Pont-Aven is a charming Breton town nestled on the banks of the river Aven. Once a commercial town ensuring the transport of goods between the river and the ocean, it became a meeting point of a colony of painters during the second part of the 19th century. Today it still follows this tradition and hosts about sixty galleries and artist studios. 

The history of the Pont-Aven is closely linked to the several generations of painters who came to capture the beauty and the charm of its streets. If the first artists who settled in Pont-Aven around 1860 were mostly academic , they were soon followed by the Impressionists and Synthetists: Paul Gauguin, Emile Bernard or Paul Sérusier were the leaders of a pictorial renewal worldwide known as “School of Pont-Aven”.


1. IT is one of the must-see in Brittany. The permanent exhibition showcases the artistic life in Pont-Aven from 1860 and on, the history of the American colony of artists, and Breton painting. An outside garden is also accessible on the terrace. It is an artistic garden where heather, gorse and grass grow, a vegetation well represented by the “Ecole de Pont-Aven”. This garden has been inspired by a work from Filiger that can be admired in the museum’s collection.


2. THIS promenade in the city center combines walkways and pedestrian paths dedicated to a famous poet, journalist and writer.  Located right in the city centre, THIS path goes along the river in the shade of the trees and is one of the most charming spots of Pont-Aven!


3. “The soul would be carried by sorrow in this quiet place if a ray of sun piercing through the thick foliage would not give a feeling of divine hope.

Paul Gaugain


4. Where can you find huge granite blocks by the Aven river?


5. IT was created in Pont-Aven by the baker Alexis Le Villain in 1920. Still secretly made in Pont-Aven, the recipe has remained unchanged for 100 years. IT uses simple local ingredients: fresh Breton butter, eggs from free-range hens in Finistère and flour processed by the Minotier Le Dérout in Pont-Aven.


6. One of Pont-Aven’s particularity was its concentration of mills. The town was therefore nicknamed “Bro goz ar milinou” which means “the old land of mills”. Upstream and downstream of the main bridge, about fifteen mills were staggered. Nowadays there is no longer any active mill left in Pont-Aven but there is a flour factory which still perpetuates the millers’ traditions. In the town, along the Aven you will find wooden signs recalling the location of each mill and their story. 


7. IT used to be a source of prosperity for the country and one of the most important ports in Cornwall. Boats from all over the coast used to stop there to deliver salt and wine, and turn back loaded with cereals, granite, wood… The sailors often had to wait for the tide before being able to leave, which explains the many inns in town as well as the common use of French among the population, where the rest of Brittany was mainly Breton-speaking. IT might be the reason that Pont-Aven became a holiday destination for foreign artists during the second part of the 19th century. Today IT is a starting point for hikes or boat trips along the river.


8. On THIS path one can hike along the banks of the Aven through heather-filled moors and oak forests… on the travelwishlist 🙂



  1. Museum of Pont-Aven
  2. Xavier Grall Promenade
  3. Bois d’Amour
  4. Chaos de l’Aven
  8. Sentier côtier (GR34) | Section: Pont-Aven – Lorient



Un été au Pouldu avec Paul Gauguin

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