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Report 1982: Megaliths, Parish Closes and Cider - Part 3 Northern Finistère
By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2011
Page 18 of 32: A Day Around the Abers - Iliz-Koz to Moguériec
From Plouguerneau we headed for the coast to visit Iliz-Koz. This had been the site of a medieval village. During the 18thC sand began to encroach and cover the houses. Eventually the inhabitants left and the sand covered the village. A new village was built in the mid 19thC. The old village was rediscovered in 1969 when a bulldozer was digging foundations for a new house. The ruins of the chapel, Presbytery and part of the graveyard have been excavated.
The site is not well signposted. We parked in a large car park by the sandy beach, where a small sign directs you down a track which is about five minutes walk to the site. There is a small, unsigned park by the site surrounded by a tall hedge with a partially hidden cross. There is a small ticket office. The custodian was showing a large group round the site when we arrived. We think he must have been describing every stone in detail as he took ages.
A graveyard with long flat grave stones surrounds the church. Carvings can still be made out on some of them - boat and anchor, spears, cross and two hands. The walls stand three to four feet high. There is a large porch on the south side with an attached ossuary to the side. Off the choir is a large chapel with graves of the Parscau Family. Beyond the church a stone paved lane with high stone walls leads through an archway to the remains of the Presbytery, which has the remains of a stone staircase, fireplace and windows.
Opening hours are quite restricted at the site. It was interesting to have seen but not worth planning a day around the opening times.
Further east along the coast is Ménéham. This was a small seaweed gathering, farming and fishing village which was almost deserted by the 1990s. It has now been immaculately restored and is a neat little village of stone houses with thatch or slate roofs. It has an inn and craft workshops. The remains of the old fields can still be seen round the village. On a Sunday, the area was very busy with parked cars everywhere. There seemed to be some sort of event as there were a lot of vintage cars. Musicians were playing in the village to a large crowd. We drove past and eventually found a large car park by the beach were we parked and walked along the coast.
It is a beautiful stretch of coast with sandy beaches, sand dunes and massive granite blocks stretching out to sea. It is good walking country. The 17thC Vauban watchtower is a small granite building with small windows tucked between two massive granite rocks.
Back on the main road we drove to Brignogan-Plages, a large settlement with no obvious centre and some thatched houses. We drove past a huge menhir with a cross carved on the top to Chapelle St-Pol, a 19thC stone building with a small calvary and surrounded by big rocks which had a lookout post on the top. There was nowhere safe to park so we continued to the end of the road at Pointe De Pontusvel where there is a small parking area. It has a nice sandy beach with a small lighthouse and keeper’s cottage on the headland. There are good views of the rocky beaches to Brignogan-Plages.
The stretch of coastline between Plages De Pors-Meur and Moguériec has some beautiful sandy beaches with grass covered headlands with granite rocks stretching out to sea. There are few harbours but apart from Moguériec where there were a few fishing boats, the rest are now marinas.
There is a large parking area in Kerfissien which has good views of the coastline and access to the coastal path. On the headland there is the remains of a sea weed kiln, a long narrow pit lined with granite slabs which was in use until 1955. Seaweed was burnt for 24 hours and the soda blocks were sold to a nearby factory to extract iodine for the pharmaceutical industry.
Le Grenouillére Headland at Théven Kerbrat makes a good walk. There are several massive rocks and a small stone granite 1744 guardhouse which was built as a relay point for transmissions between guardhouses along the coast in case of threat from enemy ships.
This stretch of coastline from Ménéham to Roscoff is most attractive. It hardly gets a mention in the guide books. We found it as attractive as the highly promoted Côte de Granit Rose but without the solid mass holiday villas and people.
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