Seascapes, extraordinary tides and the flavor of fishing ports exemplify the monastery’s milieu

Written by eileen on July 13th, 2010

I didn't have a picture of the monastery so I thought I'd show you my dog Cooper carrying my coffee mug.

Facing the sea, the monastery is secluded in its own parkland. Founded in the 16th century, it preserves a small museum of sacred art. It is situated in one of the great old Breton ports built on the slopes of a steep valley. An 11th century castle and a circuit of walls originally protected the town although little is left of either. In the old part of town, however, the cobbled streets and ancient houses evoke the town’s medieval past.

Brittany’s ancient Celtic name was Armorica – land beside the sea. A seascape comprised of 750 miles of glorious Atlantic coastline it is highlighted by hundreds of bays and inlets rimmed by stunning high cliffs and fine sandy beaches. Small fishing ports where brightly painted boats nestle beneath half-timbered or stone houses dot the entire region. Like many a seafaring place, Brittany is a land of legends, from mysterious megaliths to Merlin the Magician, legends imparted in a tableau of forests and castles and elaborately carved stone churches.

The waters of the English Channel around Roscoff experience a tidal phenomenon. Twice a day coastal landscapes change as the tide goes relentlessly in and out, the result of the combined action of the moon and sun. The gravitational pull that these two heavenly bodies exert on the sea causes the tide to withdraw from the coast. The tide goes back approximately six hours later, covering scenery that just a short time before had been left exposed. When the earth, moon and sun are in syzygy (lined up in a row), a maximum pull results in the extraordinary spring tides. The rise and fall during this time is a rare and magical sight.


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