On the road

Km 1

Plougastel-Daoulas (Pop: 13,500)

A peninsula nestled in the harbour of Brest between the two rivers Elorn and Aulne. Its motto is War Zouar Ha War Vor, a Breton phrase meaning "on land and on sea". Its Saint-Pierre church and its 17th century calvary.

Famous for its strawberries, undeniable emblems of the peninsula since the 18th century.  They owe their fame to Amédée-François Frézier, a naval officer who brought this fruit from South America. Known for its sweet taste and strong aroma, the heyday of the Plougastel strawberry was between 1920 and 1950. At that time, Plougastel-Daoulas was the second largest strawberry producing region in France (6,000 tons/year) after Metz. The microclimate created by the passage of the Gulf Stream and the siliceous soil have made this peninsula a great vintage for strawberry production.

Since 1995 the fruit has been honoured thanks to the Strawberry and Heritage Museum.

Km 10.6

Daoulas (Pop: 1,800)  

Daoulas Abbey
Founded: 12th century, by the regular canons of the Saint-Augustin order
Style: Romanesque
Characteristics: cloister with 44 pillars; monumental fountain Notre-Dame des Fontaines (1550)
Special feature: gardens dedicated to medicinal plants and organised in terraces  

Armorique Regional Nature Park 
Created in 1969, the Armorique Park in Finistère was the second regional nature park in France. Covering an area of 125,000 hectares, the park extends over 44 municipalities and 4 "gateway" towns: Brest, Carhaix, Châteauneuf-du-Faou and Landivisiau. It includes a wide variety of landscapes, environments and activities representative of the landscape, ecological, economic and cultural diversity of Finistère (islands of the Iroise Sea, Crozon peninsula, maritime Aulne and Arrée mountains). Emblematic species: salmon, grey seal, bottlenose dolphin, shearwater, harrier, otter, beaver, all bear witness to an incomparable wealth. The park has two international labels: the Unesco Biosphere Reserve of the Iroise Islands and Sea, labelled since 1988, and the Unesco World Geopark label, for which the park is bidding.  

Crozon peninsula
The site of the peninsula, wild and mysterious, gave rise to many legends. This peninsula is joined to the Black Mountains by the Ménezhom, an ancient extinct volcano (330 m) and is surrounded by the sea on three sides, to the north by the Bay of Brest, to the west by the Iroise Sea and to the south by the Bay of Douarnenez. It is entirely included in the Armorique regional nature park and the maritime areas surrounding it are partly included in the Iroise marine nature park, a national park created in 2007. The Lagatjar alignments, restored in 1928 and classified as historical monuments, are composed of three lines of menhirs over 200 m.

Km 22

Le Faou (Pop: 1,800)

Formerly an important port on the Brest roadstead, at the crossroads between Léon and Brest to the north, Cornouaille and Quimper to the south and the Crozon peninsula to the west. Le Faou is a port town and has been labelled a small town of character. It had its golden age in the 16th and 17th centuries when beech and oak wood from the nearby Cranon forest was shipped to the shipyards in Brest. The Craou forest, the largest in Finistère, is partly listed as a Natura 2000 site.

The village is also worth a visit for its 16th century corbelled houses (half-timbered houses).

Km 27

Rosnoën (Pop: 1,000)  

Térénez bridge
Spans the Aulne between Argol and Rosnoën on the departmental road 791. This bridge was built in place of a suspension bridge built in 1952, which in turn was built in place of a suspension bridge built in 1925. When it was inaugurated on 13 December 1925, it was the largest suspension bridge in Europe. The new version was built between 2007 and the end of 2010 and was inaugurated in April 2011. Designed by architect Charles Lavigne and engineer Michel Virlogeux, the bridge won the World Infrastructure Award in 2013 and the International Concrete Federation's prize for the most beautiful structure in 2014.

