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Unusual parish churchyards

parish churchyards

One of the unique characteristics of Finistère is its collection of unusual and elaborate parish churchyards known as ‘enclos paroissiaux’.

Détail enclos

These Parish Churchyards usually comprise the church itself, a boundary wall, a monumental entrance or triumphal arch, a stone cross monument and an ossuary (bone house).

The vast majority of Brittany’s ‘Enclos Paroissiaux’ can be found in north and central Finistère.

They began to appear in the 16th century in Brittany’s ‘Golden Age’. At this time, the region was extremely prosperous thanks to the maritime trade and the export of hemp and linen, notably the sailcloths that were exported throughout Europe. It was from this wealthy period that the most flamboyant churchyards were built, right through to the 17th century.

Reminders of a real artistic tradition linked to religious fervour, the parish churchyards represents the history and culture of the locals. The churchyard was a religious symbol but also has a social function because it was there that the locals could get advice from elected people (the future local council).

The villages competed to build the most beautiful churchyard and therefore employed numerous artists and craftmen: architects, sculptors, glass-makers, painters, cabinetmakers...

To find out more about those who ordered and made the statues and altars, you just have to observe...

The circuit of Parish Churchyards

The ‘Circuits des Enclos Paroissiaux’ allow visitors to follow a trail that encompasses most of the special churchyards in Finistère. Three circuits have been created, between the Brest estuary, the Arrée Mountains and Morlaix Bay.

  • The Landerneau Circuit: 55 km. This route winds its way through the Elorn Valley where the grey Kersanton stone marries up with the yellow stones of Logonna. (Audioguide)
  • The Landivisiau Circuit: 90 km. This route stretches out along the north-south route of the Arrée Mountains at the heart of the area known as Léon. (Audioguide)
  • The Morlaix Circuit: 70 km. This route will take you as far as Plougonven, where you’ll find one of the largest and oldest stone monuments in Brittany. (Audioguide)
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29190 Lannédern - T. 02 98 26 60 25

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29190 Pleyben - T. 02 98 26 60 25

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29440 Plouzévédé - T. 02 98 68 33 33

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29410 Saint-Thégonnec Loc-Eguiner - T. 02 98 79 67 80

Churchyards of special architectural interest In Brittany, our religious monuments are unlike any others in the world. They remind us of the religious fervour in times gone by. Saint-Thégonnec, Plouné...

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29400 Loc-Eguiner - T. 02 98 62 14 94

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29180 Locronan - T. 02 98 91 70 14

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29410 Pleyber-Christ - T. 02 98 62 14 94

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29190 Brasparts - T. 02 98 26 60 25

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29400 Saint-Servais - T. 02 98 68 33 33

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29400 Locmélar - T. 02 98 68 33 33

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29450 Sizun - T. 02 98 68 33 33

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29630 Saint-Jean-du-Doigt - T. 02 98 67 34 07

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29800 La Roche-Maurice - T. 02 98 20 43 57

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29640 Plougonven - T. 02 98 62 14 94

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29470 Plougastel-Daoulas - T. 02 98 40 34 98

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29800 Tréflévénez - T. 02 98 25 17 09

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29400 Guimiliau - T. 02 98 68 33 33

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29450 Commana - T. 02 98 68 33 33

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29270 Saint-Hernin - T. 02 98 26 60 25

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29270 Cléden-Poher - T. 02 98 93 04 42

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29400 Bodilis - T. 02 98 68 33 33

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29400 Lampaul-Guimiliau - T. 02 98 68 33 33

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29410 Plounéour-Ménez - T. 02 98 79 67 80

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