Abbaye de Landévennec was founded by one of Brittany's greatest saints, Guénolé. It is located on the Aulne where it enters the Bay of Brest. Now only ruins remain of the abbey which was founded in the 5th century. It has been attacked and destroyed many times, first by Vikings and finally ruined as a result of the French Revolution.
There is an interesting museum which displays artefacts found on the site as well as models of the abbey as it was in different periods of time. A new abbey was built further up the hill in 1958 and the re-installed Benedictine monks make pâtés de fruits (fruit jellies) which are on sale in the gift shop. It is also supposedly the last resting place of King Gradlon, the legendary 5th century king of Cornouaille. For most of our visit we had the site to ourselves which allowed us to soak up the peaceful atmostphere.
On the headland itself you can see the traces of an Iron Age fort. Looking to the left of the point you have a wonderful view of the Tas de Pois (pile of peas) rock formation which can be found at the end of the peninsular near Camaret. This time we had afternoon tea whilst watching the waves crashing at the foot of the vertiginous cliffs, undisturbed except for a couple of elderly walkers who wished us a cheery 'bonjour'.
We joined our friends for a drink at their "project" which consisted of a 3 storey house, a huge stone barn and an even bigger stable block set on 3 acres. They have just started work on the house and are camping in a bedroom which they are also using as a kitchen and living room with no electricity. They are hoping to open as a B&B next year and have a huge amount of work to do, most of which they are doing themselves whilst living in the UK until they sell their house. We will be watching their progress with interest, they are braver souls than us who took on a property that had already been renovated.
We wished them 'bonne chance' and took our leave with a quick stop in the lovely riverside town of Châteaulin which lies on a loop of the River Aulne. It is renown for its salmon fishing and offers a panorama of white and pastel coloured houses interspersed the hills of the Montagnes Noires forming a delightful backdrop.