Km 56

Plonévez-Porzay (Pop: 1,760)

Lucien Teisseire, a Provençal and Breton by adoption, won Paris-Tours in 1944, the Critérium du Dauphiné in 1953 and four stages of the Tour de France between 1947 and 1954. He settled in the village where he died in 2007. He finished 6th in the Grande Boucle in 1948 and also finished second in Milan-San Remo in 1946, behind Fausto Coppi, and in Paris-Roubaix in 1945. After his career, he worked as a car mechanic in Pontivy and Châteaulin.  

Km 60.6

Locronan (Pop: 800)

Listed as a Historical Monument since 1924, Locronan is one of the most prestigious and most visited sites in Brittany, due to its architectural quality. Numerous art craftsmen have settled there. Situated on a mountain, in an exceptional natural setting 5 km from the sea, Locronan is also the starting point for many walking and mountain bike trails. A land of inspiration for artists, painters (such as Yves Tanguy, a native of the village), writers, sculptors or film-makers, the village has been awarded the label Plus beaux villages de France and Petite cité de caractère.

Locronan offers the particularitý of having alĺ of its electrical and telephone networks buried since the filming of Roman Polanski's Tess in 1979, which won the Oscar for best set in Hollywood. Many other films have been shot in Locronan, including Philippe de Borca's Chouans, Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Un long dimanche de fiançailles and many others... To preserve the authenticitý of the historic heart, there are no traffic lights and cars stay outside, while traditional signs indicate the shops.

The main monument of the village is the church of Saint-Ronan, built between 1430 and 1480 by the lords of Nevet. The church houses a superb 15th century stained-glass window depicting the scenes of the Passion in 18 panels. The Pénity chapel, built in 1530 by Renée de France, daughter of King Louis XII, houses the tomb of St Ronan.

Km 78.7

Quimper (Pop: 62,000)

Dominated by Mount Frugy, Quimper is the prefecture of Finistère and the traditional capital of Cornouaille, the Glazik region and the Cornouaille region. The motto of Quimper is in Breton Unanet e vimp kreñv: "United we will be strong. "Quimper (Kemper means confluence in Breton) was a crossroads of Roman roads. At the confluence of the Odet and its tributaries the Steir, the Frout and the Jet. In 1940, Quimper was considered for a day as the fallback capital of France. Later, 1960 was the year of the creation of the greater Quimper with its nine parishes. The communitý of agglomeration Quimper-Bretagne occidentale now has fourteen communes (since 1 January 2017).

Among Quimper's celebrities, the poet Max Jacob gave his name to a small metal bridge near the cathedral.

The Tour de France has stopped in Quimper six times, most recently in 2018 when Peter Sagan won. It is the birthplace of many sailors, including Jean Le Cam, Philippe Poupon, Roland Jourdain and Bertrand de Broc, as well as a number of racers, such as Laurent Pichon, winner of the French Cup in 2017, who took part in the Tour in 2017 and 2018 and now wears the colours of Arkéa-Samsic.

Quimper Earthenware
The faience adventure began in 1690 with the arrival of Jean-Baptiste Bousquet, who left Marseille to set up as a master pipe maker near the Locmaria priory. At the beginning of the 20th century, the two major earthenware factories facing each other were HB (Hubaudière-Bousquet) and Henriot. The participation of the two faience manufacturers in the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in 1925 was a success. The Museum of Faïence de Quimper (Quimper Earthenware Museum) offers a journey through the centuries: 500 pieces, some of which are unique, are on display.  

Saint-Corentin Cathedral
Foundation: 13th to 15th centuries
Styles: Radiant Gothic (choir) and Flamboyant (nave)
Characteristics: two spires rising to 75m, added during the restoration of the 1850s.
Particularity: the choir is not in line with the nave, probably in order to put the construction of the nave on a stable footing by moving it away from the course of the Odet.
Classification: Historical Monument since 1862

Km 108

Saint-Coulitz (Pop: 1,850)
Saint-Coulitz is the commune whose mayor from 1989 to 2001 was the Franco-Togolese Kofi Yamgnane. Elected Breton of the Year in 1990, Kofi Yamgnane was also a general councillor, deputy and Secretary of State for Social Affairs and Integration under the presidency of François Mitterrand between 1991 and 1993.

