The Aven crosses the town, changing from a capricious river to a peaceful tidal estuary dotted with pleasure boats. The water bounces between large, rounded boulders, turning one or two wooden wheels, preserved evidence of the former 14 mills. In the 19th century, the artistic colony which set up on this bucolic site painted the village in new colours. Today, there are many art galleries perpetuating the bohemian spirit of times past.
A very free school
Seeking to save money and in quest of “exotic” subjects, the painters started coming to Pont-Aven in 1860. Gauguin, more daring than others (Bernard, Sérusier, Maufra, etc.), became the head of the founding group of the Pont-Aven School in 1886. The painters resided in Pension Gloanec and would take their easels to Bois d’Amour. There is a lovely trail where you can see the places that inspired them. In the town centre, the museum, surrounded with galleries, traces this creative period.