Saturday, June 2, 2012

Concarneau, Trévarez, Pleyben

We did 3.5 things today: one old town (with museum), one château, and one more parish enclosure. (And Marian says there is one more yet to see.)

Concarneau is a seaport and fishing port that has one asset precious in the modern world: an unspoiled, medieval walled island. Here's the general layout, as seen in a beautifully detailed model of the city as it was in 1967.

The walled, fortified old town looks like this from the shore.

Click to open 6-megapixel panorama.

Inside it is pretty much all given over to tourist commerce: food, gifts, souvenirs. We decided it was as if you'd squashed Mont St.-Michel down flat to eliminate those annoying stairs.

Looks like Bill Pawek there on the left.

There is also a cute little ferry boat that runs "the world's shortest sea voyage," a two-minute ride to the opposite shore.

The old town is also home to the Musée de la Pêche telling all you want to know about fishing across history and around the world. Like almost every French museum we've been in, it is well-organized and well-displayed. The greatest asset of this one is the many exquisitely detailed models it uses to explain things without words. (The model of the old town above is one of them.)

Finely-detailed model of early herring fishery.

It has other artifacts as well.

One serious sewing machine (for making sails).

And it had a former herring boat one could go aboard.

Hemerica, built in the 1950s.

We boarded it, to convince ourselves yet again that the life of a commercial fisherman sucks. (And we don't even watch "Deadliest Catch".)

David inspects the engine room.

Next stop, Château de Trévarez. Here's the Château itself. It's imposing, but ugly.

It's Victorian. The Victorians did ugly better than anybody.

That said, nobody goes for the building. They go to walk in its huge old gardens full of rhododendrons (just past their peak), azaleas, hydrangeas etc. We walked the 2km recommended circuit, pausing often.

Marian wore a color-matching sweater today

David surveys the forest of purple rhodies, some a century old.

OK, up next, the town of Pleyben and its parish enclosure St.-Germain. It has two spires, a huge (and, one would think, quite sufficiently impressive) Romanesque one and then, because you were nothing in the 16C if you didn't have a Gothic spire, it has a Gothic one too. And a small ossuary and a huge calvary.

Inside it had some impressive 16C stained glass,

And a barrel-vaulted ceiling painted blue with a complex intersection,

click through and look in the exact center

But the oddest thing about this place, and not mentioned in any guidebook, is the hundreds of small painted wooden figures that are all across the ceiling and along the edges of the ceiling. They are quite bizarre. Here is the one from the very center of the crossway, it's four angels(?) blowing trumpets.

Click through on this one: wait, is that blood trickling down, or a restoration error? And what's the nine-lobed thing they're standing on?

That's one of the more rational ones. Here's the center of a cross-beam.

The longer you try to figure it out, the odder it gets

Once we noticed those we started looking and the whole place has these, all unique. Here are three chosen more or less at random.

The girl with the lute? Ok! But what's the guy in green doing, and where are his legs?

It would be a fascinating project to properly photograph and index this place. But alas, or maybe not alas, we got to keep moving. A week from now we'll have turned in the car and be packing to depart!

1 comment:

  1. I'm guessing that the guy in green is kneeling, presenting what looks to me like a Torah, maybe, or some similar religious book. The 9-part thing looks like feet for the angels but they needed to add another "petal" because, really, 9 (3x3) is a more holy number than 8. The Trinity times three and all that. Just guessing here. But I'm quite sure a good Biblical scholar could ID all of these. Although that one with the hiked up skirts - dunno about that!