The monumental calvaries of Brittany are extraordinary granite sculptures, whose carved figures depict scenes from Christ’s life. They are traditional elements of the Brittany landscape. Clustered in the west of Brittany, most represent the crucifixion.
During a period of peace and prosperity for Brittany, small rural towns built their elaborate calvaries in their churchyards. The money came from the maritime trade, particularly in hemp and flax. Many Breton communities produced these crops as their mainstay.
A distinctive element of these substantial parish churches is their setting within an enclosed area called closes. Within their exterior walls, they often feature:
- a triumphal arch,
- a south porch to the church,
- an ossuary,
- a cemetery and
- an imposing calvary.
Walking the Tro Breizh
The article (in French, below) suggests taking the time to walk the traditional path of the Tro Breizh, the pilgrimage of the seven saints of Brittany that takes you to the most famous calvaries in the ancient duchy. Anne of Brittany made the Tro Breizh pilgrimage which has been traditional for aeons.
Remontez le temps et partez à la découverte des calvaires monumentaux de Bretagne : Guéhenno, Saint-Jean Trolimon, Pleyben, Plougastel-Daoulas, Guimiliau, Saint-Thégonnec et Plougonven.