PLOUVIEN (Pop: 3,800)
Plouvien is the hometown of Olivier Le Gac, junior world champion in 2010, who currently rides for French team Groupama-FDJ. A professional since 2014, he took part in his first Tour de France in 2017.
LANARVILY (Pop: 430)
In the village is held every year since 1958 the Mingant cyclo-cros, whose circuit hosted five French championships and even a world championship in 1982, won by Roland Liboton. The 2017 French championship took place at Le Mingant and was won by Clement Venturini ahead of Arnold Jeannesson. It is still uncertain whether the 2018 edition will take place but it would be a shame to see such an event disappear.
LE FOLGOËT (Pop: 3,150)
The town is renowned mostly for its basilica. Its 14th and 15th century porch, in late Gothic style, is often singled out. But the boldness and elegance of the tower is also remarkable with its octagonal spire reaching 53 metres. The porch and the altar are both made of Kersanton stone, a local material. The porch of the Apostles, with its beautiful garlands, is decorated with statues of the 12 apostles to whom St Paul has been added. The basilica was built to celebrate a 14th century miracle.
LESNEVEN (Pop: 7,290)
The small town is remarkable for the beautiful townhouses from the 15th to the 18th century in the town centre. Among the celebrities born in Lesneven was crime novelist Auguste Le Breton, famous for his use of slang and whose novels were widely made into films like Jules Dassins’s Rififi, Razzia Sur la Shnouf, starring Jean Gabin, or The Sicilian Clan with Gabin and Alain Delon. A cycling lover, Le Breton befriended 1948 Olympic champion Jose Beyaert,, who lived an adventurous life in Colombia.
Museum of Leon
In the 18th century Ursulines convent, surrounded by a gorgeous park, the museum of Leon retained a magnificent cloister renovated in 2009. It displays a fascinating overview of the local history.
LA ROCHE-MAURICE (Pop: 1,880)
Château de la Roche-Maurice
Built in the 11th century by Morvan, viscount of Cornwall, the château de la Roche Maurice overlooks the river Elorn on a rugged rock protecting its position. In 1189, it became the residence of the viscounts of Leon. The castle came into the powerful Rohan family by marriage in the 14th century. Partly dismantled in 1489 on orders of King Charles VII, it was finally destroyed in the late 16th century during the Wars of Religion. It was later used as a quarry for the locals to build their houses. Listed as a historical monument in 1926, it was finally given by Josselin de Rohan to the Finistere department in 1987.
COMMANA (Pop: 1,040)
At the foot of the Aree hills, Commana is remarkable for its parish enclosure, typical of the region and by the covered alley of Mougau-Bihan. The disappearance and likely murder of Commana-born businessman Pierre Quemeneur was the start of the Seznec affair, one of France’s most famous criminal cases of the 20th century.
PLOUNEOUR-MENEZ (Pop: 1,250)
Founded in 1132, the Relec Abbey is one of five sites listed in the Finistere Chemins du Patrimoine (Heritage Paths). It is composed of a large Romanesque church, remains of a cloister, ponds and an alleyway lined with tall trees, a huge fountain and ancient gardens surrounded by moats. The church is listed as a historical monument.
HUELGOAT (Pop: 1,530)
Home to several Celtic legends, the forest of Huelgoat, known as the Breton Fontainebleau in its tourist craze of the 19th century, is especially renowned for its peculiar rocks: a cluster of rounded stones disposed in disarray which inspired many tales. The river Argent flows by and was thought to be the domain of the Huelgoat fairies. Located in the Armorica Nature Park, Huelgoat, which means high wood in Breton, inspired countless tales involving King Arthur, the Devil and the Virgin Mary. An old disused fort is known as the Camp of Artus but actually belonged to the Gaul tribe of the Osisms, who lived several centuries before Arthur.
CARHAIX-PLOUGUER (7 300 hab.)
The former capital of a Gaul tribe know as the Osisms, Carahix is now internationally famous as the home of one of Europe’s major music festivals, Les Vieilles Charrues. Started as a joke by a group of friends in 1992, Les Vieilles Charrues has become the largest festival in France in ticket sales with 222,000 tickets sold in 2017. Held for four years in mid-July, it bills every year some of the greatest musicians on the planet. Bob Dylan, James Brown, Neil Young, Iggy Pop, Charles Trenet, Bernard Lavilliers, Patti Smith, The Cure, Deep Purple, Bruce Springsteen, Jacques Dutronc, Muse, David Guetta and many more topped the bill of a festival run by 5,000 volunteers every summer. In 2011 Carhaix was the start of a Tour de France stage won by Mark Cavendish in Cap Frehel.
Bon Repos Abbey
On the banks of the Nantes to Brest canal, the Cistercian abbey of Bon-Repos, the historical necropolis of the Rohan family, is now the perfect place for a cultural, historical and relaxing halt. Founded in 1184 by Alan III of Rohan and Constance of Brittany, it went through periods of prosperity and crises definitely interrupted by the French Revolution. Decayed, the 18th century building was patiently restored by members of the Association of Bon-Repos companions, and is now one of the main monuments of Central Britanny. In 1988, the restoration was rewarded by a prize handed by the French Culture ministry. The abbey is now home to exhibitions, modern art works and several cultural events.
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