Monday, September 15, 2014

The Savage Coast

The Breton Coast, la côte sauvage, is much like the coast of northern California--craggy rocks, wind, spectacular views bordering the edge of the water, swaths of green right to the edge. The tides surpass northern California's in their extremes.  I have read that the tides in Brittany are the highest in Europe. And they are at their highest in March and September.  The reach of the tide can be as much as 39 feet.  At low tide, the beaches are vast.

We arrived in Larmor-Plage in time for lunch and innocently pulled into the last parking space in a very small lot with perhaps 12 spaces and walked blithely away from the car as if that space had been specially reserved for us.  On Saturday at around noon there was a sprinkling of people on the beach--some small children with their parents, some couples with dogs, some sitting, some playing.  But the beach was not crowded.  The view out to sea, the island L'Ile de Groix is small but busy.  We watched the ferry returning to Lorient across the river. 

We enjoyed our first bona fide French lunch seated facing the sea and loving the view.  Our neighbors had finished a dessert that looked wonderful and I coudn't help asking if they enjoyed it.  Their enthusiasm clearly cast a "yes" vote and we decided to order the same thing at the end of our meal.
Chocolate mousse, crème brûlée, apple tart, chantilly, coffee

This couple was full of information about the area, including facts about the WW II German submarine base that is up the river just a bit. The base has been featured in some films, including the Highlander series.  After lunch we drove up the river and viewed the base from the other side.  It's a behemoth of a structure and looks all the world like something built in East Germany during the cold war.  

As the afternoon waned, we watched people streaming to the beach and when we left the area, the beaches were covered with bodies.  Perhaps their weekends didn't start until late afternoon on Saturday.  The weather was warm and the sun shone, making the beach most appealing. But we were looking forward to a good night's sleep to catch up on the jet lag and instead returned to the hotel to be ready for the next day's adventures.

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