Wednesday, November 04, 2009

St Brieuc, Port le Légué.

This is the river mouth and old port area of St Brieuc, which is our departmental town.  Of all the department capitals of Brittany, St Brieuc is probably the least well known and least glamorous.  But it can grow on you.

The port has a varied history, at different times timber from the Baltic, linen from the interior, shale and marle, building stuff, fishing vessels, all kinds of things passed through it, and there are people from all over the world whose families have been established there for ages.  I don't know a huge amount about it.  Sometime in the sixties I think, they built a massive flyover to carry the route nationale.  It towers over the port settlement, but makes surprisingly little noise.  It give one the sense of being in some land of the giants, and somehow makes me think of a Terry Gilliam animation.

Le Légué is coming up in the world.  There are some chic restaurants, art galleries and a few trendy shops, and they've tried to establish it as a yachting marina.  But it's still a working port, its topography and tidal movements are not suited to day tripping and large pleasure craft, so happily, it will never be a resort of the very rich in their floating gin palaces.  The sailing craft that moor up there are mostly quite modest, the arty folk that are establishing themselves there seem a down-to-earth and homely bunch, and plenty of people look like they've always been there.  There's an industrious feel about it; it insists on being itself, though it's happy to scrub up nicely.

Last week, we ended up there, rather by hazard.  We'd had a late-ish night feeding some friends (the lateness more to do with our finishing off the wine and lounging about after the washing-up, too lazy to go to bed, than the riotousness of the assembly), and when we got up, Tom said 'Let's go out.  If we stay home we'll fritter the day.  Lunch at the Green Cafe.'

Uncertain whether I wanted a meal out after the night before, but knowing I needed one or two things, and inclined to take advantage of my often stay-at-home other half's cheerful impulse, we went, and actually chipolatas and chips were rather good comfort food.  Instead of the usual paper menus as placemats at the Green Cafe, there were flyers advertising a themed week on the subject of the Arctic, down at le Le Rosengart, a restaurant and conference centre very tastefully converted from an former boatbuilding building at the port (the building on the left of the river in the picture).  The film and lectures we weren't really up for, but there was an exhibition of photographs, so off we went.

The photos, large black and white blow-ups of Greenland were only really a quick browse.  Some were stunning, but there was a slight element of romantic ethnography about Inuit life, in particular the hunting of polar bears, which made us a bit uncomfortable.  I know tribal people in harsh environments have to hunt... but anyway.

So we wandered on. And indulged in one of our favourite activities, looking at boats.

And boaty things,

many of which were blue.

The Scotch Queen is a very old herring fishing boat, which has had all kinds of interesting advetures.  She's here as a kind of museum piece now.

And then we looked at buildings and other oddments, and had a most delicious tea experience.

But I'll tell you about that tomorrow.


Catalyst said...

Such an artistic eye, Lucy. You are my idol.

Strawberry Girl said...

Fantastic day you've shared here, makes me feel as though I am missing something out here in the dessert, that I need to get over to some distant sea shore asap! :)

Rouchswalwe said...

You and blue ~ like me and ale! I'm on my second pint after finishing only 1 hour past the deadline!
Your wonderfilled day was very nice. Thank you, Lucy, for letting me tag along.

Granny J said...

Beautiful water shots there, Lucy.

Avus said...

Loved that last image, Lucy

plutarch said...

The close-ups of boaty things are intriguing as are all devices and mechanisms - a seemingly endless source of graphic inspiration.

Barrett Bonden said...

Even I can take good photos of boats. But you, having practised on such unpromising things as industrial estates (ages ago - to me your greatest triumph) and advanced corrosion, raise the stakes impossibly. That was a long long trip from Lerwick to St Brieuc.

Lucy said...

Thanks. I've jsut realised that the shot I liked best, the bucket of rusty chain and rope on the deck with the dead leaves, I didn't put in, so I've jsut added it!