Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Île de Bréhat

The Île de Bréhat (bray-ha) lies a kilometer or so off the tip of our current peninsula. It has 440-odd permanent residents, and a large population of day-trippers. We went there and walked around today.

We caught the 8:15 (first) ferry, at which time there was a fog bank obscuring the island.

It did not seem unusual that the boat was a few steps from the land. Almost everyone on the boat seemed to be going to the island to work. Only a group of four French women with backpacks were clearly tourists, and we saw them often later, as we walked along at our varying paces.

Debarking with (mostly) workers, just a few steps from land. Can you think why this might be odd?

The Ile has only about 4 square kilometers of ground (equal to Henry Island in the San Juans). It is rocky with many outcrops of the characteristic pink granite of the region. The many houses on the island are mostly built of this stone, and there are a number of examples of very fine stone-masonry.

Note how the stones of many shapes are laid to create precise horizontal bands.

Some early masons were justifiably proud of their work.

"COLIN FLOURI.MA.FAICT.FAIRE 1611" (Colin Flouri I made it well, 1611)

There's a village square with a rather odd little church. It's a working church, at least it had a schedule of masses, but it has a weathervane not a cross. This is its tower.

Once past the village one is just on a pleasant country ramble. There are many little lanes between people's gardens and fields.

There are little coves with boats.

There are many nice houses. This in particular was an adorable cottage with a beautiful garden.

It seemed as if one of the island's many tractors was coming down your lane every 20 minutes or so.

Here, a walking tour group from the 11:30 boat meets "le petit train de Brehat," a one-car train drawn by a tractor (40-minute ride, €8).

Eventually, after ambling 5 or 6 kilometers, one reaches the northern extremity where there is a lighthouse.

Here we sat for a while and ate an orange, eyed by a seagull.

We think this may be Miles, from San Francisco. (Old SF joke.)

And admired rocks and water.

Yacht bound for England, perhaps.

Now we started back. In the village square we had a very pleasant lunch at one of the restaurants and then we walked down to the ferry pier where we had debarked this morning (see above).

Wait, where's the water? And where will the 3pm ferry be?

We had wondered why the map showed three different ferry docks. Now we figured it out.

To catch the low-water ferry, walk another kilometer.

And, when we got off, we were another long way from land.

A really long way from land.

We half-seriously joked that they should charge less for a low-water trip, because we did at least half of the crossing on foot!

That was it for the day. Tomorrow, on to another place in Brittany. For a number of pictures of Bréhat and other places out of Paimpol, you can browse our Paimpol Gallery.

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