Driving through Western Brittany

Treguier-P1090944

Today I drove farther west in Brittany and closer to the famous Cote de Granit Rose (Pink Granite Coast). This country is much like Ireland, with very green rolling hills with gorse bushes growing wildly. If you haven’t been to Ireland you may not know “gorse.” It’s an ugly yellow-flowered bush with very hard foliage that makes up the famous hedge rows of Ireland. Here the pastures and fields are large and open, unlike those in Ireland that were divided into small plots for the tenants of the landowner. That makes me wonder whether Brittany had a serf-based economy in the middle ages as much of Europe did. This was an independent country at that time that did things the Celtic way. That’s a question I should try to find an answer for.

The most interesting place I saw today was a 14th-15th century cathedral in a small city named Teguier. This is a classic French gothic cathedral, a bit smaller than most. It lost its bishop – and therefore stopped being a cathedral – in 1801. Frankly, there’s not much about its history to be found on the internet or in my Brittany guide book. A 12th century tower in the north transept is the only remnant of an older cathedral. Two other towers, one over the crossing and one over the south transept are rather short except that the southern tower has a magnicent steeple 63 meters (nearly 200’) tall. A beautiful cloister is somewhat hidden on the north side of the choir.

The cathedral is surrounded by well-maintained medieval buildings. I’m beginning to think every city and town in Brittany has a heart of 500 year old buildings. The town also has a full complement of granite buildings.  This is the granite coast, after all!

In the countryside there are big stone farm houses all along the roads. They remind me of the beautiful stone homes in the country around Philadelphia. Attached to them are stone barns rather like the farms of Maine with the “big house, little house, chicken house, barn” all attached to one another. In Maine those houses are made of wood – here everything is stone and must have taken a long time to build. Now and then a small house, often with white stucco over the stones and likely covered originally in thatched roofs, appears by the side of the road.

Here are a few pictures I took today.

Treguier-P1090943

This view of a house in the town with a tower next to the cathedral (showing its steeple) demonstrates the universal use of granite stone here.

Treguier-P1090963

A line of shops that have been holding one another up for centuries. in the cathedral square of Treguier.

Treguier-P1090949

This is the western door and porch of the Treguier cathedral. Normally cathedrals are entered on the western side but here it seems the south side is used. This is a dark and unwelcoming portal, probably seldom opened. The style is renaissance. There’s a dirty, worn out statue of Mary and her baby visible between the doors.

Treguier-P1090971

This is the interior of the eastern end of the church, over and behind the altar. Note the beautiful painting on the ceiling. The glass in in the center didn’t show well in my photo but all three windows are stained glass. I’ve found no information about the age of the glass.

Treguier-P1090977

This is the southern side aisle. The French use chairs like these instead of pews in their churches. The three openings in the wall are tombs.

Libbie

About Libbie Griffin

For several months recently I've been traveling around Europe. Write to me at in.my.suitcase.too@gmail.com if you would like to receive a very short email each time I post new words and pictures here. I would love for you to tell your friends who love to travel about this blog. And I would be very happy to read about your experiences, your suggestions and your questions in the comments section. Let's make this blog a conversation! Thanks! Libbie Griffin
This entry was posted in Brittany, France. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Driving through Western Brittany

  1. Janet Brookbank says:

    Just getting caught up on so much of your trip. Love the blog and the pictures and I am living vicariously through you. Just an awesome trip. Sorry you have had a few sick days and a few bumps in the road with accommodations. Such is life.

    This has been a good diversion for me.

    Enjoy this marvelous journey!

    Like

    • Hi Janet, and thanks for your enthusiastic note! I am enjoying my travels. After a few days that were pretty quiet, the fun is going to begin picking up again. I’m glad you want to come along.
      Libbie

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s