A picture-perfect port
Once one of the busiest ports in Brittany, picture-perfect St-Goustan is now one of the most popular sites in Morbihan. Enjoy lunch in a waterside restaurant while admiring the half-timbered houses before joining a boat trip around the gulf or crossing the stone bridge to explore Auray.
Originally a fishing port on the estuary of the River Loc’h, St-Goustan reached its zenith in the 18th century when the port became a centre for boat building. It was during this time that St-Goustan received its most famous visitor, Benjamin Franklin, who arrived here in December 1776 from the United States en route to Paris to ask France for help in the American War of Independence; one of the quays is now named after him. The port itself is named after the patron saint of sailors and fishermen.
On the waterfront
The main reason to visit St-Goustan is to take a walk around the quays and along the riverbanks before enjoying a waterside lunch in one of the many restaurants that line the port. St-Goustan owes its allure to the density of half-timbered houses, some of which date back to the 15th century; the imposing Église St-Sauveur was constructed in 1434. The quays regularly host book and craft fairs and in September there’s a lively oyster festival.
From June to September visitors can join a boat here to take a trip around the little islands in the Gulf of Morbihan, although landlubbers might prefer to explore the town of Auray. Cross the narrow stone bridge, which has linked the two banks of the Loc’h since the 13th century, and then make your way up Les Rampes du Loc’h – a specially built walkway that leads up the hill to the site where the château once stood; the views back over the port are worth the climb.
The best – and most chaotic in terms of parking – day to visit Auray is on Monday when a market takes over the town centre. The main sites are the 18th-century town hall and the 17th-century Église St-Gildas, which has an impressive porch and houses a sculpted wooden organ.
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