Valley of the Aulne estuary
A foreign fragrance
This peaceful oasis is a delight to discover. The serenity in this small patch of land, which hugs the Aulne River as it meanders out to sea, encourages peaceful meditation. It's no surprise that the Benedictine monks and Saint Guénolé were enthralled by these surroundings, particularly as a beautiful natural landscape completes the picture which unfolds from Châteaulin to Landévennec.
A day filled with countryside and history
In the Armorique Regional Natural Park, the Aulne estuary tourist trail snakes through woodland and rolling hills, along shorelines and past important cultural sites. You can combine the circular driving route with short walks to admire the varied landscape, wander through a town, or try a local crêpe.
Among the villages and hamlets which testify to the valley's history, don’t miss Le Faou. This 'Petite Cité de Caractère' (Small Town of Character) brings together beautiful 16th century corbelled houses, a church with a fine Renaissance bell tower, and a harbour. Nearby, Rumengol Church now stands where once stood a druid altar.
Between sky, sea and land
Across the water, at the other end of Brest bay, Landévennec perches on a rocky outcrop. Among the trees, this lovely village stretches out from the old abbey to the 17th century church. From there, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the meandering river, the island of Térénez and the romantic 'ship graveyard'. Sheltered from the prevailing winds by the Crozon peninsula, this area enjoys a particularly mild climate.
Blessed by nature
In around 485 AD, Saint Guénolé chose this little corner of paradise to found the first Breton monastery. Still standing are superb remains of 11th and 12th century buildings. High walls, pillar bases and some parts of the nave have survived both the weather and the French Revolution. On the edge of the site, the 'Musée de l'ancienne abbaye' has exhibitions and events that tell the story of this important religious location as well as showing how the region of Brittany came to be.
In 1958, Benedictine monks returned to Landévennec, building a new monastery from Logona stone, 500 metres above the old one. They lead a peaceful existence, tending their orchards and welcoming visitors.
Mediterranean-style plant life
As you wander in the abbey's grounds, you'll be enveloped by scents more typical of sunnier climes – surprising so far north. Lawson's cypresses, palm trees and laurel groves flourish in an exceptional microclimate. Strolling along the winding paths, you'll come across fig trees, mimosas and camellias. A feast for the senses!