Saturday 16th July – Welcome aboard for the island of Bréhat

On Saturday, the capitulants, associates, and those at the service of the Chapter were given a welcome day off in the form of an outing to Tréguier and the island of Bréhat. Join us on the coach as we set off to visit an atypical landscape, covered and uncovered with the rhythm of the moon and the tides.

Guided tour of the Cathedral of Tréguier

Our first port of call was the medieval town of Tréguier where we were treated to a guided tour of the cathedral. Dedicated to Saint Tugdual, the founding monk of Tréguier, the cathedral is considered to be one of the most beautiful religious buildings in Brittany. The first construction in Caen stone, schist, and granite began in the Romanesque style in the 10th century and ended with the inauguration of the Gothic cloister in 1470.

The 18th-century spire overlooks the whole town with a height of more than 60 m. Card game motifs can be found on the stone: a reference, it is said, to the lottery money which Louis XVI used to finance the construction! Construction began again after the building was vandalized during the French Revolution and the beautiful stained-glass windows are 20th century.

The tomb of Saint Yves is also to be found here. Normally thought of as the patron saint of advocates he is also prayed to by those who take to the sea. We took this prayer with us as we went on along the Goëlo coast to the bay of Launay and the point of Arcouest opposite the archipelago of the Bréhat islands.

A sailor’s prayer to Saint Yves

Saint Yves, you showed your power

by dominating the waters,

by saving numerous sailors in peril.

Look again today on those who pray to you.

May those who go to sea know that their

home port is near to God.

Taste our authentic regional flavours

Arriving at the Pointe de l’Arcouest, we lunched together at the restaurant, “Les Terrasses de Bréhat”, with its panoramic view of the coastline, and the island of Bréhat opposite. It gave us another way to get to know each other as we relaxed and talked together over a meal with “authentic and iodized flavours”.

2:30 pm, boarding for a tour of the archipelago of Bréhat

Didier Carlouër, the owner of the Bréhat boat company works hard to help his passengers discover the beauty of his native territory. The bay of Paimpol and the river of Trieux which opens onto the sea here are sheltered sites. But the sea around Brehat and its 96 islets, is another matter! There a sailor needs to be inventive and reactive as he seeks to work in harmony with the elements. Fortunately,  on Saturday we made the crossing at low tide with the islets well visible, allowing us to appreciate the strange shapes of the pink granite rocks. Even if it meant we had to make a long walk along the pier to join the boat!

A stopover between sky, land, and sea

After a tour around the archipelago, we had just the time for a short stopover on the main island. Bréhat is often called the “island of flowers”, due to its microclimate which allows exceptional coastal vegetation and Mediterranean plants to flourish – eucalyptus, palm trees, mimosas, fig-trees, etc.

The tidal mill

It is also a “special conservation zone” where everything possible is done to protect this exceptional environment. Among other measures put in place are :

  • a boat passenger tax paid annually to the island.
  • a restored tidal mill built by the monks in the 17th century that still produces flour.
  • extremely restricted use of vehicles on the island.

Passing from 350 residents in winter to more than 3000 in summer, the island shares the headache common to all the Breton islands of trying to balance tourism and heritage preservation. While we enjoyed an ice cream or the beautiful flowers, we had a living example in front of us to bring to our Chapter debates on ‘integral ecology’.

“Here I breathe, I aspire, here I am inspired”

Perhaps the composer, photographer, and writer, Phil Baron, has a message for us too when he writes this about Bréhat :

“Here nature is in movement, perpetually, tirelessly, obstinately.

Here women and men live looking at the sky and the sea, listening to what is beautiful and old, deep and new,

their feet on the ground, their hands in the hands of those who are there with them.

Here, serenity is made up of contrasts, complexities, changes ….

Thank you for a beautiful day

And so, we set off again, this time for our temporary “home” of Ile Blanche. We were content, lungs full of sea air and tired. Still, it was good tiredness after a perfect day of beautiful discoveries and good company.

Thank you on behalf of all the participants to those who organized the itinerary for the day, thank you to our coach driver who looked after us so attentively, and last but far from least :

“Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of your creation!”

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