Monday, 16 January 2017

What's so special about this beach?

    This is the Plage des Grands Sables on the Ile de Groix (Finistère, Brittany). 

The Île de Groix [Breton: Enez Groe] is 7km long and 3km wide making it Brittany's second largest island. Lorient is only 14km away and several ferries a day sail to and from the mainland. 
The name comes from Breton- Cornish: grou(an), gro(en), sand’, ‘pebble’, ‘gravel’, ‘shingle’ [Welsh: gro(eon)].

It was first settled by Saint Tudy, a 6thC disciple of Saint Guenolé at Landévennec, who also founded monasteries at St Tudy (Cornwall), Loctudy and Landudec (Finistère).

Île Tudy [Breton: Enez Tudy] (Finistère) is named after him too - but despite its name it is actually a peninsula. 

Île de Groix is famous for three things:
1. Pointe des Chats in the southeast is a geologial treasure trove with more than 60 different minerals including the rare green-blue glaucophane. 

Pointe des Chats
2. Pen Men-Beg Melen boasts magnificent grassy cliffs with colonies of rare marine birds.
Pen Men-Beg Melen
3. Glorious and unusual beaches. Plage des Grands Sables is the most famous because it is the only convex beach in Europe. It is also moving along the coast: during the last 15 years, the beach has moved ½km west. 

Gronant, Groix's namesake in Wales, is similarly endowed. Its dunes are now a nature reserve and represent the last surviving remnant of an extensive sand dune system along the North Wales coast.

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