Le Faou, Brittany: tourism & sightseeing
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The picturesque village of Le Faou is towards the western end of Brittany, at the north-eastern corner of the Crozon peninsula and south-west of Brest. It is listed among the most beautiful villages in France and falls within the boundaries of the Armorique Regional Natural Parc.
Although Le Faou itself is quite a few kilometres from the sea it falls at the eastern end of a natural inlet where the Faou river meets the sea, so the village has a natural harbour.
It is this location that originally led to the development of the village, as the most easterly point where timber from the surrounding forests could be loaded onto boats. The buildings in the historic village were built using wealth gained from this trade, typically in the 16th century.
Exploring Le Faou
You will perhaps discover Le Faou almost by accident when you are passing on your way to the Crozon peninsula, as we did. We recommend that you stop for a look around the village.
The harbour in the centre of Le Faou is still a centre of activity as it has been for hundreds of years, although nowadays you are more likely to see pleasure boats and groups of tourists than gangs of labourers loading wood from the nearby forests onto ships. You can take a pleasant walk along either side of the waterfront.
Note that the harbour area is much more impressive at high tide than at low tide so if at all possible you might like to time your visit accordingly!
At one end of the bridge in the harbour there is also a charming 16th century church in Le Faou, the Church of Saint-Sauveur, with an unusual decorative belltower and containing some medieval statues and an ornately carved medieval baptism font.
The font is fascinating and very unusual and decorated with serpents, doves and other creatures. The serpents on the font represent the resurrection of Christ and the new life of the baptised, and the doves represent those that gave an olive branch to Noah to tell him of the end of the flood.
After exploring the harbour area you will enjoy exploring along the main street in Le Faou, the Rue du Général de Gaulle, and around the square at the end of the street. Although Le Faou is small the buildings in the centre are very interesting, with many of them built in stone and others half-timbered with their wooden facades covered in vertically placed slates.
Houses where the upper stories protrude over the ground floor in this way are called 'maisons à encorbellement' and can be seen in many places in France with intact medieval centres.
In Le Faou most of these 'maisons en pan de bois' houses are grouped together along the main street in the village centre and date from the late 16th and early 17th centuries, although the method of construction was banned in 1561 because of the fire risk. In fact, Le Faou is said to have the greatest number of these medieval houses per inhabitant of any town in the Finistere department.
The 'official' guided walk around the village will take you passed the church, along the harbour, and also passed the most interesting buildings in Le Faou.
Walk a little further and in the Place des Foiries you can see the Town Hall, a traditional stone building. You will also find all basic commerces in Le Faou including a small selection of restaurants and shops.
Most visitors to Le Faou will also want to visit Rumengol to see the the Church of Notre-Dame. Rumengol is only two kilometres from here and the church has several notable features such as the carvings of the 12 apostles in the entrance and an imposing altarpiece.
Close to hand you can explore the pathways in the Forest of Cranou, while the surrounding area has numerous sightseeing opportunities - see Armorique Natural Park for details (includes the Crozon peninsula to the west of Le Faou).
Photos of Le Faou
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Map of Le Faou and places to visit
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Address: Faou, Châteaulin, Finistere, Brittany, 29590, France || GPS: latitude 48.293334, longitude -4.1775
Plan your visit to Le Faou, Brittany
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Armorique: regional natural parc (7km)
- Menez-Hom: site of natural beauty (9km)
- Argol: enclos-paroissial (12km)
- Sizun: enclos-paroissial (14km)
- Brasparts: enclos-paroissial (16km)
- Plougastel-Daoulas: enclos-paroissial (17km)
- Pleyben: enclos-paroissial (17km)
- La Martyre: enclos-paroissial (17km)
- Mont Saint-Michel de Brasparts: site of natural beauty (18km)
- Locmelar: enclos-paroissial (19km)
- La Roche Maurice: enclos-paroissial (20km)
- Lannedern: enclos-paroissial (21km)
The French version of this page is at Le Faou (Francais)