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The chapel of Trémalo
The chapel of Trémalo

The chapel of Trémalo

The chapel of Trémalo dates back to the XVIth century. It is a private property but remains open to visitors all year long. It has been a source of inspiration for many international artists and is known all over the world for sheltering the wooden polychrome Christ which inspired Gauguin for his “Yellow Christ”. 

The chapel of Trémalo, property of the family de la Villemarqué

The chapel is located on the heights of Pont-Aven and dates back to the XVIth century (end of the Gothic style). It belongs to the family Villemarqué of Cornouaille. The owners keep the chapel open every day to visitors from 10am to 5pm from October to June and from 10am to 6pm from July to September. They also take care of the maintenance and the restoration of the building. An exhibition of copies called “Gauguin or the wounded smuggler” is on display inside.  

The chapel of Trémalo

Trémalo : the most famous chapel in the world!

In Brittany you will find a tremendous amount of chapels! But did you know that the most famous breton chapel in the world is located in Pont-Aven?

In 1982 was held an exhibition in the USA which gathered the best american painters who had stayed in Brittany and Normandie between 1860 and 1910. On the brochure of the exhibition you could see a painting from 1897 by Childe Hassam showing the chapel. This is how Trémalo became internationally famous! Since then, the reputation of the chapel keeps on growing!

Why such an interest from artists?

The proper church of Pont-Aven is pretty recent (1875) and the artists were looking for old stones. The chapel of Trémalo, located at only 1.2 km of the city centre and presenting such a caracteristic architecture was therefore particularly interesting for them.

On the west gable and above the door, stands a sculpture representing an angel holding a scallop to indicate that the founders had accomplished the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The scallop presents the coat of arms of the lord of Plessis Nizon.

The date of creation of the chapel (1532) is engraved on the south gable as well as the weapons of the founders: a lion holding an insignia between its paws. 

Practical information

Opening Hours

All year  10:00 to 17:00 –  10:00 to 18:00 from July to September

 

Maintenance

The chapel is private, you can make a donation to ensure its maintenance!

 

Worship

Two worship a year are celebrated in the chapel.

The closest Sunday to the Sainte-Anne (26th of July )

The 14th of August, eve of the Assumption celebration (mass and torchlight procession at 9:00 PM)

An unusual architecture

The slope of the roof almost touches the ground. It covers the nave and two side aisles. The shape is rectangular.

A staircase leads to the bell tower, and was used for the maintenance. 

The most interesting architectural component is the southern door with its ogee forming an elliptical arch and embellished with sculptures. In Brittany the south frontage, where the light comes from, is often the most decorated one.  

The inside of the chapel

 The figurines adorning the wall plates were very much admired by the artists and they are said to represent the Seven Deadly Sins, although there is no certitude about it. These figurines  were sculpted to suit the whims and fancies of the carpenter, and anyone could find its own interpretation. Some of them are mocking such as for the rabbit playing trumpet on a dog’s back.

A breathtaking framework!

A breathtaking framework!

The yellow Christ

The yellow Christ

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How to reach Trémalo