The Paimpont Abbey

An architectural jewel IN THE MIDDLE of the forest

At first a simple priory founded in the seventh century, the abbey is now one of the most impressive religious buildings in the Brocéliande country…

Abbaye Paimpont @Emmanuel Berthier - 2000

A unique historical site in Brocéliande

Come and explore this site where power and faith once intertwined. In the seventh century, Saint Judicaël and Saint Méen initiated the construction of a priory dedicated to Notre Dame. Of this priory, nothing remains today. The construction of the buildings that can be admired today when walking around the lake began in the thirteenth century. Canons settled in the abbey and its influence grew: this is where justice was served and economic activities and trade fairs took place, the abbey ruled over Paimpont! But throughout the centuries, a lot has changed in the abbey…

An architectural journey through time

Built and enlarged over centuries, the abbey takes you on a journey through time! The rose window, the church portal, the wooden vaults… they all reflect the harmonious gothic style, typical of the thirteenth century. And what of the carved panelling, the transepts and the chancel, built in the most classical style? Prepare to be amazed!

Wood in the abbey

The greatest asset of the Brocéliande forest is without a doubt its trees, and the abbey testifies to that… From the abbeys timber work and statues to pulpits and altarpieces, wood is everywhere. Its presence shines a light on the abbeys past: from the twelfth to the eighteenth century, the Paimpont Abbot had the right to select from the forest all the wood necessary for the construction or decoration of the abbey… Dont be surprised when you enter the premises: from the chestnut timber work to carved oak panelling, wood is what makes the abbey so special…

The abbey’s treasure

Take the opportunity to come and admire the abbeys wonderful treasure… Dear to the heart of the inhabitants of Paimpont (the Paimpontais), it boasts many objects dating from as far back as the fifteenth all the way to the twentieth century. And the most admired object is without a doubt Saint Judicaëls reliquary. Some even say it contains his radius…

The nave and chancel of the abbatial church

Built in the thirteenth century in the gothic style, the nave is impressive with its tall stone walls, its vault in the shape of a reversed hull and its wooden carved pulpit. It was previously split into two parts: one reserved for the monks, the other for parish activities. Under one of the arcades, the statue of Notre-Dame-de-Paimpont: crafted from polychrome-painted wood in the fifteenth century, it used to be a pilgrimage site especially around the Pentecost. Walking through the church, you will reach the chancel and its magnificent high altar, topped with a canopy and a majestic crown. Stained-glass windows illustrating the life of Saint Judicaël adorn the chancel’s walls.

The transept

In the right transept, you will find the Retable du Rosaire. The central picture represents the Virgin Mary giving the rosary to Saint Dominic and Saint Catherine of Siena. The left transept harbours the Retable de Saint-Jean-Baptiste. The statue and central picture dating back to the nineteenth century represent Saint John the Baptist.

The Saints’ Statues

Saint Monica is the mother of Saint Augustine. A widow, she dedicated her life to her son and to leading him away from the wrong path he so seemed to enjoy. Her efforts were rewarded. Her life is mostly known through the Confessions of Saint Augustine. These two statues remind us that the church was occupied for six centuries by the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine.

The last two statues represent Saint Méen and Saint Judicaël. Méen was a Breton monk from Wales. He went to the kingdom of Dumnonia in the sixth century, which was then governed by Saint Judicaël. In Paimpont, Saint Judicaël built the Paimpont abbey while Saint Méen founded the Abbey of Saint Méen.

The Blessed Sacrament chapel and the Abbey's treasure

A small door in the left transept leads to the Blessed Sacrament chapel. Built in the seventeenth century, it is dedicated to contemplation and prayer. Once you reach the sacristy, you will be able to admire the main pieces of the Abbey’s treasure: an ivory Christ from the seventeenth century, a statue from the fifteenth century and a fifteenth-century reliquary said to hold a radius of Saint Judicaël himself….

A few pictures

The pond and abbey of Paimpont - Ille et Vilaine - Crédit : Emmanuel Berthier The abbey of Paimpont - Ille et Vilaine, France A date with the Moon - Paimpont Abbey The pond and abbey of Paimpont at dawn- Ille et Vilaine - Crédit : Emmanuel Berthier Pond of Paimpont Abbey, Broceliande, Bretagne, France

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