The Chapel of St Gildas, Morbihan

The Blavet valley in Morbihan is famous for its picturesque views and peaceful countryside. Probably its most magical location can be found near the pretty village of St Nicholas des Eaux, at the sixteenth-century chapel of St Gildas.

The magical chapel of St Gildas, Morbihan

The magical chapel of St Gildas, Morbihan

This tiny chapel fits snuggly under a huge craggy cliff just next to the river itself. The best view of it can be found on the other side of the Blavet, from the river-side path that snakes its way from the village.

Legend has it that the chapel was built on the site of a cave inhabited by the hermit Gildas in the sixth century. The site became a place of worship, and Gildas would call the local people to prayer by hitting a ‘ringing rock’, which gave a loud, bell-like tone.

The pulpit rock outside the chapel of St Gildas, Morbihan

The pulpit rock outside the chapel of St Gildas, Morbihan

Outside the building can be found a rock pulpit from which St Gildas used to deliver his sermons. Just below, a tiny spring reputed to have curative properties emerges from a crack in the rock.

The holy spring emerging from a rock below the chapel of St Gildas, Morbihan

The holy spring emerging from a rock below the chapel of St Gildas, Morbihan

The chapel also has some wonderfully weird carvings on its exterior, including strange faces. With its buggy eyes and chubby cheeks, this sculpture reminded me of the ancient Celtic stone heads that are found throughout Europe. And is it just me, or is that a rather impressive handlebar moustache?

A carved face on the exterior of the chapel of St Gildas, Morbihan

A carved face on the exterior of the chapel of St Gildas, Morbihan

The chapel was locked on the rather drizzly day that I visited, so I didn’t get a chance to see the famous ‘ringing rock’ which is still preserved inside. Apparently much of the interior is formed from the original cave, which sounds distinctly magical. The wonderful setting of the chapel made it well worth the visit, but I slightly fell in love with this place, so I am determined to go back in the summer, when it will hopefully be open for further investigation…

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12 Responses to “The Chapel of St Gildas, Morbihan”

  1. That is amazing. That rock cliff by it’s self would be quite beautiful. The way the chapel has been built into it is indeed magical. And certainly does look like a handlebar mustache.

  2. Wow! What an incredible looking place~ Truly the stuff of magic! Enchanted and just the sort of place I imagine when reading old fairy tales , myths and legends. Superb. Thank you for sharing.

  3. What a find – really atmospheric. The carved head looks much older than the building wouldn’t you think?

    • Thanks, glad you liked it too! The sculptures are strange, hard to tell if they are very old, or just very simple and provincial. But it does seem to be a spot with a long history, so who knows?!

  4. How extraordinary – another wonderful find! Great post and photos! 🙂

  5. Stunning! I agree, the stoney face does appear to have a marvelous moustache! Hopefully you can get inside next time.

  6. Thanks for reminding me of wonderful childhood holidays in Morbihan. I have got to see this chapel next time I’m there as I can’t remember seeing it. Stunning.

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