Abbaye de Saint- Maurice

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The ruined Abbaye de St Maurice is south of Quimperle just off the D224 Clohars Carnoët to St Guidel Road. The ruins are on the edge of the Fôret de Carnöet by the tidal river Laita.

There is little information about the Abbey on the web and it is ignored by most of the guide books. It is off the usual tourist trail and receives few visitors. There is a large car park surrounded by woodland. It is a 10-15 minute walk along the side of the river and across a dam to the abbey buildings. The track continues further into the woodland which is popular with walkers.

The ticket office and small shop are in a building which had been the orangery.

We were given an audiotour in English which was excellent and we learnt a lot – especially as there isn’t a lot to see on the ground.

The area outside the orangery had been the vegetable garden and the grass has been mown to show where the paths would have been, leaving longer grass where the flower beds were.

The 17thC Abbey Farm has been restored and is typical of Breton Manor houses. It has an audiovisual about the abbey and exhibitions about the abbey restoration and buildings. There are two live webcams showing a colony of bats in the roof.

Beyond the farm is the main entrance to the Abbey with a tithe barn beside it. Peasant farmers had to give every 33rd sheaf of grain to the Abbey. The roof was thatched and irises were planted along the ridge to protect the thatch from rain.

Only the highly decorated facade of the church is left and a few walls and bumps in the ground. Steps lead down into what would have been the cloisters. There is nothing left of these except the well and the 13thC Chapter house with the Charter room (Library) on the left. This was built of stone and had a fire resistant door.

There are the remains of a 19thC building which had been workshops.

In the 19thC stones from the abbey had been used to build a chåteau which had included the chapter house. This had been used by the Germans and was pulled down after the war. All that is left is a low wall of stones. The 19thC wrought iron gateway to the chateau remains.

This was an interesting visit and well worth while. We were glad we visited. The Abbey is in a lovely setting and there look to be good walks in the surrounding woodlands.

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