Pointe de Combrit, Sainte Marine, & Benodet

Just down the road from our gîte at Gouesn’ach are two popular coastal holiday resorts on opposite sides of the Odet RiverSainte-Marine and Benodet. They are both good for a stroll, an ice cream, or an evening drink, and both have plenty of eateries.

The Pointe de Combrit is just that – the edge of the land at Sainte-Marine. The views are wonderful. I understand this little building was an 18C lookout and part of much larger coastal fortifications to protect the country against invasion. Later it was used as a customs post. Today there is a carpark and the area is a reserve for leisure activities.

The Customs Post, Pointe de Combrit

The Customs Post, Pointe de Combrit

The coast at POinte de Combrit

The sea at Pointe de CombritPointe de Combrit

Pointe de Combrit

Sainte-Marine was one of the many small fishing villages along this coast, with a church, and eventually a shelter for sailors, the Abri. Life was very hard for the fishermen and Jacques de Thézac wanted to help them and their families, reduced to poverty by the sardine crisis of the late 19C and early 20C. Sainte-Marine was connected to Benodet in 1888 with a pontoon ferry which became a steam ferry in 1911 and remained the only means of crossing the river until 1972 when the Cornouaille Bridge was built. The buildings in the old photographs can still be identified and the site of the ferry crossing is quite clear from the old port in Sainte-Marine.

the-port-of-sainte-marine-at-beginning-20c (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sainte-Marine-1.jpg)
The Port of Sainte-Marine at the beginning of the 20c (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sainte-Marine-1.jpg)
Abri des Marins, Sainte-Marine, early 20C (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sainte-Marine_010_L%27abri_du_marin.JPG)
Abri des Marins, Sainte-Marine, early 20C (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sainte-Marine_010_L%27abri_du_marin.JPG)
sleeping-in-the-audierne-abri-c-1914 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:La_salle_de_couchage_de_l%27Abri_du_marin_d%27Audierne_vers_1914.jpg)
Sleeping in the Audierne Abri, c.1914 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:La_salle_de_couchage_de_l%27Abri_du_marin_d%27Audierne_vers_1914.jpg)
the-sainte-marine-ferry (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte-Marine_(Combrit)#/media/File:Archives_bac_B%C3%A9nodet.jpg)
The Sainte-Marine Ferry (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sainte-Marine_(Combrit)#/media/File:Archives_bac_B%C3%A9nodet.jpg)
The Port of Sainte-Marine today
The Port of Sainte-Marine today
Abri of Sainte-Marine
Abri of Sainte-Marine
The old ferry crossing between Sainte-Marine & Benodet
The old ferry crossing between Sainte-Marine & Benodet
The bridge of Cornouaille over the Odet River
The bridge of Cornouaille over the Odet River

Benodet was a successful commercial port in the Middle Ages, servicing Quimper. Today it is mainly a holiday and tourist resort.

Benodet harbour

The Church of St Thomas at the port is dedicated, perhaps surprisingly, to St Thomas à Becket. The original church is 13C and consisted of just the nave and a small bell tower, with later enlargements, some of which can be easily seen in the photograph below.

Benodet harbour with the Church

The Church of St Thomas, Benodet
The Church of St Thomas, Benodet

 

The Church of St Thomas a Becket, Benodet

And so we came to the end of another lovely day in Brittany.

Further information
The sardine crisis of the 19C & early 20C

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