The gulf is actually an inland sea with many islands and is connected only by a narrow passage with the Atlantic. Between the headlands, the tidal currents are extremely strong. When the tide comes in, the water rushes through the passage with speeds up to 12 km/h. The marinas in the gulf therefore employ pilots, who safely bring boaters back to the open sea. The mudflats of the gulf form a special habitat, which is populated mainly in the winter by hundreds of thousands of geese, ducks and waders. In the area there is a rare abundance of prehistoric monuments: standing stones, dolmens, tumuli and stone circles are evidence of a mysterious pre-Celtic civilization, whose age is estimated up to 6000 years.
Medieval old town in the Atlantic
The Breton call it Gwenrann, but hte town with 15,000 inhabitants is no longer part of Brittany. It belongs to the Pays de la Loire. The medieval old town lies on a peninsula in the Atlantic Ocean. It is enclosed by a well preserved 1,500 meter long city wall with four gates. Guérande owes its rise to the salt fields, which still make up about a quarter of the municipal area. Fleur de Sel is the name given to the precious sea salt, which on hot days accumulates as a thin layer on the surface of the water and is skimmed off. History and technology of salt extraction are presented in the Musée des Marais Salants in Batz-sur-Mer.
Riddles about 7,000-year-old stones
More than 3,000 stone standing upright in loose rows at Carnac have been fascinating archaeologists for centuries. Some of the stones have already been set up 7,000 years ago, before the pyramids or stone buildings in India and China have been built. So the stones have not been erected by the Druids, as it was supposed in the 19th century. They are the masterpiece of an unknown, pre-Celtic, Western European Stone Age people, which left nothing but enormous stone settings. Menhirs are found everywhere on the west coast of Europe from Spain to Scotland, but nowhere as many as in Carnac. Legends and myths entwine around the stones. Christian missionaries took them for a devil's work and carved crosses in them. Healers and witches tried to cure infertility with their help. Even today you can see women who rub their bellies on the stones at full moon. Despite countless theories, nobody will be able to fathom the original meaning. Only Flaubert's sentence is certain: “The stones of Carnac are big stones.”
France's answer to Rothenburg
On a rugged rock surrounded by woods and heather lies one of the most beautiful villages in France. Geraniums and ivy grow on ancient stones. Cobbled streets are lined with cute timber houses. Imaginative signboards indicate that meanwhile many artists have settled in the car-free city centre, painting, drawing and selling their products. Most picturesque are the Place du Puits and the Rue Saint-Michel. The pen church and castle ruins are witnesses to a significant past. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle, you better visit the place early in the morning.