Bretagne – Jour 2 – Quiberon

The second day in Bretagne started with a simple breakfast of toasted bread with butter and gelée (jelly literally, but I would have called it jam). We had two kinds, both homemade by Colete: mûre (blackberry) et rhubarbe (rhubarb). This goes along with some fromage blanc et café.

After breakfast was a short drive to Port Navalo, which is part of Arzon and the tip of the peninsula forming the Golfe du Morbihan. We parked and walked around the point.

Then was the journey further north up the coast to Quiberon. To get there, we had to drive around the Golfe, then pass by Vannes just to its northwest, then down towards Quiberon. If you use the link to Google maps, you need to zoom out and scroll Quiberon a little left to be able to see the entire route.

Below the isthmus is Saint-Pierre-Quiberon and below that Quiberon. We went down the westward side – the côte sauvage (literal translation is wild side). Here the sea has carved into the rocks of the shore making some nice looking, but dangerous, caverns.

Above you can see my hosts just ahead of me walking on the sand atop the rock out towards the edge. Just beyond them is a cut; they cannot really go any farther. If you could broad jump 4 m then you might be able to cross.

There is the occasional beach. The sign says swimming is not allowed. The current is pretty strong and there are waves. Yes, small waves (almost 1 m waves), but they are coming from a flat-as-glass sea. When there are real waves on the ocean, this beach takes a pounding. Yes, this is the wild side.

We stopped at a number of places along this westward side. One was a small port. There was a man bringing up his dingy. He had a basket of 4 or so large crabs that he had just caught. And another container with 3 or 4 pretty big fish. Jean-Yves is also a fisherman and stopped to talk to him. They seemed to discuss a lot. It was all in such rapid fire French I could get none of it.

Eventually, we got to the town of Quiberon at the tip. We had lunch at a restaurant where we could look out over the Atlantic. I had some type of fish which came with vegetables and small potatoes. We all had a glass of wine. We all had coffee at the end.

Then onward and up the eastern side, this side towards the Baie de Quiberon. The other side of the bay is Arzon, our starting point.

The first stop was at the Alignements de Carnac just outside Carnac. This is the biggest collection of megalithic stones I have ever seen. In scope it dwarfs anything else I know about.

Partway down a field, there is a path to a viewing tower. Looking one direction from the tower, you see five or six rows of menhirs stretching off into the distance. And, the end of the field you see in the above is not even their final extent!

The above is more detail of the stones looking a little more towards the road.

Then you can look in the other direction and see the rows going off into the distance the other way. And, yes, of course, right through a farm. The stones have been there for 4,000 to 6,000 years; the farm invaded the stones, not the other way around.

We then drove to another field beyond the farm you saw above. More and more menhirs all lined up. They go over the field’s rise and way beyond.

At this corner of the road is a dolmen. There is a fence by the road to protect things. I took a number of pictures to try to get a feeling for the size and extent of the dolmen.

It has more of a jumble look in the pictures than it does in person.

There are clearly side stones supporting cover stones.

In this you can see more tourists walking the road. It was not crowded, but there were people all about.

This is the same position as the previous picture, but I rotates around to look down the road the other way. Again the rows and rows of menhirs can be seen.

Now walking back on the road towards the parking spot. The dolmen is visible with the menhirs to its left.

One final picture of the menhirs stretching off into the distance.

At the visitor center, there was this map of the locations of the stones. Just left of center, roughly under the “Les” is the field where I took pictures of the dolmen and menhirs. As you can see, the alignments stretch way off to both sides from that point. Again, I have never seen so many megalithic stones in a single location.

If you visit in the off season, the fields are open to people walking in them. It would be a great time to spend a number of days slowly going over each area and walking down the alignments.

Leaving Carnac, we went to La Trinité-sur-Mer. This is a port town in the bay. There were four or so large racing sailboats docked along the piers. They were the trimaran style with a tall mast that is tear shaped to be completely dynamic in the wind. The outside hulls are such that only one could be in the water at one time. That is, depending on the tack, one would be supporting the boat and all else out of the water.

These are the permanent docking spaces for the racing sailboats. Each had a plaque describing the boat, the captain, the owning company, its accomplishments, etc. Lots of money involved with this type of racing.

From La Trinité-sur-Mer we went to Pointe de Kerpenhir just beyond Locmariaquer. This is way down the other side of the Golfe du Morhiban. On this point we were immediately across from Port Navalo.

In the above, I am standing on Pointe de Kerpenhir looking at Port Navalo. I later measured on a map and it is about 1 km from me to the lighthouse in the distance. And, yes, that is the lighthouse and point we walked around first thing this morning.

I joked the fastest way home was to swim across. My hosts countered that 1 km was pretty far and that the current was quite strong. The tide goes up an down about three or four meters and all of the Golfe passes through this restriction to or from the Atlantic.

From Pointe de Kerpenhir we went to Auray. Auray is way up an arm of the Golfe du Morbihan. It is a very old city and port. The main (old town) quai is named Quai Franklin after Benjamin Franklin. He went to France in 1776 to try to get France to officially recognize the US and become their ally. The tavern where the negotiations were held is still there on the quai. There is a plaque on it to commemorate the event. I also saw a different plaque talking about some thing Cardinal Richelieu did in Auray. The town has quite a history.

After Auray it was the long drive back to Arzon.

After being able to sit a while, catch up with email, etc., we walked to dinner. We walked around Port du Crouesty to a crêperie. Port du Crouesty is in Arzon and where the Hervé’s keep their boat.

I had a seafood galette. It was a mix of many seafood items and very good. Colette had a scallop galette. Jean-Yves has a traditional galette with jambon, fromage, oeuf, et champignons. We shared a pichet of cidre to drink. For dessert we had sweet crêpes. Mine had caramelized apple with toasted almonds and Chantilly cream. That was Jean-Yves choice as well.

Then we walked a little more around the port and finally back home.

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