Source of mystery and fascination; discover those vestiges of bygone times. In Moëlan-sur-Mer, located in the south part of Quimperlé’s country, one can admire three ancient burial sites called gallery graves or dolmens.
The word dolmen comes from the Breton word “dol” meaning “table” and “men” meaning “stone”.
The gallery grave of Kermeur-Bihan
This building, sheltered by oaks, is still in very good condition and is one of largest of its kind with its sixteen metre length! This gallery grave was the object of archaeological excavation in 1882 when the archaeologist Paul de Châtellier discovered very important pieces of equipment such as polished axes, vases, tools made of flint and a bowl.
The gallery grave of Kérandrège / Kercordonner
This small eleven metre long gallery grave is worth a look at because of its original and unique setup, opposite the entry of this dolmen sits a three metre tall menhir.
According to the tradition, this dolmen was formerly the residence of a goblin selling oats.
The gallery grave of Kergoustance
This approximately seventeen metres long monument has an interesting characteristic; its funeral chamber is split into two parts. During its excavation in the 19th century, a Gallo-Roman ballot box was found testimony of a Roman presence.
According to legend, this dolmen was the residence of several goblins who invited the old people and the men who went to the mill to dance with them around the building.
In Scaër located in the north of the Country of Quimperlé, one can contemplate Saint-Jean’s menhir.
This menhir has an exceptional size; its eight metres in height make it the tallest of the Country of Quimperlé and tenth in the world! Its geographical isolation is somewhat intriguing but one can only assume it used to be part of larger unit now gone.
Chapels, fountains and matyrdoms
The religious heritage of Brittany is very much present in the country of Quimperlé. Here is a selection of some remarkable chapels.
Saint-Philibert's Chapel in Moëlan-sur-Mer
Discover this 16th century site with its blazing Gothic architecture. Located in the heart of Moëlan-sur-Mer, it used to be part of a whole unit, hence the presence of an old cemetery, a Calvary and a fountain, both classified historical monuments.
Sainte-Véronique's Chapel in Bannalec
Discover this vault hidden by trees. Once inside, admire its original mural frescos, dating from 12th the century as well as the 17th century wooden statue erected in honour of Saint Véronique.
Clarté's Chapel in Querrien
Formerly called Notre-Dame-au-milieu-des-bois (Our-Lady-in-the-middle-of-the-woods), it becomes Notre-Dame-de-la-Clarté (Our-Lady-of-the-Clarity) in the 17th century. At this point it undergoes various improvements: the addition of a nave, a chorus and a bell-tower. One can admire several old wooden statues effigies of various saints. Whilst the chapel is the main element of an architectural unit, other elements can be seen such as the cross of Clarté (the cross of Clarity), a bread oven and a fountain.
According to legend, the fountain of Clarté has beneficial properties and many pilgrims have been there to moisten or wash the eyes in the hope of improving or preserving their eyesight.
Coadry Chapel in Scaër
This vault located in Scaër, is classed as an historical monument and is a stopover on the « Route des Peintres ». (Road of the Painters). The architecture of this place is of particular interest due to its various styles. Thus, the Roman nave was built in the 11th century, then the Gothic chorus which was built in the 14th century and three centuries later, the western frontage.
Notre-de-Dame de la Paix’s Chapel in Clohars-Carnoët
Of Gothic style, it was initially located at Nizon (near Pont-Aven). After being abandoned and regularly looted, it was then transplanted over a 10 month period in 1956 to Le Pouldu, part of Clohars-Carnoët, which lacked a place of worship. The stain glass windows were put in place in 1958 and signed by contemporary artists like Manessier and Moal…
The calvary of Mellac
The sculpture of the cemetery Calvary is remarkable. Started in the middle of the 15th century and completed at the end of the 19th century, it represents various religious figures, including the Virgin, Saint -Jean (Saint John), Saint-Michel (Saint Michael) and Jesus Christ.
The legend of Coadry chapel
There was initially a Celtic temple in Coadry but when Father Ratien and Saint Candide arrived, the patron Saint of Scaër, the evangelization was so fast that the temple disappeared into oblivion. Later on, the Count of Trévalot was besieged by his rival, the Lord of Coatform. Having fewer men than his opponent, the Count quickly realised that the defeat was inevitable.
As he was very pious, he went to pray and in doing so promised God to build a chapel in the honour of Christ should he miraculously win the battle. Having triumphed over his enemy, the Count hastened to build the promised sanctuary but not knowing where to, the count hitched up two oxen to a cart.
It was decided that where the oxen would stop the vault would be built. The oxen walked up to the ruins of the old Celtic temple, now covered in brambles. The following day, workmen went to the spot to begin construction only to discover that the brambles that covered the ruins were no longer there and a splendid flowered garden stood in its place, the stones appeared lined up to form the foundations of the chapel and a water source had spouted out during the night.
The building work was swift but a bell-tower was missing. A giant then emerged from the woods and offered his help to build the bell-tower. It is common belief that his grave is indicated by two Celtic crosses, 25 metres apart, one levelled with his head and the other with his feet which suggests that he was some 25 m in height.
Once the building construction was completed, the Count having realized that the water source had great therapeutic properties, he spread the word and built many country inns to accommodate the pilgrims. Unfortunately, soon afterwards the area faced a food shortage and the sheer number of pilgrims was held responsible.
To overcome this problem, the people decided to burn the chapel to be rid of all the pilgrims and the smoke of the fire is said to have dispersed many stones in the shape of cross throughout the land, according to the legend.
Another version tells of an enormous thunderstorm and a rain of stones carrying crosses. Whatever the version of the legend, the rain of stones is there to remind us that Coadry chapel was in Christ’s honour. These stones then became talismans to protect one against all kinds of events. Nowadays these strange stones of Coadry still fascinate and are still the object of superstitions.