© Yannick Derennes

The town of Poullan‑sur‑Mer

Sitting between the countryside and the coast, this small town includes part of the GR34 coastal path, offering a fantastic panoramic view of Douarnenez Bay. There are other walking and cycling circuits inland, ideal for fans of hiking or mountain-biking, and they lead you to some astonishing megalithic monuments: standing stones and the great stone table of Lesaff, or the gallery grave at Lesconil.

A bit of history…

The number of Neolithic remains here shows that the region has been occupied by humans since the earliest times. The gallery grave of Lesconil (known as Ty ar C’horriquet), the great stone table of Lesaff and several standing stones are traces from this period. There were also salting vats and villas from Roman times, but these remains have since disappeared.

The early evangelisation of this area and the existence of a hermitage probably gave rise to its name, which originates from Ploelan, Polan or Poullan, meaning ‘the parish of the hermitage’. Many buildings demonstrate the faith of our ancestors here, from chapels and churches to stone cross monuments and fountains, which can be found throughout the local area.

Wealthy and noble families built fine homes here, as is clear from the number of manor houses. At the time of the French Revolution, there was an order to create a new structure of parishes, so Tréboul became a parish branch that was distinct from that of Poullan, although this order was not enforced.  During the reform of civil administration, Poullan’s Town Hall was even built in Tréboul. The locals living in the countryside were not at all happy with the reform, as they felt overlooked by the authorities and believed that they were victims of the dual character of their geography, being both maritime and rural. After years of going to and fro, the two villages of Poullan and Tréboul were officially separated on the 18th July 1880.

Go and explore… The chapels of Saint-They and Notre Dame de Kerinec, surrounded by greenery.

 

Notre-Dame de Kérinec Chapel

In the middle of the Poullan countryside, this large chapel was built on an ancient site of Pagan worship. It has an unusual structure: a flat apse, a transept that doesn’t protrude very far, and a symmetry between the choir and the nave. The architectural style is that of Pont-Croix (the small market town nearby, known for its sacred architecture). Its basic construction dates back to the 1200s, which explains its elevated columns with sculpted tops and the Roman-style, semi-circular arch.

 

Pilgrimage of the Sick
A hospice was built nearby, and this was the destination for the ‘pèlerinage des malades’ (the Pilgrimage of the Sick).

 

A stone cross, a preacher’s pulpit

On the pulpit of the stone cross, you can see a humorous figure: a bearded character who is blocking his ears!

 

Christ and Saint-Anne

This Christ on the cross, in multi-coloured wood, has been classed as an Historic Monument. Saint-Anne, the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus are brought together in this colourful sculpture.

Saint-They Chapel

Nestling in the shelter of surrounding trees, this chapel is revealed at the end of a lane, in the slope of a valley. Built in 1766, it is a small chapel where the sailors’ wives of Tréboul would come to pray. Its structure is in the shape of a cross, with an apse that has angled corners and no windows. There is a domed bell-tower, topped with a smooth, rounded pinnacle, crowning the gable end to the west. Certain elements – such as the bottoms of the pillars in the west entrance – have been reused, and would have come from an earlier building dating back to the 1400s or early 1500s.

Outside, you can find a stone cross monument engraved with the date 1577, the Virgin with clasped hands to the west, and the crucifix to the east. The fountain lower down dates from 1989. Saint-They was a disciple of Saint-Guénolé and a monk of Landévennec in the 4th century AD. He came to spread the Word of God to Poullan-sur-Mer and its surrounding areas.

 

Additional:

– terraced altar-tomb and tabernacle (from the 1700s).

– the statues would once have been in Kerinec Chapel.

A bell, cast in Quimper in 1789 and made for this chapel, can now be found in the bell-tower of Alith in Scotland. In the churchyard, you can also see a stone cross erected in 1577 and further down in the valley, a fountain built in 1989.

 

Saint-Cadoan Church

This structure consists of a 4-span nave with side aisles, crossed by a transept that holds two chapels. It continues with two bays lined with side-aisles. The church as a whole dates from the 1600s and 1700s, although you can see certain elements from the very late 1400s or early 1500s that have been reused and incorporated.

The western façade has a porch topped with an arched pediment and final scroll, which is a classic decorative feature from the mid-1600s. You can also see the changes of style that affect the buttresses of this façade: the older-style buttresses are rounded off by a lantern and dome, decorated with draped folds and a cross.

Visitors can also see two bas-reliefs representing ships, one outside on the western façade, the other inside to the right of the porch, dated 1628. These remind us of the parish’s maritime activity, through Tréboul’s old port, which on some old maps is named ‘Port de Polan’. This chapel is officially listed as an historic monument.

 

Additional:

– altars and church stalls in the Neo-Gothic style of the late 1800s.

– pulpit from the 1700s.

– statues of Christ and Saint Yves in multi-coloured wood, and a stone statue of Saint Cadoan, Patron Saint of the parish.

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