A character town between river and ocean
In the bay of Brest, between the Léon and Cornouaille areas, and between the river and the sea, Landerneau has a remarkable architectural heritage. The jewel in its architectural crown is the famous Rohan bridge, the only bridge in Europe that still has people living on it. As you explore around it, you’ll pass a succession of beautiful residences dating from the 16th to 19th centuries.
A bridge inhabited for more than 500 years
The superb Rohan bridge stands at the furthest point reached by the tide, with its six stone arches standing in salt water. Built in the 16th century, this monument spans the river Elorn, replacing a wooden structure that dated back to the 12th century. The buildings, which stand on granite piles, have been home to generations of wealthy artisans and linen merchants. To get a good view of the slate-covered corbels, it’s best to stand a little way off, a few strides up the right-hand bank.
A view of the Elorn from your window
On the quaysides, rich merchants built grand houses. These stand as evidence of the town’s lucrative port activities, linked to the export of linen and leather. The 17th and 18th century buildings are decorated with ornate skylights, turrets, half-timbering etc., and the moon-shaped coats-of-arms that have become the town’s emblem. Local yellowy-ochre stone from Logonna adds a touch of warm colour to your walk, which takes you past the Maison de la Sirène (Mermaid’s House), the Maison de la Sénéchaussée (Bailiwick’s House) and the Maison des 13 Lunes (House of the 13 Moons).
Riverbanks full of charm
After following the heritage trail through narrow streets steeped in history, you can continue your walk along the banks of the river Elorn - or along the towpath if you want to go further. Whether you’re walking or cycling, this is the ideal way to combine the pleasures of the open air with discovering historic sites. Fishermen can enjoy a bit of peace and quiet, trying their luck with the salmon and trout.
A town that buzzes with life
Landerneau’s days of prosperity left the town with a definite taste for markets, shopping and all kinds of trading. The town centre has lots of attractive and interesting shops. And this is where a certain Monsieur Leclerc established his first grocer’s shop in 1949 (Leclerc is now a major French hypermarket chain). This same dynamism can still be found today in the ‘Fonds Hélène et Edouard Leclerc pour la Culture’, a cultural centre that organises major exhibitions, such as the Giacometti exhibition in 2015. The same dynamism puts a buzz into the many festivals, exhibitions and other events – in fact there’s always something going on in Landerneau!
Did you know
What does the expression ‘Faire du bruit dans Landerneau’ mean?
The annual ‘Fête du Bruit dans Landerneau’ is a music festival that takes its name from the saying “Cela va faire du bruit dans Landerneau” (“That’ll make some noise in Landerneau”). This expression originally referred to the racket made by residents of Landerneau to mock widows who remarried too soon (in the townsfolk’s opinion).