"Pont-Aven" Pont-Aven by ranger49
Pont-Aven Travel Guide: 16 reviews and 72 photos
Love it or hate it?
Picturesque or tourist trap?
Not worth a visit and nothing to do there?
I first visited this place on the River Aven,with the little bridge that gives the town its name, in 1966.
From the bridge you can still see some of the 14 old mills that, by the early 19th century, had made it a prosperous and pleasant place to live. The good flour milled in the town created prosperity for those who found a way to combine it with the rich, salty local butter and sugar to bake mouth-watering galettes.
But it was the arrival, in 1863, of the American artist Robert Wylie and others, names no longer remembered, whose influence ensured it's place as a successful tourist destination long after the old mill wheels ceased to turn.
Little seems to remain of Wylie in the town - he is perhaps underrated -now it is his French contemporaries who followed him to Pont-Aven to pursue their work amongst the peasants and ordinary working people they chose as subjects.
In 1966 I was just getting to know the works of people like Gauguin, Cézanne, van Gogh and Sérusier ; the very idea that these painters and others of that era, had walked along the river, stayed in the houses in the square and eaten in the cafes and bars was enough to feed my radical and romantic notions of art and artists.
So - I loved it then and have done ever since, seeing it now as more than just a mausoleum for a style of painting that started here, but as an attractive town that has learned to endlessly adapt, diversify and welcome visitors - whether they can paint or not!
Even forgiving it for milking the Gauguin connection for all its worth!
Public loos in France are often - now how shall I put this - let's think - well sometimes as bad as some of those back... more travel advice
There are dozens of art galleries in Pont-Aven, mainly paintings but some ceramicists and wood workers. Some are very... more travel advice
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