Presqu’Île de Crozon
This craggy outcrop of land shaped like a long-robed
giant, arms outstretched to defend bays and roadsteads, is the central feature of Finistère's torn chaos of estuaries and promontories. Nowhere else, except maybe Pointe du Raz, does the sea and the
coastline reach such heights of grim beauty, with giddying steepness of cliffs, colouration of the rock and the fury of the sea breaking on the reefs.
There are many ways of reaching this sublime peninsula:
By ferry from Brest to Le Fret; this 30 minute journey takes you around the tip of the Presqu’Île de Plougastel, with views of the lighthouses at Pointe de Espanols and Pointe de Kerdéniel, Île Trébéron and Île Longue. Please no taking photographs of Île Longue, it’s our nuclear submarines and photography is prohibited. You arrive in Le Fret, a delightful village with a small port on the northern side of the peninsula, almost unfettered by the tourist trade, with views panoramic of Rad de Brest.
By car: There are two options, firstly via
Plougastell-Daoulaz, if you are coming from Brest, with its Calvary depicting the torment of Katel Gollet (Katherine the Damned), in this case being raped by devils. A more sympathetic sculpting of
Katel can be found at Gwimilio. Then after passing Le Faou and crossing the Pont de Térénez and the An Ster Aon (Aulne River), you will see, to your left, Ménez Hom (“at the giant's feet”), a
veritable mountain as far as we are concerned. Make a detour to visit it, walk up from the car park to the trig point for superb views of across the peninsulas – land and water alternating out to the
Having taken a break at Ménez Hom, go back to the main road and make your way to Kraozon (Crozon), an ideal place for lunch in the town square - Restaurant Le Cornouaille serves a very appetizing light lunch for around 12€ - traditional local cuisine using local produce, and do not forget to try the local cidré – superb. The town (along with neighbour Morgat [this is the place for ice-cream - Les Échoppes serves 60 different flavours – try the raspberry and violet flavour –sublime]) has an attractive beach, and is very well known for the music festivals it holds, such as the 'Festival du bout du Monde' - indeed Morgat beach is one of the best to found around the Brittany coast.
After lunch you have alternatives, Camaret-sur-Mer, the Alignements de Lagatjar and the lighthouses at Pointe de Penhir and Pointe de Dinan or Plages de Lostmarc'h et la Palue and Cap de la Chèvre. The former is a delightful 25 kilometre round trip from Kraozon with plenty to see.
At Camaret, an important spiny lobster
port, you should take time to visit Château Vauban, a massive tower built in the 17th century on Silon Point. It was here, in 1801, that the American engineer Fulton carried out the first submarine
experiments. Now take the road to Pointe du Toulinguet and the lighthouse, the views are amazing. Heading for Point de Penhir, you will pass the Alignements de Lagatjar, three lines of menirs
(standing stones), large white quartz stones on open common land that stretch for around 200 metres. Please do not step on the wild orchids that grow amongst the stones. Now Pointe du Penhir is a
wonderful place with a very large stone cross - Monument aux Bretons de la France Libre, also known as Croix de Pen-Hir erected on the cliff top, which is inscribed “Kentoc'h mervel eget em zaotra”
(Rather death than defilement). It is like heaven on earth, panoramic views abound: To your left is Pointe de Dinan, below is Tas du Pois (Grand Dahouët, Petit Dahouët, Penn-Glaz (tête verte),
Chelott, Bern-Id et Ar Forc'h (la Fourche) tiny islands in a line heading away for the coast. Formally known as Pézeaux ou Tas de Foin and to the right Pointe de St-Mathieu and Pointe du Toulinguet.
On a clear day is possible to see Pointe du Raz, Enez Euza (Île de Sein), Molène and Enez Eusa (Île Ouessant).
If you enjoy scrambling over rocks you should take the path to the left of the monument, half way down the path there is a view of a tiny cove and a path which leads to a cavity covered with a rock beyond which is Chambre Vert , a grassy plateau.
At Cap de la Chèvre is where Brittany dips its toes in the Atlantic Ocean. Here you are facing the north side of Cap Sizun and the Baie de Douarnenez. This is a wild, huge landscape with stone-built houses scattered amongst the heath, heather and maritime pines. At the tip is the Naval Signal Station (not open to the public), goes round it to the derelict German observation post – the views are breathtaking!!! There is also a memorial in the form of an aircraft wing stuck in the ground which commemorates Naval Aviators who were killed or missing on active service over the Atlantic and Scandinavia. Names are inscribed on the walls of the semi-circular trench around the monument.
The alternative is a leisurely drive though narrow lanes to the Plages de Lostmarc'h et la Palue and Cap de la Chèvre - a fascinatingly diverse - environment that provides a wide range of animals and plants that attract people to the area, perhaps above all the seabirds, for example: guillemots that are to be seen throughout the region. There are several sections of dramatic coastline where you can have very good views down the cliffs to the sea beyond. Most of the coastline is protected, especially the almost-deserted beaches and dunes at Lostmarc’h and Palue which have a dramatic semi-wild landscape -exquisite places to sit and watch the seabirds but please think again if you are tempted to go for a swim. The tides here are unpredictable; swimming is very dangerous as there are tidal pools, small ponds that form naturally on the beach. It seems like the perfect spot to splash about. However, during the first three hours of rising tides, they becomes invisible, and strong currents formed in the pond’s gully can drag even the best swimmers out to sea. The only way to avoid drowning is: do not panic, let yourself be carried along. An even better way: don’t swim in prohibited areas, we become very upset when our visitors are drowned because they have ignored the warning signs.