Landévennec is a small municipality in the east part of the Crozon peninsula, lying directly on the estuary of the River Aulne. The town has approximately 370 inhabitants. The countryside here is delightful, lusciously green with forests and a small harbour. Landévennec is known mainly because of its abbey. The impressive ruin of the carolingian monastery is one of the oldest abbeys in France. It is situated directly on the coast and commands beautiful views of the Aulne estuary and surrounding area. The coast line actually serves as te enclosure wall on 3 sides of the abbey, consequently the monastery has a very large enclosure which provides visitors with lovely walks through the substantial grounds.
According to accounts handed down through the ages, the holy Saint-Guénolé founded this monastery towards the end of the 5th century (during the first phase of the Christian conversion of the Celts in Brittany) and formed a brotherhood together with other hermit monks. The monastery has been on the site of these ruins since the 8th century. The monks of that time lived as according to the doctrines of the Celts, in the year of 818 these principles were replaced by the rules of the Benedictine order.
In1950 the Benedictines purchased back the abbey and established a new monastery above the ruins of the old buildings. In 1958 the first archaeological excavations took place and were recommenced in the 1980's. The abbey and its grounds were restored and the museum of Landévennec was established - the timing was perfect and coincided well with the abbey's 1500 year anniversary celebrations.
Because of the protection and preservation of the ruins as an historical monument, and through continuing excavations, it is possible to trace the history of the monastery's construction back to the Carolingian era. In this respect, the abbey at Landévennec is historically unique.
Today the monks of Landévennec maintain their liturgy with devotion and of time. The vespers on Saturday begin as the first liturgical celebration of Sunday. These celebrations incorporate various old rituals e.g. the light ritual with candles and incense. These services are well attended, on average by 100 - 130 participants.
As the monks have always practiced throughout the ages, the current monks of Landévennec also strive to maintain and care for their surroundings with a great deal of devotion and loving attention. Extensive apple orchards provide the basis for the fruit and sweet specialities and the cider. These products are on sale in the adjacent abbey shop. Rhododendron and azaleas flower in abundance, waiting to be admired. The abbey is surrounded by a large natural forests and extensive meadows.
Those who would like to read more about the detailed history of Landévennec (in French), will take pleasure in the following book: " La Presqu'ile de Crozon - Histoire et Geography Contemporaine " written by the local authors Marcel Burel, Didier Cadiou and Jean-Jacques Kerdreux. The book, first published in 2009 , is a substantiated historical report, backed up with many pictures, including those of the excavations and scripts of the Landévennec Abbey and other historic places here on the Crozon peninsula.