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 were attracted by its’ strong connection to nature and beautiful light, as well as the many welcoming auberges and local character.
Like many a tourist town, and especially one with such strong artistic connections, the epi-centre can get busy with visitors in high season. Some galleries have more integrity than others, and there may be a few too many biscuit shops. However, get the timing right, take a look beyond the initial tourist fodder, and you will be thoroughly charmed. Here are our top ten reasons to visit Pont Aven.
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.
Walk downstream. Follow the path past the port on the right hand side of the river. The footpath follows the river all the way to Port Manech and the sea, the 12km may be a little far for most people, but this can be done in stages. 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. An easily manageable walk is to the moulin de mer of Le Henan and then circle back through the woods to Pont Aven.
Walk the Bois d’Amour – (from the front door of the apartement!) A circular walk that winds its’ way up stream and through the bucolique woods. 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.
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
A genuine artist with real talent. You can view, or partake in art classes with sessions on demand. Learn how to make travel journals, postal art, collage, sketch, create. www.melissaferreira.com
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 menus very good value.
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.
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.