Home > French Literature, Literary Escapades, Loti Pierre, Uncategorized > Literary Escapade: Ploubazlanec and Pors-Even, Brittany with Pierre Loti

Literary Escapade: Ploubazlanec and Pors-Even, Brittany with Pierre Loti

As mentioned in my previous billet, today’s Literary Escapade takes us along the Icelanders’ walk in Ploubazlanec and Pors-Even, Brittany.
It starts at the Wall of the Missing Sailors in the cemetary. Since a lot of fishermen never came back from the fishing campaigns in Iceland, there was no burial and no grave. The families put plaques on the wall of the cemetary to remember them.


After a walk, we arrived at the Perros-Hamon chapel. Gaud, the young woman in love with Yann Gaos, stops there to pray on her way from Paimpol to Pors-Even. The chapel in its current form dates back to the 18th century. Here’s the entry side


Inside the chapel, there’s a replica of the boats used for the Iceland fishing campaigns. See how the ceiling looks like the hull of a boat.


Original plaques for the missing boats have been moved from the cemetary to the chapel, for preservation.


Here’s the chapel inside the chapel where Gaud stops to pray, reads the all the names of Yann’s family members who disapeared at sea. It makes her shudder.


In this chapel, families celebrated Easter while their beloved ones were at sea and they had a special ceremory for them. It’s called Le Pardon.

Then we arrive to Pors-Even, a fishermen village, even today. See the landscape:


After that, the trail takes us to the Chapelle de la Trinité. It was never used as an actual chapel but it is a tribute to sailors. Here’s the view from the chapel:


Families used to go there to say goodbye to the ships when they were leaving. They were so close to the shore that people could recognize each other.

Then we walk to the Croix des Veuves. (The Widows’ Cross).


This is were women used to go at the end of the summer to look for incoming ships. They were looking at the sea to wait for their husbands, fathers, sons or brothers’ return. Some of these women will become widows. Gaud goes there to wait for Yann’s return.

The Virgin Mary was a typical protector of sailors. Loti reports that they has this kind of ceramic sculpture on board:


The village still has the stops for the Pardon procession. Religion was an important part of life at the time.

At first, I thought that Ploubazlanec was fictional, then I saw the road signs. Then I looked it up in our tourist guide and found the articles about the museum and the walk.

I think it’s the first time I’ve been on the premises of a novel that I was reading and where I could see places of the novel that were close to being the same as in the novel. It’s incredible and I’m happy that our timing was so good.

It looks bright and beautiful with this incredible weather. It’s quiet, the sea looks like the Mediterranean but there are terrible tempests there. The wind can be really strong, so strong that since centuries, church towers have “holes” to let the wind go through. You can see it on the chapel picture before.

That’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed our Literary Escapade with Pierre Loti. If you ever read Fisherman of Iceland after reading my billets, please let me know, I’m always glad to have feedback.


  1. August 12, 2020 at 10:36 am

    Sad, fascinating and just the escapism I needed on another hot and busy day of work!


    • August 12, 2020 at 11:27 am

      It was a nice visit, really. I’m glad it’s interesting for readers.
      Good luck with work! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • August 14, 2020 at 9:55 pm

      It must have been very hard for everyone. The living conditions on the boats were terrible and the waiting at home must have been awful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Vishy
    August 12, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Beautiful post and pictures, Emma! Love your literary escapades! Thanks for sharing 🙂


  3. August 12, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    How lovely, and to actually visit a place you’re reading about must have been very special!


    • August 14, 2020 at 9:58 pm

      It’s strange and thrilling at the same time. The museum was fascinating and explaining what I was reading.
      Seeing the Croix des veuves, the chapel was incredible especially since they involve emotional moments in the book.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. August 12, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    What beautiful surroundings, but so much sadness too. Thank you for sharing your visit Emma.


    • August 13, 2020 at 3:24 am

      I thought the same!

      Liked by 1 person

    • August 14, 2020 at 10:00 pm

      Thanks. It’s a beautiful place and very peaceful, at least in the summer. I wonder how it is when there are tempests.
      It’s sad to think that the Islanders never got to see these summers unless they changed of job.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. August 12, 2020 at 10:52 pm

    Your posts on the ‘Fisherman of Iceland’ and the Literary Escapade (love that term), are fascinating; looking at the photos it all looks so serene on a beautiful summer day.


    • August 14, 2020 at 10:03 pm

      Thanks, it was really a treat to read the book and see the places at the same time.
      It looks beautiful and it’s so sad to think these fishermen always missed these months with their families.


  6. August 17, 2020 at 9:26 am

    I was thinking of you yesterday – I went and saw La Belle Epoque which recreates a cafe in Lyon, and is probably the best movie I have seen for years.
    I often know the locations in Australian books, but generally not specifically like this. My best experience was walking round Hydra and reading Charmian Clift’s memoirs of her time there in the 50s.


    • August 18, 2020 at 9:01 pm

      I haven’t seen this film but I will look it up.

      It was a great experience to see live the places of the book I was reading.
      I guess that driving around Australia gives you a great knowledge of the landscapes and regions.


  7. August 21, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    I love that you’re still doing these literary escapades, Emma. It feels as if the whole world has locked down, so your escapades are a breath of fresh air!


    • August 22, 2020 at 7:02 am

      Thanks, Andrew. I enjoy doing them.

      I published 4 other ones this summer, you can find them under the Literary Escapades category.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. January 2, 2021 at 9:02 am

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