Kerbeleg Tourisme Pont Aven Le port

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Visit Pont-Aven and the surrounding area: A Breton adventure not to be missed!

During your stay at Kerbeleg, discover the must-see places to visit in Pont-Aven: museums, walks and gastronomy.

The city of painters in Brittany

Welcome to Pont-Aven, a real gem nestling on the banks of the river, a small Breton town that will win you over with its picturesque charm, its rich artistic scene and its famous butter cakes!

From its past as a commercial link between sea and river, Pont-Aven evolved in the 19th century to become the City of Painters, becoming a favourite haunt for a colony of artists. These painters made this small corner of Brittany famous the world over, solidifying the town’s artistic reputation. Today, Pont-Aven continues this tradition with some sixty galleries and artists’ studios.

The town in colour

Pont-Aven, now an internationally renowned artistic centre, has charmed generations of artists from all walks of life. The town’s history is closely linked to that of the painters who have come to capture the beauty of its narrow streets and the uniqueness of its people. From the academic artists of the 1860s to the Impressionists and Synthetists, such as Paul Gauguin, Emile Bernard and Paul Sérusier, who led the École de Pont-Aven movement, this colony of artists with varied styles has forever written the name of Pont-Aven in the history of art. After a visit to the Musée de Pont-Aven, take a stroll through the streets and discover the dozens of art galleries.

Xavier Grall Walk

Kerbeleg Tourisme Pont Aven Promenade Xavier Grall

As if in a fairytale, cross the footbridge on the Promenade Xavier Grall to step out of the hustle and bustle of the city and into an enchanted world. This gentle stroll along the banks of the Aven, in the shade of magnolia, cherry and fig trees, will take you into a timeless world. The little stone huts once used by the ladies of Pont-Aven to wash their clothes bear witness to the area’s past. This walk is dedicated to the poet and journalist Xavier Grall, a lover of Brittany who died in 1981. A bronze medallion keeps alive the memory of this modern bard.

Mills along the water’s edge

Kerbeleg Tourisme Pont Aven Les Moulins

The numerous granite chaotic rocks in the bed of the Aven river have enabled the construction of dams and mills in the town and surrounding area. The famous local saying “Pont-Aven, town of renown, 14 mills and 15 houses” reflects the abundance of watermills that were once in operation. You can follow in their footsteps on a bucolic walk along the water’s edge.

The Bois d’Amour

Tourisme - Visiter Pont-Aven - Promenade du Bois d'Amour

The Bois d’Amour is a mythical spot in Pont-Aven, mysterious and steeped in art and poetry. Following the banks of the Aven upstream from the village, this one-hour walk under the tall beech trees will plunge you into the history of painting. It was inspired by the Bois d’Amour that Paul Gauguin is said to have dictated to the painter Paul Sérusier the bold colours of his legendary painting “Le Talisman”, a manifesto of the Nabi movement and the prelude to abstract art.

A port at the heart of the town

Tourisme - Visite de Pont-Aven - Le Port

The marina was an engine of prosperity for the region and one of the most important ports in Cornwall. Ships would come from all along the coast to unload salt and wine, then leave with grain, granite and timber, taking advantage of the tides to sail. This particularity played a key role in the choice of foreign artists to settle in Pont-Aven from the second half of the 19th century onwards. Today, the port is the starting point for walks and boat trips with the Aven Bélon launches.

Pont-Aven Museum

Kerbeleg Tourisme Musee de Pont Aven

Celebrating the work of artists inspired by the region since the 1860s, it was founded in 1985 and renovated in 2013-2016. The museum houses a wide range of collections, from paintings to sculptures. It also offers temporary exhibitions covering a range of artists and styles, from the Pont-Aven School to contemporary art. Pont-Aven’s history as an artistic destination dates back to 1862. The museum continues to grow, with around a dozen acquisitions every year.

Les Galettes de Pont-Aven

Pont-Aven has also given birth to another work of art: the little butter galette, a local speciality that is a firm favourite with gourmets. This simple, authentic Breton sweet has become emblematic of Brittany. During your artistic and cultural tour, don’t forget to take a break to sample these delicacies or visit the production workshops at the Traou Mad factory, just a few minutes from the village.

What to bring back from Pont-Aven

As well as unforgettable souvenirs, take home some of Pont-Aven’s local specialities. Don’t miss the authentic Pont-Aven galettes and palets at Traou Mad or Penven, the two must-try addresses. You can also savour the flavours of the sea with sardines and fish soup from the La Belle-Iloise and Courtin canneries. For those with a sweet tooth, don’t leave without trying kouign-amann, a delicious Breton cake. Finally, explore the local boutiques to find objets d’art, clothing and unique gifts that will remind you of your stay in Pont-Aven.

Where to eat in Pont-Aven

Pont-Aven offers a host of excellent places to eat. From crêperies and local cuisine to Michelin-starred restaurants, you’ll find our suggestions in our list of restaurants.

Things to discover in the area

Explore the area around Pont-Aven by discovering Névez, its standing stones and beaches, hiking the GR34 between Névez and Concarneau, visiting the walled town of Concarneau, or getting lost in charming Quimper, the capital of Cornouaille. Here you’ll find our recommended itineraries for a great day out off the beaten track and discovering the region.

Take advantage of your visit to Pont-Aven to enjoy an exceptional artistic, gastronomic and cultural experience in this magnificent city of painters.

Published on: 29 September 2023  -  Filed under: To be discovered