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Parish close
Parish close
Guimiliau is located in France
Coordinates: 48°29′19″N 3°59′45″W / 48.4886°N 3.9958°W / 48.4886; -3.9958Coordinates: 48°29′19″N 3°59′45″W / 48.4886°N 3.9958°W / 48.4886; -3.9958
Country France
Region Brittany
Department Finistère
Arrondissement Morlaix
Canton Landivisiau
Intercommunality Pays de Landivisiau
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Louis Fagot
Area1 11.22 km2 (4.33 sq mi)
Population (2008)2 943
 • Density 84/km2 (220/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
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.

Guimiliau (Breton: Gwimilio) is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in north-western France.

It is noted for the Guimiliau Parish close. It should not be confused with the neighbouring commune and village of Lampaul-Guimiliau.


Inhabitants of Guimiliau are called in French Guimiliens.

Historical population of Guimiliau
Year 1793 1800 1806 1821 1831 1836 1841 1846 1851 1856
Population 1841 1557 1328 1397 1464 1495 1590 1596 1530 1497
Year 1861 1866 1872 1876 1881 1886 1891 1896 1901 1906
Population 1625 1625 1521 1523 1526 1511 1584 1562 1516 1453
Year 1911 1921 1926 1931 1936 1946 1954 1962 1968 1975
Population 1461 1275 1156 1043 949 988 818 786 756 700
Year 1982 1990 1999 2008
Population 760 791 814 943

Local Saints[edit]

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 close[edit]

Entrance to the parish close, showing the enclosing wall and gateway.

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 calvary or crucifix is the centre piece of the church yard, surrounded by a fine and complex retelling of the Passion in statuary. See Calvary at Guimiliau

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.


See also[edit]


External links[edit]