often translated as Camp blanc. Now, gwyn, white, was the name given in the Druidic cosmogony to the higher spiritual sphere, so Guingamp would more precisely be the high spiritual place. The city of Guingamp, a former feudal city, offers a journey back in time. A delicious journey through time that can be extended with an invigorating stroll to discover the pearls of Côtes-d’Armor.
In Guingamp, a little history
Guingamp was a popular crossing point until the 10th century. Subsequently, a wooden tower – a watchtower – was built, then replaced by a stone castle. It will form the center of the Breton city. The city, on the banks of the Trieux, then lives on its markets, its fairs and its artisans – tannery and textiles. Having sided with Charles de Blois in the War of Succession, the city is regularly besieged. Its castle and its ramparts were destroyed in 1410. In 1440, an imposing fortress flanked by four towers and fortifications was built by the second son of Jean V, who became Count of Guingamp. The half-timbered houses are gradually replaced by granite residences with carved doors. In the 18th century, an ambitious town-planning project reshaped the city center. Dispossessed by the Revolution of its role as a small regional capital, Guingamp was no longer, in the 19th century, only a sub-prefecture. Today, the city benefits from a program of rehabilitation of its heritage, and in particular of the ramparts, and constitutes an essential stage for those who want to visit theCôtes-d’Armor . In addition, its central position in the department allows access to all tourist attractions in 30 to 45 minutes by car.
In Guingamp, essential visits
In Guingamp, we necessarily start with a tour of the Place du Center . This is the square representing the popular heart of Guingamp. So this is where you will have to go if you really want to take the pulse of the city! Take the time to appreciate the fine details of the many half-timbered houses that surround this square. You will also appreciate in passing the meticulous ornamentation of the granite facades and carved doors. In the center of the square, you can cool off with the famous Guingampaise fountain, the Plomée. It is located at the top of the square, at the intersection of rue Henry-Kerfant and rue Notre-Dame. It is truly an emblem of the city of Guingamp, we often meet around it during popular festivals, it must be said that it is really well placed in the heart of the historic and commercial city. Its name comes from the Breton plomenn which means pump. It was built in the 15th century and transferred to its current location in 1588. In 1745, it was remodeled by the sculptor Yves Corlay. It has 3 superimposed basins, the first in granite and the others in lead. The whole is surmounted by a statue, whose identity is not clarified: some see it the Celtic goddess Anna, others a Florentine Virgin.
Then, head for the Notre-Dame de Bon Secours basilica . The first construction, Romanesque, evolved with the construction of a Gothic church retaining only a few rooms, the Romanesque arcades of the transept, as a primitive testimony. The whole is therefore Gothic, with a Renaissance part, south side, coming to mitigate a collapse. A 13th century tower, the beautiful Notre-Dame porch, with the statue of the Virgin above the altar, the 14th century door to the Duke, 15th century apse. The statue of the Black Madonna, which is celebrated on the first Saturday of July with a night procession with torches and bonfires. Inside, we will especially admire some stained glass windows, the altar of the dead in stones from Kersanton, and part of an old altarpiece, in the apse,
Then we will take the path to the tourist office to discover the Breton ball museum . Balls of all kinds in boxwood, unbreakable, in gaiac wood imported from Santo Domingo, studded by hand for playing on snow or on ice, synthetic or plastic, boules de fort, boules from Morlais, Lyon, England or even Moroccan cedar wood, and other objects were collected. The museum is therefore not limited to Breton balls which are part of the local heritage. However, the exhibition also highlights the names of the great local players. In addition to the balls, there are many souvenirs brought by the inhabitants of the city.
Then you will have to take a look at the Town Hall . The building housed the Hôtel-Dieu, founded in the 14th century by Charles de Blois, converted into a convent of Augustines at the end of the 17th century. It is located at one end of Place du Champ-au-Roy. If the building now houses a fire brigade, you can observe inside parts of the old cloister. Across the street, you can discover the chapel of a former Ursuline monastery.
Finally, place at the Château Pierre II. If you can’t find it easily, it’s Richelieu’s fault again. Like others in Penthièvre, he had him shaved to assert the royal authority in front of César de Vendôme, who had manifested his self-determination. The castle, built in the 15th century, was the third and last construction on this site, behind the basilica, near the current Place du Vally. There are remains of ramparts and towers, fairly well preserved overlooking the Trieux valley once dotted with mills. Historical monument in the heart of the city of Guingamp, you will also take a tour of its ramparts, completely renovated recently.
Outdoor stroll in the Côtes-d’Armor
Then let’s set off to discover all the magic of Brittany by joining the Côtes-d’Armor. After a stopover in the medieval city of Dinan, its half-timbered houses, pedestrian streets and ramparts, head for the Pink Granite Coast and its blocks of granite with a copper appearance.