24 July 2009

2006: Le Vieux-Marché, Part 2

24 July

We're back: The fountain is named for Saint Erwan. Which has gotten me to thinking just how many saints there must be in the Catholic Pantheon. How it is almost impossible to visit ANY town without finding a good thirty percent of said town with things named for saints. Roads. Towns. Churches and chapels (obvious). Schools. Fountains. Restaurants. Beaches. Rocks, including menhirs (such as Uzec) that predate Christianity by thousands of years. You name it.

OK, someone else named it. If I didn't know better, I'd say the Catholic Church has gone out of its way to canonize saints so it can name things.

Before my visit, I'd never heard of Erwan. Efflam. Jacut. Barbe. Eloi. Mayeux. Gilles. Suzanne. Eutrope. Lunaire. Launeuc. Gelven. Brieuc. Or Tugdual, for whom there is a fairly-substantial cathedral named in Tréguier. Or any of another few thousand place names I've encountered along the way. And churches almost always start with "Notre-Dame" (Our Lady)... If you recall, it wasn't a month ago I photographed Our Lady of the Snows, Our Lady of the Whooping Cough, and untold others. Once you've traveled here, it's hard to associate Notre Dame with only that simple little Parisien cathedral on the banks of the river Seine.

Hmmm. I seem to have lost my way. Encore. One would think I can be turned offcourse by the unusual. Ignore the above. :)

Anyway, over the next two hours I visit the towns of Plouaret (Eglise de Notre-Dame - closed), Lanvellec (Eglise Saint-Brandan - closed), and Plouzélambre (Eglise Saint-Sylvester - closed).

This pattern held for all but two churches the rest of the day, but more on those later...

Roman baths can be found along the eastern shoreline of Plestin-les-Gréves, in a site called Le Hogolo. The original bath was constructed as part of a villa almost 2000 years ago, and added to during the next 300 years... Subsequently, the site was in turn either demolished or allowed to return to its native state under grasses and drifting sand dunes.

One of the churches open was a simple affair in Guimaëc that was supposed to be closed for lunch. Though simple, it was currently exhibiting numerous relics from surrounding parishes as they underwent complete restoration (as in Le Prajou, which was bombed into ruin status by World War II) or annual maintenance. I found this out inadvertently as the caretaker attempted to lock me into the church for lunch, then noticed this tourist enamoured with several bas relief copies of Christ's Passion. Rather than kicking me out, we spent the next 20 minutes discussing the various relics within, and she wouldn't let me go until she was satisfied I was satisfied with the visit. She was incredibly friendly and knowledgeably-passionate about the church and its contents.

Onward following the coastline (mostly) through the tiny hamlet of Trédrez, and more fun / unusual statuary appears, this time in tree branches, metal workings, and granite:

The last bit of this roadtrip ends in a town named La Yaudet, where the Léguer River meets the English Channel. As busy as other locations were today, La Yaudet was almost sleepy. The beautiful landscape, the soft breezes, and the late-afternoon sun all conspired to make this stop quite pleasureable. The village itself made for interesting viewing, as witness this home at Number 62, named Ty-Noemie:

The village church is Notre-Dame du Yaudet, dedicated to the sea and those who sail it. Inside, there are numerous sailing ships hanging from the ceiling, and pictures line the walls. On the altar is a reclining Madonna I'm told is one of very few in France.

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