St Pol de Léon travel guide

Cities and towns

About St Pol de Léon

St Pol de Léon in Brittany is an historic town known for its religious heritage and the vegetable farming around the town, which made it one of the largest market-garden regions in Europe.

Dating its origins back to Gallo-Roman times, St Pol de Léon was an important religious centre in the 6th century when it became a bishopric and eventually evolved into a monastic town. Today, the prevalence of churches, the cathedral and other religious monuments in the town showcases its religious and artistic heritage. The Kreisker chapel has the highest spire in all of Brittany and towers 78m into the skyline. You can climb up the 169 steps to the top for some fantastic panoramic views of the town and the surrounding countryside, and you can see right out to the coast with Roscoff and Ile de Batz, and even Tregastel, all visible from the top on a good day.

Explore the architecture of the town by following the circuit des ruelles. From the 3rd century Gallo-Roman walls to the half-timber medieval houses, there is much to admire in the buildings of the town. A visit to the cathedral will unveil many fascinating relics including les étagères de la nuit (the shelves of night), 32 small boxes containing skulls of bodies exhumed to make room for the recently deceased in the churchyard, a practice which was performed up until the 19th century. There are also several pretty manor houses, chapels and châteaux in and around the town to explore.

St Pol de Léon is famous for its vegetable farming and produces most of the artichokes grown in France. Visit the markets to try some of the local produce and be sure to enjoy a meal in one of the many restaurants and crêperies in the town. Most use local ingredients with dishes using artichokes, pink Roscoff onions and seafood caught off the coast. You'll find a large selection of tasty savoury gallettes and sweet crêpes to try too. Be sure to wash it all down with a mug or two of local cidre (cider).

Why visit St Pol de Léon?

  • The cathedral
  • Historic architecture
  • Great local food and drink
  • Highest spire in Brittany

Overview

  • Country: France
  • Region: Brittany
  • Department: Finistère
  • Population: 7,000
  • Coordinates: 48.685306, -3.986143

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

The Cathedral St Paul Aurelian is one of St Pol de Léon's most famous landmarks.

The Kreisker chapel has the highest spire in all of Brittany and is a beautiful Romanesque chapel in St Pol de Léon.

Home to 3,500 different plant species from across the southern hemisphere, the Jardin Exotique in Roscoff is a beautiful garden full of winding paths.

The museum of the onion Johnnies tells the story of the Onion Johnnies, who came across from France on their bicycles to sell onions door-to-door in England.

Places to visit nearby

Roscoff is a picturesque fishing village on the North coast of Brittany and is an idyllic introduction to Brittany's rustic charms.

Morlaix in Brittany is a medieval town famous for its 19th century viaduct, charming 16th century half-timber houses and the beautiful Bay of Morlaix.

Beautiful marshes, moorland and forests full of megaliths and ancient legends are waiting to be explored.