As I reach the south eastern coast of Brittany, I hit another nuance of the marches…
The gulf of Morbihan is an incredible natural harbour, where sea and land endlessly meet. Marshes and silt banks alternate with small beaches, and estuaries where the sailing boats are moored. Straights, with strong currents and dangerous whirlpools at each tide, carve islands and islets. It is wonderfully pretty.
Attracted by the scenery and the weather, sunnier and warmer than on the north coast, the new invaders are hordes of tourists. Labelled “Parisians” by the locals, although they are not all from Paris, they have built and bought up holiday houses on every piece of dry land. Thankfully the houses tend to keep the traditional, sensible, stern Breton look, with slate roofs and white washed walls. If they haven’t bought a house, tourists come in their camper-vans. Every nook and cranny of the coast shelters sailing boats.
Even the famous Côte Sauvage, “Wild Coast”, on the Quiberon peninsula, isn’t so wild anymore. The cliffs and the sea are as spectacular as they have always been, but the locals have had to contend with, and cater for, huge numbers of tourists. Further along, you find Atlantic interminable beaches and sand dunes. Mass tourism has arrived here too, and the waves are a wonderful playground for surfers and kite surfers in the winter, and beach-goers in the summer. The locals, eager to sell their wares, grit their teeth and sell their wares. Trade and friction.
You have to follow the coast westwards, beyond Lorient, to enter deep Brittany.