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Brittany – Parish close

Enclos paroissial – Parish close – is an architectural complex typical of the central and western part of Brittany. Most Parish Close are in the Finistère department in the Elorn valley between Landivisiau and Landerneau (west of Morlaix).

They are churches with an adjacent cemetery surrounded by a wall. There is a richly decorated ossuary and a massive entrance gate to the complex called ʺtriumphalʺ. Monumental stone Calvary monuments, depicting biblical scenes, stand in the open spaces before entering the churches.

Parish close in Guimiliau

One of the most famous and largest Parish close courts is located in the village of Guimiliau.

The Calvary at Guimiliau, completed in 1588, is located in Guimiliau, Brittany, in northwestern France. It is part of the Guimiliau “enclos paroissial” (Guimiliau Parish close with Saint-Miliau Church).

Guimiliau Enclos Paroissial
Calvary in Guimiliau Parish close

The Guimiliau calvary is enormous and the statues displayed on it cover 37 scenes from the life and death of Jesus Christ. There is more than 200 sculprure of figures on the Calvary.

Poslední večeře - detail z Kalvárie v Guimiliau Enclos Paroissial
Last Supper, detail of the Calvary inGuimiliau Parish close
Obřízka - detail z Kalvárie v Guimiliau Enclos Paroissial
The circumcision, detail of the Calvary in Guimiliau Parish close

Richly decorated is the entrance to the Saint-Miliau church, consisting of an arched porch.

The bulk of the porch was built between 1606 and 1617 by the Maître de Plougastel and the finishing touches were added by sculptor Roland Doré. The porch gives access to the nave of church. The Gothic and Renaissance styles blend in here.

Inside the porch are statues of the apostles set in elaborate niches and Renaissance style daises. Under the apostles, there is a frieze with various heads depicting the cardinal sins and three reliefs. One shows a monk conducting an exorcism, another two wrestlers, and the third an amazing composition depicting God’s creation of Eve.


Important Parish close in Brittany: Guimiliau, Commana, Lampaul-Guimiliau, Lanternern, Locmélar, Pleyben, Saint-Thégonnec, Sizun, Trémouézan and others…

Catherine la Perdue (Ztracená Kateřina)- detail z Kalvárie v Guimiliau Enclos Paroissial
Catherine la Perdue, detail of the Calvary in Guimiliau Parish close

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