Brittany Summer Adventure - Part II
One might ask how, after our visits to Le Mans and Morlaix, we could imagine still more interesting places to visit in this region of Brittany. We had heard good things about Tréguier and set Evie's GPS to take us to Ground Zero, the Cathedral de St Tugdual. The existence of this fine cathedral in what is effectively a small town is due to the fact that Tréguier became a place of pilgrimage for two men; Saint Tugdual, a Welshman, and Saint Yves. We should note that Tréguier is no longer the seat of a bishop, the bishopric having been abolished in 1801 when it was divided between the diocese of Quimper and Saint-Brieuc. However, the church is still referred to as Tréguier Cathedral. It was in the 6th century that Anglo-Saxon invasions caused St.Tugdual to leave Wales and settle in
Brittany. Tugdual had been a pupil at the monastery of Llanwit Major, which was founded by Saint Iltud, but now with his mother and several fellow monks he braved the seas and settled in
Brittany at a point where the rivers Guidy, Jaudy, and their estuary joined. Eventually, around 532, they founded a monastery there which he called "Landreguer" (the monastery of three rivers). Around this monastery and the village of Minihy grew what was to eventually be the town of Tréguier, noted as one of the Tres Belle Villes in Brittany. Tugdual was made a bishop by the Breton King Childebert, and from the Landreguer monastery emerged a cathedral dedicated to Saint André. The Norman invasions of the 9th century saw Tréguier and the cathedral ravaged so much that the then bishop, Monseigneur Gorennan, fled and had Tugdual's body moved to Chartres. There was no bishop in residence for the next 90 years, but finally, the invaders were
forced out by Alan II, Duke of Brittany. The bishopric of Tréguier was created in 950 but the first bishops had to be content with a cathedral made from wood until around 970 Bishop Gratias encouraged the building of a new cathedral in the Romanesque style. All that is left of this building today is the north transept tower known as the "Hastings" tower named rather strangely after one of the leaders of the Norman invaders. Also, some of the internal columns or pillars remained intact. It was only in 1339 that the construction of the Gothic cathedral was started during the bishopric of Richard de Poirier. Work commenced with the West Porch but only two years later the War of Breton Succession forced further building to be halted.
Brittany was to be exhausted and ruined by this war, fought between the de Blois and de Monfort families. The former was assisted by the French and the latter by the English.
In 1345, the English invaded the area and used the cathedral as part of their garrison, destroying much of the building in the process save for the tomb of Saint Yves, which they left untouched. The Treaty of Guérande finally brought the fighting to a halt and this allowed the building work to be continued, firstly from 1363 to 1371 during the bishopric of Bishop Begaignon when the nave and side-aisles were completed as well as the "Porche du Peuple," the area of seating at the South end of the Cathedral reserved solely for Beleivers. During the bishopric of Bishop Morelli between 1385 and 1400. Morelli's coat of arms can be seen in the vaulting keystone of the second choir crossing. Around 1432, the south porch was further embellished
under Bishop Pierre Pédru and Bishop Jean de Ploeuc, who had frescoes and stained glass windows added to the cathedral, although the windows were removed during the revolution for safety. In 1420, Duke Jean V had a chapel created so that he could be buried alongside Saint-Yves, The end of the 15th century saw the building of the cloisters, 1515 saw the construction of the choir's flying buttresses, and in 1648 the stalls which dated back to 1509 were restored. Between 1785 and 1787,
a stone spire replaced the existing lead-covered spire, partly financed by a generous loan from Louis XVI. Bishop Augustin Le Mintier instigated this, and the plans and services of the civil engineer François Anfray were used. In 1793 the cathedral was sacked by a battalion of revolutionaries, but in 1801 after the Concordat, the agreement between Bonaparte and Pope Pius VII which was signed in Paris, it returned to being a place of worship. The cathedral was restored and Prosper Mérimée took an active part in the cathedral's restitution in his role as "Inspecteur Général des monuments historiques." In 1860 houses and shops around the cathedral were cleared to create space and allow the cathedral to be seen without obstruction, the cloisters were restored in 1910, and in 1946 the building was given the status of a "Basilique Mineure." On the day that we arrived, in the space that was created for the cathedral to be seen without obstruction was a Marché which filled the space between the parking lot and the entrance of the church. While Ted was enjoying exploring the marketplace, I was getting acquainted with a young couple who provided me with my second Australian shepherd sighting of the trip. Although he was a bit rough-coated, this tricolor was a handsome fellow and quite friendly.
