Jardin de l’Ilot Sainte-Anne
Nowadays, each Summer, the place becomes crowded with kids and families and friends, everyone gathers here to enjoy a warm afternoon at the beach, the playground and, if feeling adventurous, a climb to the top of the rock to enjoy a breathtaking 180° view of the Baie de Morlaix!
Facilities on the islet : playground, running trail with obstacles, picnic tables, lookout.
A little bit of history…
This is a story about an ancient hermitage turned into a fortress and then a farm and then a popular recreational site.
One must wonder how the dwelling of a hermit has become today a family-friendly place for a Sunday stroll and a picnic?
The story starts in 1640 when Father Maillard decided to withdrawn to a solitary place on an island in Saint-Pol-de-Léon, on which he built a hermitage and a small chapel dedicated to Sainte Anne, for a life of religious seclusion. This place became “l’Îlot (“Islet”) Sainte Anne. Pilgrims would travel every month to the chapel until the French Revolution where all their belongings, chapel and land got seized, sold or destroyed… There are no remains left of this era on the island.
In 1694, the famous military architect Vauban, visited Saint-Pol-de-Léon defenses and decided to build a battery (a cell to store weapons, guns and powder) under a casemate (small room with openings from which guns or missiles could be fired). This fortress prevented any attacks and undesired landing operation on the beach as well as unauthorised entry in the Channel of La Penzé (ruins are still visible today).
In 1888, the defense was declassified however in 1943, it became part of the extensive system of coastal defense and fortifications built by Nazi Germany: the Atlantikwall.
Before the Second World War, three families were living and growing crops on the island. A stretch of sand would connect the island to the mainland, however today, a road has been built as well as the famous watersport centre at the end.