In the village, there are themed walking tours possible, such as the artists’ trail or the promenade des moulins—the tourist office can provide maps. You can also visit one of the shops that produce the famous galette de Pont-Aven, a round, butter-rich cookie that Bretons like to dunk in their coffee. Two of the oldest are Traou Mad, rue du Port (tel. 02-98-06-18-18) and Penven-Délices de Pont-Aven, 1 quai Théodore Botrel (tel. 02-98-06-02-75). Both offer tours of their nearby production facilities in July and August, Penven’s are free and take place on Tuesday and Thursday at 11am.
The 16th-century Chapelle de Trémalo, lieu-dit Trémalo (tel. 02-98-06-01-68), is 1.2km (3/4 mile) north of the town center. Here is the wooden crucifix that inspired two of Gauguin’s best-known paintings, The Yellow Christ (displayed today in a museum in Buffalo, New York) and his Self-Portrait with the Yellow Christ (displayed at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris). On private lands which still belong to descendants of the family who originally built and consecrated it in 1532, the chapel is unlocked every morning at 10am and closed at 6pm (July–Aug 7pm). It’s still a place of worship, so masses are conducted from time to time. Plunk a coin or two into a machine to briefly illuminate the interior—otherwise, midday sunlight from the windows is sufficient.
In the Footsteps of Gauguin
In the summer of 1886, Paul Gauguin arrived in the Breton village of Pont-Aven. Lesser-known artists, including Maurice Denis, Paul Sérusier, and Emile Bernard, soon followed. Breaking from mainstream Impressionism, the Pont-Aven School—as the style of Gauguin and his 20 or so followers came to be known—emphasized pure colors, shunned perspective and shadowing, and simplified human figures. Both The Yellow Christ and The Green Christ, two of Gauguin’s most memorable works, exemplify this method, also known as Synthetism.
The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Pont-Aven, place de l’Hôtel de Ville (www.museepontaven.fr; tel. 02-98-06-14-43), reopened in 2016 after extensive renovations providing a fresh look and double the exhibition space. The collections and permanent collection display key works of 19th-century painters that put this town on the map. Admission to the museum and exhibits is 8€ for adults, 6€ for students and free for children 17 and under. It’s open February, March, November, and December Tuesday to Sunday 2 to 5:30pm, from April to June, September, and October 10am to 6pm, and daily July to August 10am to 7pm. Closed January.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.