Poul Fetan, Quistinic
2 reviews from the community
Review of "Poul Fetan, Quistinic"
On our recent holiday to France, one of the places a friend recommended I visit was the little medieval village of Poul Fetan, just outside Quistinic. I've always been a huge lover of history, and particularly of being able to see history being lived, and the way my friend described this, as a sort of performance museum of medieval French (or, more specifically, Breton) life, made it sound like it was right up my street.
LocationVillage de Poul Fetan
We found that Poul Fetan wasn't signposted at all until we actually got to Quistinic, but once we were in the town centre, signs were clearly displayed. There is a large flat car park at the attraction, and the attraction itself has good signage and is very visible, so you're unlikely to drive straight past.
Opening HoursAs with many attractions in rural France, opening hours vary by season, and I would recommend visiting the website for up to date information. As best as I can translate, the attraction is only actually open from the 1st of April to the end of September. And is open from, and has slightly varying opening and closing times within that period, along with guided, audio, and performance tours available at varying times.
Entrance is €10.80 for an adult, and €5 for a child between 5 and 15 years (under fives go free). A family ticket is available for €28.50 which includes 2 adults, with no limit on the number of children.It is also possible to buy year tickets, allowing an unlimited number of visits per year, at €18.50 per adult, €8.20 a child, and €45 per family.
Website and Contact
http://www.poulfetan.com/Tel: 02 97 39 51 74
About the Village
(Again, you're relying on my translation of the pamphlet here!)Essentially, Poul Fetan is a working medieval village. It was actually lived in as a normal village for hundreds and hundreds of years, but with the move of the French population into the cities, the village population gradually declined until, in 1976, with one person essentially owning the whole village because everyone had sold up and moved out, it was gifted to the nearby town of Quistinic in the hopes that they would preserve it, and use it as an educational museum of Breton history.
Between 1977 and 1994, a group of artisans worked voluntarily to upkeep and restore the lovely old village, clearing out the lavandiere (clothes washing area) unblocking the various streams that run through it, repairing the structures, and raising money for the upkeep. Meanwhile, in 1985, the village is officially registered as a conservation project.In 2003, a boot in funding allowed the town of Quistinic to finance exhibitions, displays, and performances at the museum, and allowed them to compensate the volunteers who had so far been working for nothing, and since then the village has become a popular tourist attraction as well as a popular place for school trips
Before I even walked in I was utterly charmed by the old medieval buildings that make up the village. Whilst there are plenty of very old medieval churches preserved in Brittany, I saw far fewer homes that were as well preserved.The Village consists of maybe ten dwellings, as well as various fields, and all these little buildings house some sort of display,film, exhibition, or business.
We became rather disappointed very early on - none of the information boards, films, or performances are actually in English, so my visit largely consisted on me, with a very limited grasp of spoken French, attempting to make sense of a film of a performance, which was a real shame, as some of the interactive displays looked really fun . I felt like I learned absolutely nothing for example from the 'washing laundry in the stream performance'. The Medieval toy making performance was much better for me, though that was largely due to the bilingual 7 year old in the row before me patiently showing me how to make a small floating boat out of a reed, or a sheep out a pinecone (the sheep is a thing of beauty, see the photos!)There were various exhibition rooms, including a film on Breton dance, which, although I couldn't understand, was still fairly interesting to watch - Breton dance seems rather formal and structured, and I was reminded faintly of Morris dancing. There was also a house laid out as a traditional home of the time, complete with a fabulous enclosed Breton bed, sort of a mattress in a very elaborate cupboard, an internal water trough for feeding the animals. The exhibition on Breton costume was also interesting, as although the Breton people retained their own sense of style until quite late in the 20th century (and one could possibly argue they still do, with the stripy Breton sweaters) touches of wider fashionable culture turn up on these very traditional outfits - buttons and a bit of glitz turn up in the 20s, and although Breton dress is much more modest than British dress of the time, they definitely had their own version of flappers!
I didn't really gain anything from the schoolroom, which was apparently exhibiting the Breton Language - lets face it, I can only just read French, so throwing a regional dialect into the mix didn't help me. Similarly with the textile/hemp room, although the problem there wasn't so much due to lack of understanding as with lack of interest in learning about fabric making, although the huge hemp plants outside were fairly interesting to look out.There were a few small businesses scattered through the village. The pottery looked interesting, but was shut on our visit,however the bakehouse, where you can buy bread and cakes baked in an actual medieval oven was fab. We had a delicious caramel gateau bretagne, sort of a very thick buttery biscuit with a sweet caramel layer. It was absolutely delicious. We also bought a rather square, dark loaf of bread that was a huge effort to cut into due to being very crusty, but was nevertheless extraordinarily delicious once we finally got into it. We spent about €12 on 4 Gateau Bretagne and the one big loaf of bread, and considered it money well spent.
The real highlight of the place for me though was firstly the sheer beauty of these really old, quaint thatched cottages, only emphasised by the veg gardens growing outside them, the lizards basking in the sun, and the old farm implements lying artistically around. I also had fun with the Breton games, including the traditional 'Toss the disk in the clog' game that seems to ubiquitous to local attractions.
FacilitiesThe attraction has male, female, and disabled toilets, which were in a fair state of cleanliness and did have a supply of toilet paper, though unfortunately no hand soap.
There is also a restaurant, which we did not use, and a couple of areas where you can enjoy a picnic, as well as plenty of places to sit and rest.Some parts of the attraction are wheelchair friendly, though these are mainly outdoor, and I feel that someone in a wheelchair would lose most of the benefit of this attraction due to not being able to get into the buildings.
I don't feel I enjoyed this attraction as much as I could have, due to very little of the information being in French. I didn't really learn much, apart from that Breton dancing is a lot like morris dancing and the ability to make terrifying objects out of pinecones, but that doesn't mean I didn't still find some enjoyment. The outside area, with it's small selection of farm animals and the chance to see some excellent views across the valley, as well as really take in the beauty of the old buildings, is lovely, the food we had from the bakehouse was delicious, and seeing the staff dressed in period clothes was fun.After expressing my disappointment with not being able to understand much of the visit to the friend who had recommended it (a couple of days after our visit) we were told there was an audio guide in English. It's such a shame this wasn't offered to us on the day, or at least a sign saying this was available, as it would have made the visit so much more enjoyable for us.
I feel it's unfair to rate too badly due to my limited understanding of the language, so I'm awarding 3 stars, but it could so easily have been a four or 5 star rating had that audio guide been made available to us on our visit. A cautious recommendation
Product Information : Poul Fetan, Quistinic
Manufacturer's product descriptionLocation
Listed on Ciao since: 22/08/2005