In north Finistère, between the ocean and the Bay of Morlaix ; between the rich coastal lands and the wild heights of the Monts d'Arrée, the Parish Enclosures or "Enclos" are an invitation to explore a remarkable heritage on either side of verdant valleys.
Along the roads bordered by picturesque countryside, churches, chapels, fountains, are so many calls to join the fervent hearts of the parishes which, through the centuries, rivalled in inventiveness to create and ornate the outdoor "museum" of rural Brittany.
The world of the "Enclos" shows the sensibility of the Breton people through multifaceted craftsmanship. In order to serve the parishes, many works full of symbols were made by artists out of wood, stone, glass and metal. On the vestris' demand, sculptors, painters, glaziers, goldsmiths, silversmiths and embroiderers worked together from the Gothic Age through the Renaissance to the Baroque Age.
Unique in Europe, they are today's testimony of the religious fervour, artistic talent and exceptional prosperity of bygone centuries. The Parish Close is an architectural grouping enclosing, within a stonewall, a church and its spire, an ossuary, a calvary, a churchyard and triumphal gate.
Visit The Parish Closes in English with your mobile phone. To download the application : www.zevisit.com Informations in Tourist Offices
The "discovery" tours :
The Landerneau area tour : 50 km, 8 stopovers. From the Logonna and Kersanton granite stone quarries to the Parish Closes, via Landerneau.
The Landivisiau area tour : 90 km, 10 stopovers. Combining the well-known Parish closes and those that would deserve to be known. You'll gaze at them in wonder !
The Morlaix area tour : 70 km, 8 stopovers. From the St Thégonnec Close to the old centre of Morlaix, via the old Cistercian Abbey of "Le Relecq".
16th Century. Built by artists from the nearby château of Kerjean in the new taste of the second French Renaissance. Antique triumphal arch, Breton openwork church tower Renaissance version. Very interesting furniture.
16th and 17th centuries. The size of the close is in the image of the great wealth linked yesteryear to the tanning and canvas industries. Don't miss: the 6 altarpieces, the pulpit, the organ,the baptistry and the sumptuous statuary.
16th and 17th centuries. Quite modest as regards proportions but sumptuous by its ornamentation and statuary. The exceptional quality of the church furnishings equals the colourfulness of the calvary with its 200 figures.
16th and 17th centuries. Sobriety, simplicity of the design and roughness of the materials give an austere power to this close where the church hosts the most spectacular polychrome wooden altarpiece in Brittany.
16th to 18th centuries. After the antic triumphal arch surmounted by a calvary, a striking combination of solemnity in the architectural design with unrestrained imagination in the Renaissance ornamental register.
17th century. Pretty "reduction" of the larger closes from which it borrows their architectural and ornamental styles. The inimitable charm of St Hervé's altarpiece adds to the overall enchantment.
17th and 18th centuries. Dominated by the presence of Yan’ Dargent, the church and the ossuary (remarkable Renaissance style door ) host surprising paintings and stained-glass windows by this local artist who made his career in Paris as a painter and illustrator in the 19th century.
16th to early 17th centuries. Wrapped in a Renaissance style finery of amazing profusion, the church is bustling with life mixing religious, mystical and secular inspiration as much in the stone of the porch as in the wood of the timber framework.