Paimpol & the Sillon de Talbert

Trip Start Aug 02, 2012
Trip End Aug 02, 2013

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Flag of France  , Brittany,
Thursday, May 16, 2013

Waking up to the sound of pouring rain, all thoughts of taking a boat ride and wandering around the Île de Bréhat for the whole day quickly vanished. Instead, we had relaxing morning and waited for the rain to stop before venturing into Paimpol, about 8 km away.  After stopping at the TI to pick up some information on the region and confirm tide schedules, we browsed the menus at numerous restaurants, not finding any that really appealed.Instead, we wandered around the port town browsing the shops of various local artists. One painter whose work we really liked started chatting with us and soon began to show us pictures on her computer of all the things in the area. About an hour after arriving in Paimpol, we drove out to the ruins of the Abbaye de Beauport. We took a short stroll around the abbey and along the coastline, where we happened on the zero-kilometer marker for the Santiago de Campostella, an 1800 km pilgrims' trail that ends in north-western Spain.

By this time, it was nearing low tide so we then set off to visit the Sillon du Talbert, a spit of crushed rock and sand that juts about three kilometers into the ocean. Here is a brief description of the site:

               "Some 20,000 years ago, sea level was some 120 meters lower than it is today. The beach around the Sillon was exposed to freezing which broke up the rocks and produced a large volume of stones. The subsequent warm period between 12,000 and 6,000 years ago caused a rapid rise in sea level. The waves and currents gradually moved the rock fragments along the shore, breaking them into shingle and building them up into banks. In places larger blocks of harder granite provided fixed points on which the banks came to rest. Little by little, as it rose higher, the sea pushed back the banks, which fused to form the Sillon de Talbert."

It is hard to get a sense of the enormity of this most unique, natural formation. The tide was heading out and so we started walking out along the Sillon to have a look around. We’d gotten a few hundred meters along when we noticed that there were dark, slate coloured rain clouds gathering all around us and at certain points on the horizon, you couldn’t make out where the cloud ended and the ground started. We really wanted to just keep walking out along the spit and explore the area but we weren’t too keen on getting caught several kilometers out in a downpour and high winds with no shelter in sight. So we turned around, disappointed that our visit had been cut short, and visited the small information center that explained a bit more about the Sillon. As we were heading back to camp, the first drops of rain started to come down. We made it back to camp and immediately took down all our drying laundry. We hunkered down in the van with a cup of tea, waiting for the downpour, as we caught up on blogs and did some further planning for our trip. 
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