16. Paimpol

 Roscoff is located at marker 1 on the map of Brittany below.

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Paimpol (pop 7,900) is pronounced Pempoull in Breton. Upon entering the port town, you can immediately sight a number of white-striped jumpsuits (especially near the harbour), worn as homage to the rich maritime tradition of the town. Paimpol is home to a working fishing harbour which is however, increasingly being populated by pleasure vessels. Its long maritime tradition dates back to the days when it functioned as a house port of the Icelandic fishery. Therefore, the town continues telling the tales of lost seaman who bravely set sail to the Iceland seas for several months. Such seafaring tradition has allowed Paimpol to concoct rather delicious seafood dishes, which are ready to be savoured in any one of the many restaurants that are scattered around town.  

The town centre is located south of the two harbours near the cobble-stoned, place du Martray. Paimpol’s famous street marketplace also stretches from here to place Gambetta. Further down south, pass Avenue du Général de Gaulle lie the bus and train stations.

Every even-numbered year, in August, Paimpol celebrates the Festival du Chant de Marin [www.paimpol-2009.com] – a folk festival that keeps the sea shanties and Breton dances alive.

The town displays its heritage in the excellent Musée de la Mer (Sea Museum) [rue de Labenne, +33 296220219 www.museemerpaimpol.com ad/ch €4.70/2] and the Musée du Costume Breton (Breton traditional costumes Museum) [rue Raymond Pellier, +33 296220219].

If you head east, further down the coastline, you can get to the Abbaye de Beauport [Agrab – Kérity +33 296551850 www.abbaye-beauport.com ad/ch €5.50/1.50] – a 13th century Anglo-Norman Gothic abbey that faces the sea.

Many visitors also use Paimpol as a base to explore the nearby Île-de-Bréhat- a quiet, Mediterranean-looking island.



PAIMPOL MAP:   1. Tourist office  2. Musée de la Mer  3.  Abbaye de Beauport  4. Île-de-Bréhat (outside map limits, scroll north)

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