entrance and the outer walls.
Whatever shape the Calvary is, there should be a cross, with Christ on it, casting towards the sky and the Calvary is always decorated with figures (from dozens to hundreds). Each statue conveys a message from the church.
For me, this is the whole point of visiting these enclosures. Because honestly, you can find better church in France, but you don’t get to see these everywhere.
“Les 7 calvaires monumentaux de Bretagne” – an association founded by the 7 communes to promote their enclosures
We visited 4 out of the 7 in which I would suggest the following 3.
Saint-Théogonnec (built in 1610)
Guimiliau (built in 1581)
Probably one of the most famous enclosures, Guimiliau is mentioned in almost all tourist books and websites about Brittany.
The selling point is its over-200-personage on the Calvary.
Pleyben (built in 1555)
Although not mentioned as often as Guimilian, Pleyben is actually one of the most important enclosures in the region.
Plougastel-Daouls (1601-1604, restored in 1945 after bombed in 1944)
Although it is on the way to Pleyben, this enclosure is obviously less impressive than the other 3. I would suggest against stopping by if you are on a tight schedule.
There are many more enclosures around Finistère. The main enclosures include also Lampaul-Guimiliau, Commana, Sizun and La Martyre.
Bon voyage à tous 🙂