The abers and the lighthouse trail
The gentle landscape versus the power of the sea
There’s a sublime quality to the scenery along the Côte des Abers, also called the Côte des Légendes. Here, sea meets untamed coastline and the tides make inroads into the green landscape. Majestic lighthouses keep watch at the entrance to these havens of peace, which you can reach on foot or by yacht.
Tides that merge with fields!
The indentations of the abers create an intricate pattern in the Breton countryside, and each one has its treasures. Aber Wrac’h is a place of contrasts, where the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels) lies next to the Pont du Diable (Devil’s Bridge). The mouth of the bay, guarded by many little islands, is a peaceful area for ramblers or windsurfers. Aber Benoît, snaking along between fields and tree-lined riverbanks, is famous for its delicious oysters. They’re a great way to finish a walk in the salty sea air! Aber Ildut, between the Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel, provides a natural shelter for boats and is always accessible. It can be reached by a cliff-top walk along a coastline that’s a mixture of rocks, sand dunes and creeks.
Panoramic views lit up by lighthouses
This ocean headland in Finistère has one of the highest concentrations of lighthouses in France. There are 392 steps to get to the top of the Ile Vierge lighthouse, an 84-metre granite tower clad with opaline glass on the inside. Your efforts are rewarded by an amazing view! Looking across to the resort of Porspoder, the imposing lighthouse known as the Phare-dungeon du Four seems to rise up out of the foam. The lighthouse of Ile Wrac’h, whose adjoining lighthouse keeper’s house has been turned into an exhibition space, keeps watch over the entrance to the aber. The black-capped Pontusval lighthouse guides sailors through the seas off Brignogan-Plages.
A unique maritime heritage
Ports and seaside resorts are linked by the GR 34 long-distance footpath, making the abers full of life. Saint-Pabu, for example, is famed for its long beaches of fine sand. Heading away from the Saint-Laurent peninsula, the coastal path takes you to the curiously designed Port du Mazou. Its harbour operates on the principle of wooden stakes. Boats are moored to tree trunks standing in the sand, against a backdrop of picturesque houses. At Lanildut, the ship-owners’ fine residences, often called the corsairs’ houses or Englishmen’s houses, illustrate the port’s prosperity in the 17th and 18th centuries. Nowadays it’s Europe’s number one port for sea-kelp. The village is reviving this activity, which at one time involved building kelp ovens on the shingle. Between May and October, boats unload their cargo of kelp, Brittany’s black gold.
Did you know?
What can you do with a scoubidou?
In the past, barges and sailboats used to harvest kelp using a long sickle. These days, kelp gatherers use a hydraulic ‘scoubidou’, which is a steel rod with a hook at the end. The seaweed they harvest has pharmaceutical, cosmetic and culinary uses.
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