Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Paimpol Market, Kermaria, and other things

Paimpol Market

Today was market day in Paimpol so we started the day going around the market. Town market days are pretty much alike from place to place but this was a fairly large one and busy. A French town market has only a distant resemblance to a U.S. "Farmer's Market". There are vegetable, fruit, and cheese sellers, true; but these vendors are more professional about their marketing. They probably aren't grower-vendors on a weekly outing but full-time retailers. Whatever, they get beautiful stuff and display it perfectly. The meat sellers and cheese sellers have elaborate trucks that open up with glass-fronted display counters.

Here on the coast, there is a whole street of fish vendors.

Market runs 8-noon and it's pretty intense during those hours.

Artichokes are a specialty of Brittany and these were beautiful—but 7 Euros each?

Then, around the core of food stalls there is a whole suburb of truck-borne sellers of cheap clothing, hardware, DVDs, baskets, trinkets, dishes, you name it. Couple square blocks of them, they set up at 7 and are gone by 2pm.

We did laundry during the market as well. Then we took a short run up to the top of this peninsula. Tomorrow morning we plan to go across to an island, and David wanted to see what the parking arrangements were and to check out where and how you got tickets etc. So we did that, and bought ferry tickets ahead, and had lunch (cheese, sausage and fruit from the market, of course) looking over this mess of rocky islets.

Cue the sailboat please, to complete the pretty picture.

We kept trying to relate it to the San Juans in our minds. And it is similar, provided that by "similar" you mean "different in every possible way except the water and the seagulls."

Kermaria an Esquit

The 15th Century chapel in the tiny locale of Kermaria an Esquit (not even a village, just a designated road junction) is sort of famous because it contains a 15th century fresco Danse Macabre showing Death leading various typical living persons to his domain.

Exterior view of chapel

We tried for this yesterday and it didn't seem to be open. But at the tourist office in Paimpol they said, there should be a person living nearby who can open it up. So we went back and there was no sign, no indication of a caretaker or anything. Not having the nerve to just knock on a random neighboring door and try to explain in Franglish what we wanted, we got in the car and left. But Marian said, "Wait, drive back through, I want to look for a sign further down the road." And as we did, whaddaya know, there were some people being shown into the chapel! So we quickly parked and just joined the group as if we were supposed to.

Interior has a barrel-vaulted ceiling.

The figures date to the 1400s and are pretty faded. Here is one small segment. David intends to assemble a longer segment from multiple exposures but hasn't time before we go out for supper. If you want to know more about it here is the French Wikipedia entry, stick it into google translate for a pretty clear explanation. Update: as promised click the following to see a wide scrollable display of most of the figures from the South side of the chapel.

The porch has what are apparently 15th century apostle figures with their colors quite well preserved, as well.

Eleven of twelve apostles are still here in amazingly good shape for their age.

Paimpol Harbor

We came the 12Km back to Paimpol and stopped by the harbor. We visited the local Maritime museum which is small but newish and nicely organized. The permanent exhibits mostly relate to the fishing industry of Paimpol in the days of sail, but the temporary exhibit was works by France's official Marine Painters. Apparently a jury chooses one artist for this honor annually. These are all modern, living artists who work in a variety of media and styles, and we liked a lot of what we saw. Probably most impressive was the sculpture of Jean Lemonnier. Really beautiful things, and some funky/funny things as well.

Then we mooched around the harbor a bit, checking out restaurants.

Perky fishing boat, harbor surroundings.

Turns out the tides here are just as extreme as around the corner at Cancale (duh!). But the inner harbor full of sailboats is always full. Of course, there's a lock.

Sailboat never sits on the mud, but, you can only leave twice a day.

Right, 7pm, time to go out for some supper.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! artichokes ....so expensive. I have had a wonderful crop in the backyard this year, perhaps 2 doz on one plant.
    I am enjoying your trip!