Km 112

Châteaulin (Pop: 5,200)

Charming sub-prefecture surrounded by the Monts d'Arrée and the Montagnes noires (Black mountains). The first village of Châteaulin was established in the 10th century, at the foot of a fortified castle built for the Counts of Cornouaille. Populated since prehistoric times, the area has developed over the centuries, notably through salmon fishing and slate mining.

Châteaulin has hosted the Tour de France three times and has seen the triumph of cycling legends such as Charly Gaul in 1958 and Raymond Poulidor in 1965. The town has also hosted the French championship on four occasions, crowning André Darrigade in 1955, Jean Stablinski in 1965 and Yvon Madiot in 1984. But Châteaulin is above all known to riders as the town that has hosted the Boucles de l'Aulne every year since 1931, the last winner of which was Alexis Gougeard in 2019. It is also the birthplace of Camille Danguillaume, winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 1949, who died tragically the following year at the age of 31 in a crash during the French championship in Montlhéry.

Km 124

Pleyben (Pop: 3,600)  

Church of Pleyben
Foundation: from 1530 to 1690.
Styles: Cornish Gothic, Renaissance.
Characteristic: a Renaissance tower crowned by a dome with lanterns that reaches a height of 47.5 m.
Special feature: the calvary in front of the church is the most massive in the whole of Brittany. It shows about 30 scenes from the life of Christ.
Classification: Historic monument since 1846.

Km 135

Brasparts (Pop: 1,024)  

The stone wedding
Megalithic alignment classified as a Historic Monument in 1968. Made up of 88 Armorican sandstone menhirs of very modest size (the largest is 1.80 m high). Legend has it that a peasant wedding party, possessed by the demon of the dance, refused to let the rector of Brasparts pass by when he was about to perform extreme unction on one of his dying parishioners. The priest and the altar boy who accompanied him had to walk across the moors and undergrowth to accomplish their mission. As for the revellers, they were punished for their bad attitude: at the last note of the last dance, they were turned into stone statues.  

Monts d'Arrée
The heart of "Breton Brittany" or Basse-Bretagne (Lower Brittany), it is a mountainous massif which separates the department of Finistère into two parts and whose highest peak, the Roc'h Ruz, reaches 385 metres high. The Monts d'Arrée include the communes of Berrien, Bolazec, Huelgoat, Locmaria-Berrien and Scrignac. The landscape is very similar to that of Ireland and Wales, with vegetation consisting mainly of moorland (shrubs, thickets).

Km 141.5

Montagne Saint-Michel

Culminates at a 381 m altitude. A summit of the Monts d'Arrée range, it is part of the Armorique Regional Nature Park. It dominates the Yeun Elez marsh basin. At its summit is the Saint-Michel chapel, built on an ancient temple dedicated to the worship of the sun in 1672. Destroyed during the Revolution, it was rebuilt in the 19th century (in 1821 and 1891). It was erected on top of the mountain because the Archangel Saint Michael is said to have slain the dragon, the symbol of evil. It is also said that it was the Archangel of St. Michael himself who came to help the workers carry their heavy loads up to the summit during the construction of the chapel. Next to the chapel is a concrete circle, the remains of a huge Bernhard radar used for the radio navigation of German aircraft during the Second World War.  

Km 158

Km 158: Hanvec (Pop: 2,000)

Birthplace of Christian Gourcuff, former player (Rennes, Guingamp and Lorient) and historical coach of Lorient, Rennes, Algeria and more recently FC Nantes.  

Domaine de Menez-Meur
Animal park in the Regional Natural Park of Armorique on nearly 650 hectares of moorland and heathland, peat bogs and hedgerows. Located in Hanvec, in the foothills of the Monts d'Arrée, the estate offers 16 km of signposted theme trails. To discover: Breton domestic breeds such as the Pie noir cows, Ouessant sheep, Western white pigs, but also the wild fauna present on the estate - wolves, deer and wild boars

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