Saturday, October 19, 2019

St Gildas

I have been around the Gulf of Morbihan on the trail of St Gildas. It's the first time of seeing the wonderful 11th century abbey church at St-Gildas-de-Rhuys since a large-scale restoration project. (You could say the original was a bit of a renovation job after the earliest abbey was destroyed by the Vikings in the early 10th century.) It certainly looks cleaner, positively glowing under the autumn sunshine.
Inside, the Romanesque apse and ambulatory are remarkable survivals, although the so-called tomb of the saint is just an unmarked lump of stone with a bland modern statue. The tombstones of Breton nobility around the walls of the nave are more substantial. This part of the church was restored after the bell-tower fell onto it in the mid 17th century.
From the coast just below the village there are views across to the islands of Houat and Hoedic. Gildas initially made landfall on Houat when arriving in Armorica, and returned there for his final years after running the new abbey on the mainland. After another day around Quiberon I was all set to get out there and see the valley setting of his former chapel, but some serious weather intervened and all boats were cancelled. Another trip then....