There’s a nice surprise waiting to be discovered in old town of Paimpol. Everyone knows Paimpol as a fishing port and because of its historic reputation as the departure point for the ‘Icelandic’ cod-fishing fleet, but it’s perhaps not quite so well-known for its flourishing arts scene. There’s a very good reason why Paimpol has been awarded the status of ‘Ville et métiers d’art’.
Guided art tours
Classified as a Heritage Port, Paimpol is home to seafarers but also to well-known artists and craftspeople. Following the sound advice of a Paimpolais friend, I’m looking forward to joining a guided visit offered by the Tourist Office and led by Ana, who is reputed to be unrivalled at sharing local history.
Home to renowned artists and craftspeople
Lionel le Calvez is our first port of call. A painter and silkscreen printer for over 30 years, his studio is in his 15th-century house on the Place du Martray in the heart of old Paimpol. Then, just a stone’s throw away but in a completely different universe, Guy L’Hostis welcomes us to his gallery at 8 rue des Patriotes. An official painter of the French Navy, he takes us on a voyage of discovery and shares his passion for the world’s seas.
As we move from one artist to the next, strolling through the cobblestoned streets, our guide takes up the tale, describing the stories behind the buildings’ facades, here a story about the name of the rue Pasteur where the dairies used to be, there an architectural detail of a house and Paimpol’s historic dovecote.
We continue our tour, walking up to the rue de l’Église. Here we’re welcomed by the colourful, straight-talking Miguelle Bizouarn. Although she’s a painter nowadays, she’s also worked with ceramics, which gives her semi-abstract paintings a distinctive personal style.
©Text by Valérie Picard