From the ‘Trou du Serpent’ (Serpent’s Hole) to the Georges Delaselle Garden
If you take the coast path you can walk around the island in half a day. There are plenty of trails for cyclists that will take you to one of the 20-or-so beaches, many of which face south. At the ‘Serpent’s Hole’ the landscape is rugged, with its imposing granite boulders. According to legend, Saint Pol threw the dragon that had been terrorising the island into the waves. After you’ve passed through the agricultural centre of the island and stopped off at Pors Kernoc Bay, the anchorage for the fishing fleet, spend some time in the Georges Delaselle Garden. The mild climate has allowed more than 2,000 exotic plants to grow here, from the four corners of the globe.
A land of migrations and ancient settlements
A few remains from a former Bronze Age burial ground show that people lived here at least 5,000 years ago, when this low-lying island (Batz means ‘low’) was probably still attached to the mainland. In the 6th century, a monastic community was founded here by a Welsh monk, Paul Aurélien, who was to become the first bishop of Léon. On the site of the monastery you can admire the ruins of the later church of Sainte-Anne. This little piece of land was on a migration route and was frequently pillaged.
Seaweed harvesting, agriculture and maritime trade
At the beginning of the 17th century, the gradual silting up of the island’s eastern areas prevented the cultivation of flax and hemp, intended for the cloth industry. Seaweed then became the island’s only resource. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Batz became really wealthy, thanks to its sailors who criss-crossed the seven seas. The beautiful, two-storey stone houses that you can see around the island, surrounded by their high walls, are evidence of the good fortune of these long-distance captains. The church, the semaphore station, the mole and the lighthouse were also built during this period. It’s well worth climbing the 44-metre-high lighthouse to see the panoramic views from the top.