A surprise round every cove
Utterly charming little ports, like oyster-farming La Roche Jaune, or Port-Blanc, the latter with white-painted rocks to help sailors steer safely into harbour, make the most of the protected corners along this coast. However, extraordinary rocks pile up all around, on land as well as out to sea. At the very northern tip of the peninsula, known either as Castel Meur or the Pointe du Château, one of the most picturesque houses in Brittany stands sensationally sandwiched between two vast boulders. The Maison du Littoral nearby explains the extraordinary rocky environment.
West along the coast from Castel Meur, the Gouffre de Plougrescant is a forbidding natural phenomenon where water and wind often combine to howl through the gashes in the rocks. Shingle bars protect a couple of salty pools around which rare marine fauna flourishes, much appreciated by seabirds. Dense scatterings of tiny islands make the sea around the Plougrescant peninsula perilous, for example the Er archipelago in the Jaudy estuary. At low tide, some of these islets are reachable on foot, though. As to the separate Ile Loaven, locals went there to venerate a model of Dark Ages motherhood closely associated with the spot, Saint Eliboubane.
Painted saint’s life
Eliboubane was the mother of Gonéry, another saintly figure to emerge from the ranks of Dark Ages immigrants from Britain to Brittany. A wonderfully quirky medieval chapel was erected in his name at the village of Plougrescant. Saint-Gonéry looks like a building in a cartoon, crooked but delightful. Inside, the 15th-century wall paintings are cartoonish too, but the Biblical stories are told with such charming detail, and against such gorgeous patterned backdrops, that they are truly memorable.