Old Abbey of St Guenole

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Landevennec is a sprawling settlement tucked away in the far north eastern corner of the Crozon Peninsula with views over the Aulne estuary. It is well away from all the other tourist attractions. You have to want to come here. Tourists come to visit the ruins of the old abbey.

Pictures of the ruins on the web looked attractive, so we decided to do start with Landevennoc and then drive anticlockwise round the rest of the peninsula.

Signing in Landevennec is very poor. We found the new Benedictine Abbey built in 1958, and we ended up down by the river. It took us three attempts to find the ruins of the old abbey. There are a few brown signs but they are so small they are easily missed. The ruins are down a side road. There was no obvious parking so we parked beside a cafe that looked very shut up.

We got to the ticket office just before a coach tour, although the guide did say he would take his lot into the museum first so we could enjoy the abbey in peace. The curator wouldn’t let us use a credit card and he didn’t know how to use the till and it took several goes to sort it out. Each time the total owing was going up and up. We began to wonder whether it was worth it.

It wasn’t. The site is disappointing and in fact most of the remains of the church can be seen through the railings without paying. This is in fact the view in all the pictures. The church has the remains of the cloisters to one side with the chapter house beyond. The remains of the 9thC foundations at the east end are visible, with a rounded apse with the altar and a larger apse with 3 niches for altars beyond. The nave pillars stand about 2’ high.

The ruins of the monastery buildings are difficult to interpret and there were few signs to help.

We took our pictures, used the toilets in the museum building but didn’t bother with the exhibits in there or seeing the town.

We were pleased we had done this first. We would have been very miffed if we had had to cut short time later in the day to get here before it closed. Visit if you are in the immediate area and have the time, but don’t go out of your way.

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