Plouescat and the Côte des Sables (Sandy Coast)
The magic of wide open spaces and long, sandy beaches
What a stunning range of maritime landscapes! Along the shoreline of Plouescat, between Roscoff and the ‘Aber’ estuaries, are sandy beaches, dune banks and piles of unusually shaped rocks - one breathtaking sight after another. This lovely line-up of landscapes reveals itself bit by bit, starting from a pretty fishing port and a seaside resort.
The jetty at Porsguen is framed by rocks that have been sculpted by the sea and wind into curvaceous shapes, and it’s at this port - so typical of the area - that the GR34 coastal footpath begins to wind its way along the beautiful 13 km shoreline of Plouescat. Wild dunes and fine sandy beaches are interspersed with little lagoon-like creeks. And piles of granite rocks take on the appearance of strange animals and faces, against the background of the turquoise water that’s so particular to the Côte des Sables. There are man-made stone creations too, such as the Neolithic covered grave that can be seen at low tide at Guinivrit.
A coast that’s pretty wild!
Golden-hued white is the dominant colour throughout the Keremma dunes. This vast bank of sand and grass has an untouched appearance, and the string of dunes is the largest in Brittany, running for over 5 km, and spanning a width of 500 to 1000 metres. You could almost launch a space-rocket from here! The ‘Maison des Dunes’ discovery centre and the trail itself are a great way to get to know the area’s history and wildlife, as you learn how the land was formed and discover the creatures and plants that live here: barnacle geese, shelducks and herons all nest amongst the orchids and sea-grasses.
A friendly heritage
This seaside resort is popular for get-togethers, family groups and couples, who like to enjoy the sand as they nurse their drinks on pretty café terraces. The church spire watches over the town’s heritage - and at 58 metres, this is the second highest in the Leon area after Saint-Pol de Leon. Close by is the covered market, Les Halles, also known as ‘Cohue’, whose striking timber roof has watched over many generations of market stalls since the 16th century.
The most satisfying meal by a long way
Exploring the area and breathing in the sea-air are sure to give you an appetite, and there are plenty of traditional Breton dishes to sample! This is where the Breton ‘far’ cake comes from. The sweet version is meltingly tender, giving sustenance to sailors and holidaymakers, while the savoury buckwheat version is lovingly cooked with a meat
Did you know?
Open air ovens, a specialty of the sea
Seaweed-gatherers, called ‘goémoniers’, have been plying their trade on this part of the Breton coast for many years. Seaweed ovens were built on the moors and in the dunes, to transform seaweed into soda bread. See if you can find the little stone-lined furrows in the ground!
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