Pont Aven, most famous for its connection with the artist Paul Gauguin and the painting school of Pont Aven is an extraordinarily pretty town in a bucolique setting. Set on the banks of the River Aven, which meanders its way through the attractive streets, and architectural delights, past the port, and towards the sea. The town was once home to twelve working mills and has been a destination for travellers since the late 1700s. Visitors and artists were attracted by its’ strong connection to nature and beautiful light, as well as the many welcoming auberges and local character.
Our top reasons to visit Pont Aven
Pont Aven is the perfect base for a holiday escape. There is so much to do, and with everything reachable on foot it is quite conceivable to stay a week without needing to get in a car.
The Xavier Grall, is a promenade along the river, lined with pretty trees, flowers and plants. From here you get a real feeling of the energy of the river with the rushing water beneath ones feet. The far end has a good view over the ‘Chaos’ of rocks and of the last working flour mill in Pont Aven.
Follow the path downstream, past the port and its galleries and restaurants. Staying on the right hand side of the river, the GR34 footpath follows the river all the way to Port Manech and the sea. Soon after leaving the port you will see why Paul Gauguin chose this area of Brittany, and you may well recognise some of the views from his paintings. The light, large boulders and tall trees are nothing but inspirational. The 12km footpath to the sea may be a little far for some, but this can be done in stages, or a manageable walk is to the Moulin de Mer of Le Henan and then circle back through the woods to Pont Aven. Alternatively it is possible to contact one of the river Boat companies and arrange a return by boat.
Walk the Bois d’Amour – (from the front door of the Kermaria holiday Apartments!) A circular walk that winds its’ way up stream and through the bucolique woods returning to Pont Aven via the Haut Bois and the chapelle de Tremalo. It is very pretty, and accessible, and yes full of love.
From this side of town you can visit the wonderful Chapel de Tremalo, where Gauguin got his inspiration for the painting Le Christ Jaune. Here you can see the real thing.
A short drive takes you to the coast where you can follow the GR34 and walk endlessly along the unspoilt coastline. Some of our favourite sections are from Rospico to Port Manech, or from Kerfany Les Pins to the Plage de Trenez.
Take a pottery class
La Potiere de Menil, not only sells beautiful handmade pottery, but offers small classes where you can make your own creations. You need to book in advance. https://lapotieredemenil.fr
On the River
The river Aven is stunning and to take to the water is completely sublime. as long as you time it right and go with the tide, weather permitting the river is easy to navigate. Canoes, paddle boards and kayaks can be hired from the Pagaie des Avens Tel. 0611975394
Or take an electric boat tour on La Bell ‘Aven Tel. 07 65 70 48 42 Discover the River Aven on a small boat. Possibility to privately hire the boat with captain, picnic etc.
Eat and Drink
For such a small town, Pont Aven is spoilt for choice for restaurants.
Here are some of our favourites.
Les 3 Buis, 6 rue des Abbes Tanguy, is an excellent small french Bistro, with an eclectic and funky interior the food is of excellent quality and the menu is very good value. It is advisable to reserve in advance.
Oysters are a local speciality and it is not hard to find a cabane where you can eat fresh oysters and drink a glass of muscadet in the most idyllic of settings. Either take the footpath towards Port Manech and take a stop at Chez Honore at the moulin a Maree at Le Henan or hop over to Belon to the infamous Chez Jacky or the Chateau de Belon.
Ty Bistro with the best location overlooking ‘Le Chaos’ on the river has the most friendly welcome and is a lovely place for a drink, and ice cream, or a light lunch.
The Cafe du Centre, is a favourite with locals for an apero, or a relaxed meal. No reservations.
The restaurant Moulin de Rosmadec has one of the most romantic settings possible on the banks of the River Aven, with its’ Michelin star and innovative chef, it completely lives up to expectations and is the perfect place for special occasions Moulin de Rosmadec
L’Idee – This interior decoration shop has some beautiful objets, rugs and furniture, it has visitors from all over the region and you can’t help but be attracted by the beautiful window displays.
Wine Cave – La Part des Anges A great selection of wine and spirits with good advice, and also a very nice wine bar to the rear.
Maison Le Darz on the Place Julia has some delicious local specialities. If the caramel au beurre sale and the Kouign Aman are not enough to tempt you, then the handmade chocolates and exquisite patisseries might just be too hard to resist. Another option is Maison Larnicol which also has a tempting selection of Kouign Aman
Go to the Beach
Well this is a glorious cycle ride down small green lanes, or it is an easy 10km drive on clear roads to the most beautiful unspoilt coastline and a choice of idyllic white sand beaches, our favourites being Tahiti plage, Rospico and Port Manec’h, as well as the glorious beaches either side of the pointe de Trevignon. Take your pick, from the stretches of white sandy beach to hidden crreeks, it is very easy to find a quiet spot even in the height of summer.
I think I have the answer to this one! Somewhere quite special to stay, the River View Holiday Apartments of Kermaria