Preparing for your Circuit des Chapelle Walk
There are a ton of walking paths here in Brittany. You'll be driving around and notice these little fences and wooden signs that mark the path everywhere. But then you'll wonder where these paths originate, where they go and just how to access them when there's no discernible place to park your car. This will likely lead you to researching online and finding out that many of these walks have no information or information that is not terribly helpful to you. At least this was my experience.
I stumbled upon the Circuit des Chapelles (circuit of chapels) when I was researching another topic but quickly became intrigued. It is listed as a 14km circular walk that takes in the Chapelle Sainte Barbe and St Fiacre in Le Faouet. But this was about all I could find out. I didn't know where to start the trail or really where it went other than these two chapels. I did know that there is a Office de Tourisme in Le Faouet and that they would probably have some information for us.
So, once again, we headed out and made our first stop the tourist office. The woman at the desk was friendly and was able to provide us with a map of the Circuit des Chapelles. It does exist! She even printed out the detailed directions and information in English (this little print out became more helpful than the map at several points in our journey).
The start of the Circuit des Chapelles
The Circuit des Chapelles starts at the old market hall (les halles) in Le Faouet. This building is a big deal and you'll find lots of information about it listed everywhere you search about this town. This is a magnificent, timber-framed, covered market building built in the 16th century. While daily markets are no longer held here, it does host a semi-weekly market (at time of writing markets took place on the first and third Wednesdays of the month). Unfortunately, we did not find ourselves here on these days but can only imagine how beautiful the market is in full swing.
We made a quick stop at the boulangerie to pick up some sandwiches to take on our walk. We were super excited to find a gorgeous looking pizza and tartine. A pizza might be an odd choice to carry with you on a walk, but Zac was determined to do just that. So we popped that pizza box and tartine in a bag and off we went.
It was a gorgeous, warm, sunny day; just the kind for a good 14km walk in the woods. As we headed out of town we started to climb a bit of elevation. Nothing too strenuous but enough to raise the heart. We were on our way to Chapelle Sainte Barbe.
Chapelle Sainte Barbe
I had visited this chapel earlier in our time in Brittany and was really excited to show Zac. I was extremely happy to have the opportunity to walk up to the building from the town. This place is magical for me. Both times I was here I felt the very core of my being change. Zac and I both said that it felt like our molecules were actively being re-arranged. We both felt shaky in the presence of this amazing place.
The Chapelle Sainte Barbe is situated on a hill near a river. There are huge rock formations right next to the chapel itself, which lends a feeling of the chapel rising from stone on its own. To continue the circuit walk, you head down toward the fountain and continue along the river. As we headed away from the chapel our molecules began to settle down and we started to feel a little less jittery.
Back on the Circuit des Chapelle
The trail continues along the water for quite a while and there are several spots to stop off for a picnic. So we found ourselves at a beautifully sunny bench overlooking the river digging into our pizza and tartine. The sun was pouring down on us, the river was rushing and the cows were mooing. In short, this was one amazing picnic.
Pizza and tartine consumed, we continued on our route. Things get a bit confusing at one road crossing and the directions weren't all that clear. We finally figured it out and crossed a few streets to get back on the wooded trail.
A bit further up, and we found ourselves on the offshoot trail to St Fiacre. This chapel is not nearly as magnificent as Sainte Barbe, but it has its own charms. It is in a small farm village and is much smaller than Sainte Barbe. There was no molecule re-arranging but we were glad we made the walk here.
Back on the trail we headed for our return into Le Faouet. There's a part of the trail here that goes through village and into town. Even though we weren't walking in the woods any longer, this was still an enjoyable part of the walk.
The End of the Circuit des Chapelle
The trail ends back at the market hall so you have the opportunity to reward yourself with a baked good, if you so desire. This was a really rewarding walk and we were so glad we had such great weather in which to enjoy it. We'd highly recommend this walk as it's not too difficult but provides some great scenery and two really lovely sites to see.