Monday, 2 September 2019

l’abbaye de beauport

Hidden away in the woods outside the commune of Paimpol in the village of Kérity, the former abbey founded in 1202 and invested with papal privilege from its inception represents the introduction of Celtic monastic living to Bretagne.
Fallen into neglect and disrepair already by 1790, the ruins (Abati Boporzh in Breton) were purchased by an Irish fisherman named Louis Morand living in Paimpol who began conservation work, which was eventually taken over by the French government (first as a Monument historique then under the auspices of le Conservatoire du littoral, an agency charged with protecting the character of the coast) in 1862.
Renowned French historian and archaeologist Arcisse de Caumont (*1801 – †1873) based his influential and authoritative rudiments (an Abécédaire) of religious architecture from studies on the abbey ruins, offering the structure as prototypical of the period, the layout of the arcade and the transept being of special interest. Noteworthy also is the chronology of styles preserved as the compound was expanded over the centuries, whilst preserving its original core ensemble. 
Although presently restored extensively as lush and picturesque gardens in 1992, one can still imagine the practical elements and daily routine of the monks’ lives with areas marked off by their former use, cells, common areas and even a rather ingenious salt-pan installation to reclaim minerals from sea water by evaporation.