© Eva Cléret
Pont‑l'Abbé The capital of Pays Bigouden

Pont‑l'Abbé

Nestled at the bottom of the estuary, Pont-l’Abbé, with the “Little Town of Character” label, was described by Maupassant as “the most Breton town” of Lower Brittany. The castle, the inhabited bridge that gave the town its name, the shipowners’ and merchants’ residences evoke its proud history. It was in this land of legends that the famous headdress gained its height, honouring the skill of the embroiderers.

The capital of Pays Bigouden

Monuments with the traces of a turbulent past

As soon as you’ve crossed the bridge, the castle is reflected in the pond. The keep and the cellars of the 14th-century medieval fortress still remain. The main part was rebuilt in the 18th century after it was burnt down by the Bonnets Rouges. Their uprising against new taxes caused retaliation: the steeple of Lambour church was decapitated by order of the Sun King in 1675. It’s worth visiting the ruined building to see its flamboyant façade.

An imposing Gothic church

From the quays, built with stones taken from the former walls, little streets will take you to the Gothic church of Notre-Dame des Carmes. It’s the only vestige of a convent founded in the 14th century. In the chapel, which is typical of architecture of the Mendicant order, you can admire the 19th-century stained-glass windows. The glass in the rose window, which is the original glass, is set in granite lacework.

A trading hub

The streets and squares are lined with hotels constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries by the local aristocracy. But the majority of the fine residences were built in the 19th century by a bourgeoisie established in trade, notably the potato trade. This trading tradition still animates the market on Thursdays, which is the biggest in Cornouaille, and the numerous boutiques that line the little streets.

Did you know?

The bridge is still inhabited

France has nine inhabited bridges. The one in Pont-l’Abbé has apartments, a biscuit shop and Le Minor, a company that makes the kabig jacket and table linen.

Unmissable places

  • Château des Barons du Pont (13th and 14th centuries)
  • Musée Bigouden (in the castle keep)
  • The port and the inhabited bridge
  • Lambour Church (13th and 16th centuries)
  • The Monument aux Bigoudens (monument in granite and bronze by François Bazin – national prize in 1929)
  • Notre Dame des Carmes church (14th century – remarkable 15th-century rose window)
  • Saint Laurent woods, outdoor theatre
  • The towpath circuit – 4 to 7 km

Guided tours

  • Interpretive circuit

Information & bookings

Pays de Pont-l’Abbé Tourist Office


Official website of tourism in Brittany
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