Like the last Brittany/Normandy road trip pictures, these pictures all feature the Brittany coastline between the towns of Cancale and Saint-Malo. I was trying to figure out if these pictures belong to the Emerald Coast of Brittany, a stretch of coast in Brittany named for the color of the sea which appears to be a greenish emerald on certain days. However, it seems that the term is used rather loosely so I am going to go out on a limb and say that yes, this is still a part of the Emerald Coast. Why not? It sounds better than the “nameless stretch of Brittany coast we drove along.”
I managed to snap a picture of this policeman riding a horse as we drove by. I know you only see one of them in the picture, but there were two officers each riding a horse. My grandfather explained that in certain places in rural France, the police patrol their territory on horses! I’m assuming the local police force uses cars too, but I was unaware that places outside of big cities also used horses! (I’ve seen the NYPD on horses in New York City and also in Madrid, especially near the Prado).
This island located not even a half mile from the coast really intrigued me. You can clearly see the rampart walls from the beach facing it and right behind the walls there is a house. Through some very clever Google Map stalking if I do say so myself, I figured out that the island is called Fort du Guesclin. However, there is very little information about this place online, apart from a brief article on French Wikipedia.
While I was there, it was high tide and the island was closed off from the mainland. However, it seems at low tide, the island becomes accessible from the beach and people are able to venture for a closer look. From what I can tell though, the island remains private property. The first fortifications on Fort du Guesclin date from 1026, if Wikipedia is to be believed. The island went through several noble families, including Vauban, a genius military engineer and Maréchal de France under Louis XIV. In the 1800s, it went from being a military fortress to a private home. From 1959 to 1968, the house was owned by French singer Léo Ferré.
In 1996, it was bought by the heirs of Leo Ferre who have owned it ever since.
If you want a better look at the island and its house, I found an incredible 360 degree virtual tour here. I highly recommend taking a look if you are as curious as I was to see what it feels like to actually be on the island. It’s like Google Maps street view, only a thousand times more crisp and clear–you actually feel like you are standing on the island itself walking around, complete with the sound effects of seagulls’ cries.
The following pictures document the rest of the coast we drove along that morning. I tried to zoom in on the second to last pictures, to disastrous effects since my current camera has a horrible zoom. The concrete structure that looms over the upturned rowboats leaning on the beach? I’m not 100% positive, but I’m pretty sure that’s another German blockhaus–used by the Nazis during World War II to keep an eye out for the Allies on the coast.
If any of you know more information about Fort du Guesclin, I’m all ears! The only information I could find was on French Wikipedia and it was very scant.