The current church (Notre-Dame-des-Portes in French) dates back to 1892. It replaced an older one (it remains a stained-glass window, 15th c.): it was in fact, the church of the castle of Châteauneuf!
Notre-Dame-des-Portes was named after a small statue of the Virgin Mary, displaying on the city’s ramparts during the war of Religion, to protect Châteauneuf’s inhabitants. Did it work? Err, we don’t know, but the terrible crook La Fontenelle passed by Châteauneuf, so we wonder!
The Breton settled here and plundered the little town. You know what? Another crook, Yves du Liscouët, plundered Châteauneuf at the same time. He had about 300 men at his service, only Protestant guys. Some of them went towards the chapel of Our-Lady.
Inside, they forced the tabernacle and found a sacred host. One Huguenot took it, threw it on the ground and wanted to crush it, but a priest turned up. He took the host and received Communion! Furious, the Protestant insulted the priest and stabbed him with his knife...
In short! The small statue of Mary was found in the trunk of a big oak. A legend says that some nights, in the wood surrounding the church, we can see Notre-Dame-des-Portes roaming in her immaculate dress, with a bright halo around her… An apparition synonym of luck and wealth, says gossip!
The pardon? A typically Breton religious celebration! The one of Our-Lady-of-Doors was immortalized by the nabi painter Paul Sérusier (Gauguin’s pal, who settled in Châteauneuf).
It takes place every year in August, on 3 days. We have a pardon for the sick persons, then a Mass in Breton, then a procession where our Virgin is carried by men, then the next day by women...