"A uniquely Breton place of pilgrimage" Saint Anne-d'Auray by CatherineReichardt

Saint Anne-d'Auray Travel Guide: 26 reviews and 70 photos

(work in progress)
The village of Sainte-Anne d'Auray is a relatively obscure destination for all but non-Bretons and those with a particular devotion to St Anne. Located less than 5km outside the town of Auray, Sainte-Anne d'Auray is somewhat off the beaten track - especially for visitors from outside Brittany - and compared to other more 'first division' attractions in this heavily touristed region, it provides some welcome respite from the tourist hoardes, particularly during the busy summer months.

Sainte-Anne d'Auray's two main claims to fame are both distinctively Breton: the shrine to St Anne (Brittany's patron saint) and the profoundly moving Breton war memorial. Both of these locations provide a unique perspective on the robust Breton sense of national identity and each would more than justify a visit in their own right. The fact that the majority of visitors are fellow Bretons motivated by a desire to connect with their own faith and history is refreshing, and a welcome counterpoint to the somewhat caricatured aspects of Breton identity that tends to pervade more heavily touristed locations in the region.

There's so much to see and do in this region that it's nice to find somewhere that you can sit and catch your breath for a while. The basilica and the war memorial are located in a large area of parkland, featuring impossibly green, manicured lawns and shady nooks that would be particularly welcome on a hot summer's day, which all adds to the charm of a wonderfully interesting and unexpectedly charming place.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A place off the beaten tourist track which is visited primarily by Bretons looking to connect to their own faith and history
  • Cons:Very crowded around the feast day of St Anne (25-26 July), when the 'Grand Pardon' takes place
  • In a nutshell:An welcome insight into aspects of Breton identity
  • Last visit to Saint Anne-d'Auray: Jun 2012
  • Intro Updated Jul 22, 2012
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Reviews (10)

Comments (2)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Catherine, great page with brilliant photos of this gem of Brittany. I must admit that I haven't visited this picturesque part of France yet.

  • gwened's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    beautifully written ,better than mine even if live 7 kms from it;and go often. Looking forward to read the finish work.

CatherineReichardt

“Never go the same way twice!”

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