|Intercommunality||Pays de Landivisiau|
|• Mayor (2008–2014)||Louis Fagot|
|• Land1||11.22 km2 (4.33 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||84/km2 (220/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||29074 / 29400|
|Elevation||63–159 m (207–522 ft)|
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Inhabitants of Guimiliau are called in French Guimiliens.
Guimiliau, or Gwimilio in Breton, is named after St Miliau. The name simply means town or settlement (Breton: gwic) of Milio. According to legend, Miliau was a good and just Breton prince, put to death in a dynastic quarrel in the 6th or 9th century.
Guimiliau is also famous as the reputed birthplace of St Hervé, a 6th-century ascetic, who is one of the most popular Breton saints.
Parish closes are a distinctive feature of Breton culture in the historic Léon diocese, in which Guimiliau stands. As the name suggests, a close is a completely enclosed church yard, usually with a commanding entrance arch. Sacred enclosures were a feature of Celtic religion even before the arrival of Christianity. Parish closes today form the foci for pardons, the annual Breton pilgrimage festivals, which can attract thousands of worshippers.
The parish close of Guimiliau is situated at the upper end of the main village street, with the entrance dominating the village.
The church contains many fine examples of polychrome sculpture from the sixteenth century onwards, including several large retables. There is also a fine octagonal baptistery, a carved pulpit and a collection of banners used especially in religious processions at pardons.
Detail from Retable of St Miliau.
Banner of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Detail of the carved pulpit.
Carvings of birds, snakes and vines on the baptistery pillars.
Medieval carving in the porch of the church.
- Mayors of Finistère Association (French);
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