St-Jacut and St-Cast
Competing saints’ capes
Named after different Dark Ages saints, the two lovely resorts of St-Jacut and St-Cast occupy dramatic capes that stick out from the Côte d’Emeraude either side of the Arguenon estuary. They used to be home to competing fishing communities, but now they vie with each other for tourists, each boasting splendid beaches.
An insular bunch
Named after a religious figure of Irish origin, the community on the near-insular headland of St-Jacut long stood apart, even developing its own dialect of French, Jéguin. As they had virtually no agricultural land, the people here fought bitterly with the inhabitants of St-Cast for their share of the mackerel catch. Very little remains of the abbey that once exercised a strong influence on the area. The main street, though, has retained its old houses built in narrow rows to protect them from the wind. Explore St-Jacut’s enchanting, contrasting ports and its 11 varied beaches that extend down either side of the peninsula. Some are better geared for families, others for lively water sports.
A splendid cast
It’s a Welsh monk who left his name to St-Cast, which has almost as many beaches as its neighbour, and a more spacious headland. There are a few old streets, as well as the more recent developments along this well-flowered promontory. St-Cast became a chic resort from the mid-19th century, hence the posh villas of the Quartier des Mielles and the Pointe de la Garde. A new deep-water marina was opened recently. From the port, embark on an outing along the coast. Or at low tide, explore the Baie de la Fresnaie, a favourite spot for gathering seashells.
Separating the two
Crossing the Arguenon River from one resort to the other, it’s hard to miss the picturesque ruins of the medieval Château du Guildo on the water’s edge, with a green theatre to the side, and a pretty estuary village opposite. They’re all a delight to stroll around. The little Ebihens archipelago is visible from both peninsulas. At low tide, you can walk out from St-Jacut to its main island on foot. It’s privately owned, but you can follow the track down the middle to the 17th-century watchtower.
Did you know?
In the mid-18th-century colonial wars between Britain and France,the terrible Battle of St-Cast of 1758 saw an invading British armyslaughtered as they tried to cross the Arguenon River.
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