If you wish to discover Brittany differently, we propose you to experiment Les Minutes Bleues festival. This second edition of this annual event, organized by the Côtes d’Armor department, is a good occasion to have a large overview from the cultural panorama, occurring in this maritime region.
For this 2023 edition, the choice of Les Minutes Bleues‘ sites collaborations is wide. We eventually started to visit the former Abbaye de Beauport, converted into a religious and cultural center, completed by a cider manufacture. This is where has just started our festival tour in this so-called Beauport or Bellus Portus abbey, clearly reflecting its exceptional coastal dimension. The abbey was founded by the Premonstratensian order in 1202, enriched by a wonderful view over the sea. The pastoral, justice and economic functions from those canons, also held a maritime lordship with rights over the sea, from Saint-Riom Island to the tip of Guilben (photo credits: AP).
By the way, abbeys and monasteries have always housed gardens within their walls. Even today, the old but good shaped Beauport Abbey is surrounded by garden areas, offering a beautiful diversity of plant species, showing multiple traces of its religious and secular history. Adding to this, a multitude of fruit trees find their place on the walls and garden squares. The conservatory orchard continues a tradition, dating back at least to the 18th century, and the abbey still produces and sells its own cider and apple juice, nearby a small garden cultivating plants, rediscovered during the Renaissance. The romanticism of the 19th century is also found in the collection of rose bushes, planted in the four corners of the abbey, but also exotic species.
The site bears witness to eight centuries of history, since there monastic or secular times have left their mark from the elegant Gothic architecture, from its luxurious gardens until fancy orchards.
Therefore, the Beauport Abbey wish to reconnect with the spiritual and social tradition of the abbeys by sharing various occasions of exchanges and experiences, to feel the spirit of the past. That’s why, at the occasion of Les Minutes Bleues festival, while on early morning, an appointment was organized for a immersive visit of the abbey. A good opportunity to discover this historic monument at an early time, before the visitors arrive. Once there, the random participants may have been guided to enjoy moments of silence, through meditation, beneath breathing exercises and even short readings on the history of the site.
In fact, Les Minutes Bleues is a respectful festival that allows anyone willing to visit hidden sites to enjoy singular experiences at night or even at dawn. This is the case of Château de La Roche Jagu, where used to lived many Brittany counts, but not only.
A well-preserved medieval edifice, displaying its whole bygone splendor with many sparkling facets, through different various stairs. A good occasion to visit it by night, thanks to Les Minutes Bleues festival, allowing all the volunteers to wear a headlamp to discover the smallest nooks and crannies of this mysterious castle.
Thus, this La Roche Jagu castle is a very beautiful fortress, built in the 15th century which proudly overlooks the Trieux river’s estuary, giving it a strategic geographic asset, at the time thanks to its unobstructed panorama. Today, its fabulous walkway offers all visitors an exceptional experience back in the fortress‘ old times.
Apart from this, why not having a stop at the rest of the Guingamp city, introducing a whole experience into the northern Brittany. Thus, it’s not a lie that the walls of this charming locality, adorned with authentic sandstone, reserve many secrets to unveil.
For instance, in Guingamp, the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours basilica is one of the must-see sites. Known as a place of spiritual meditation, as well hosting traditional Breton ceremonies, this Gothic edifice is renowned for its Virgin who has the particularity of being black, a unique case in Brittany. Indeed, this statue has turned black from the candles.
Don’t miss to discover this solemn but graphic selection, around photographs, collages and handwritten words, that this inspired artist has reunited like a diary, all around this memory wall. A good opportunity to discover the activities of the GwinZegal Art Center, which has been revolving around photography and its multiple facets, for more than 10 years. There, artistic creation is completed with encounters and pedagogy, between a selection of artist residencies, exhibitions, publishing and specific actions aimed at the public, such as the library and the educational center, leading workshops, notably carried out in schools all around the Brittany.
Centre d’Art GwinZegal, 4 Rue Auguste Pavie, 22200 Guingamp (France) / Phone : 00 33 (0)2 96 44 27 78. More information on their official website and keep informed about the next Les Minutes Bleues edition.