I apologize for not being able to do this church justice with more photographs and interesting stories, but I will point out that it is amazing to think that so much of the building we now saw took place during the Hundred Year War! Our walk through this beautiful town filled with half-timbered houses lead us to a wonderful creperie which had been highly recommended, and as we were to discover, with good reason.
The Galettes, made with buckwheat and filled with savory delights, were a perfect match for the large cups of the homemade apple cider (alcoholic, of course) and were followed by delectable sweet wheat crepes, and coffee, of course. Ted was happy to be granted permission to visit the kitchen and to meet our chef. After lunch, we said goodbye to this lovely city and took a drive over
the river and through the woods to visit The Chateau de la Roche-Jagu. Looking out over a sharp bend in the river, the spot on which La Roche-Jagu stands had apparently been a prime look-out point, so it is no surprise that a motte-and-bailey castle was built there as early as the 11th century, which over time became a stone fortress. Destroyed in the 14th century, it was rebuilt by Catherine de Troguindy from 1405 with the blessing of the Duke of Brittany, John V.
We wandered in the park, strolled around the garden of medicinal plants, and soaked up the leafy deep green of the endless stands of Italian cypress. When we got to the headland, we feasted our eyes on the sweeping views over the region before heading toward the front of the Chateau. We spent some time inside learning about its structure and history, although we were somewhat disappointed that the castle had not been furnished, or in any way adorned as it had once been.
This "castle within a park, within a park" was not what we had expected, but as we discussed the setting surrounded by enormous hydrangeas on a pleasant terrace, with a much need cup of coffee, we were content to have discovered this serene environment, with surprisingly few tourists around.
We returned back to our hotel, satisfied, if tired, and decided to take supper in our room on the terrace, overlooking yet another beautiful sunset. The next day after breakfast I talked Ted into taking the ferry across the bay to the Isle of Batz. It was only a 20-minute ride to the island, but this island was so very different from Roscoff. The hills were abundant, and we had to climb to the very top which overlooked the ocean from our destination, the Jardin of Georges Dellaselles. Before our ascent, we fueled up on caffeine at a small café at the bottom of the hill, a kilometer from where we had disembarked from the boat. Climbing the hill was a challenge, yet there were dozens of well-kept houses to admire all along the way. Each one was made of natural stone and surrounded by outcroppings of flowers. Clearly, people lived here or at least vacationed here much of the year. When we arrived at the garden on top of the hill overlooking the ocean, it was
plain to see why people walked such great distances to see this botanical wonder. Even though we were at the end of some of the blooms and blossoms were few and far between, those that still lived formed a stunning framework for the glimpses of the ocean way below us. I have never gotten used
to the fact that going downhill, at least for my arthritic knees, is much more difficult than going uphill. But I was no worse for wear when we got to the bottom, except that we had quite a surprise awaiting us. The tide had gone out, and so where we had disembarked the boat it was as dry as bone!
This situation required a walk down a very long peer to the ocean to catch our boat back to the mainland of Roscoff. The same was true of our landing in Roscoff, which was at the tip of a very long peer ascending to the town. All and all when I checked my iPhone, we had walked 9 1/2 km that day. This was close to a record for us. We were both tired and hungry and treated ourselves to some wonderful seafood on a terrace with a panoramic view of the bay and the island we had just come from. The blue lobster was delicious as was Ted's crab and we enjoyed some local beer to go along with it. Back at the hotel, I thought this might be a good time to get that longed-for massage at the hotel's spa, if someone was available. I was pleased to find that the service there was on par with all else in the hotel. Ted enjoyed the time sitting on the terrace and reading and when I returned refreshed, I washed my hair and we fell into bed exhausted. The next day would bring yet another destination: Lacronan and its Cathedral St Ronan. That adventure will be the first for Part III and now that I think of it, there may even be a Part IV!