The churchyard of Pleyben

Images en cours de chargement
The churchyard of Pleyben|Photo Yann GwilhoùThe arc de triomphe or "triumphal gateway"|The ossuary (16th century)|Photo Henri MoreauThe Saint-Germain Church|Calvary (detail)|Photo BergejeThe chapel of the Trinity|Photo Henri Moreau

One of the most beautiful parish enclosures

Masterpiece of religious art, the churchyard of Pleyben is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful and one of the most complete of Brittany: Church, monumental Calvary, ossuary, triumphal arch. It flows very far to attend the famous forgiveness every first Sunday of the month of August.

The construction date of the 16th and 17th centuries. It was completed in the 17th century by the addition of the sacristy and the building of the so-called monumental gate "gate of death". The wall that encircles the entire a symbolic separation of the world of the living from the dead.

Brief summary of history

Pleyben certainly has a monastic origin, indeed several localities and villages evoke relations with the monks. Similarly the Templars would have played a role to Pleyben, the village of Ilisven (white Church) would be a former chaplain. Pleyben was formed between the 5th and the 7th century in a primitive parish, it was one of the largest parishes in the diocese of Quimper.

Pleyben was formerly divided into nine hamlets including the one around the chapel of Lannelec, called Trefnescop (area of the Bishop). There were there originally a dependent Priory of Landévennec. In the 16th century, the seigneury of QAYYUM includes vast woods, a water mill, a Dovecote, a chapel and an orchard enclosed by walls.

The Julien Maunoir preacher preached Missions to Pleyben in 1665 and in 1676. Died in 1683, a few years later miracles are attributed to Pleyben.

The construction of the canal de Nantes à Brest (1806 – 1833) has facilitated the export of Slate by barges. There are 19 quarrying of slate in the four communes of Pleyben, Lothey, Gouézec and Lennon. But the decline occurs even before the end of the 19th century.

The Saint-Germain Church

The splendid church of Saint-Germain is a remarkable both by its extent by the style of its architecture, a singular blend of Gothic and Renaissance style. This contrast allows to compare in a same monument, two kinds of architecture very opposed and yet therein assembled.

The building is dominated by two bell towers, of which the most remarkable is the right one. It is a tower crowned by a dome to back up beacon lights Renaissance. Inside, the nave la nef presents a panelled vault of the 16th century and a remarkable sand carved and painted mythological subjects or sacred including 62 characters. There are also many polychrome statues. The Church also houses a pipe organ by Thomas Dallam dating from 1688.

The ossuary

The ossuary is the oldest of the Finistère as independent building of the Church. Dated from the 16th century, it is one of the most remarkable, and one whose Gothic architecture is the most refined and most flamboyant. He long served as a Funeral Chapel and is filed as the bones of the dead. Then it served as a school and post office. In 1850, conscripts were selected at random and the doctors there took their immunization sessions. Currently it houses a Museum and houses a statue of the Virgin Mary breastfeeding from the 16th century among others.


Calvary built in 1555 and moved in 1738 is part of three important sacred mounts in the Finistère with Notre Dame de Tronoën Saint Guénolé and newest guimiliau. He takes tunes of triumphal arch with its four large batteries supporting an inner arch, under which one enters by four side arches. One can admire about thirty of scenes from the life of Christ, sculpted in stone of Kersanton and stage on two levels.

The arc de triomphe

The arc de triomphe or "triumphal gateway" is a monumental gate dated 1725 and nicknamed "door of death" because it complements the wall of the enclosure surrounding the cemetery. It separated the world of the dead in the world of the living. On the face, one can admire a Virgin of pity or framed Pieta by two angels.

The chapels

The municipality of Pleyben has six chapels on its territory. They are all a part of the history and beliefs of a population still very attached to its places of worship. Discover a rich statuary and the marks of the past, like the coats of arms, the Crusades, a shipwreck that we discover in the stained glass windows.

Every year, the chapels welcome the faithful during traditional forgiveness, whose strong points are the religious office, the procession with cross and banners followed by secular party with its Breton games, animations, its gourmet tastings. All in a good atmosphere child.

Useful information :

Address :
29190 Pleyben

Good to know :
Office of tourism of Pleyben 11 place Charles de Gaulle, Pleyben 29190, Tel. + 33 (0) 2 98 26 71 05

Free of charge.

Where to stay:

All accommodation