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Locmariaquer ( ) is a commune in the Morbihanmarker department in Bretagne in north-western Francemarker.

It lies south of Auray by road.

Coat of arms

Coat of arms of Locmariaquer


This coat of arms was created 30 years ago by the local artist Jean-Baptiste Corlobé. The arms portray:

  • upper portion of shield: a silver dolmen on a sinople field
  • central band: ermine banner, recalling that Locmariaquer is at the heart of Brittany.
  • lower band: and a gold sailboat on blue field


All are surmounted by a baronial crown (Locmariaquer was part of the former barony of Kaër). It bears the Breton language motto: "Kaër e mem bro" which can be interpreted in two ways: "Kaër is my country" or "my country is beautiful" (the phrase originated with JM François Jacob in 1933).

Geography

Pointe de Kerpenhir, Locmariaquer
The municipality of Locmariaquer is located at the western tip of the Gulf of Morbihanmarker in Brittany and has many beaches facing the Atlantic Oceanmarker and the bay Quiberon. This small town is loaded with the most fascinating ancient stone structures in the world, and may be thought of as the most important oyster fishery in France. It is especially famous for its giant Balon oysters.

Towns bordering on the Canton of Auray: Saint-Philibert and Crac'h

Demographics

At the 1999 census, the village had a population of .

Breton language

The municipality launched a linguistic plan through Ya d'ar brezhoneg on November 26, 2008.

Economy

Locmariaquer has a small port, but is one of the most important oyster producing areas in the world, due to its production of the finest and possibly the rarest oyster types.

History of oyster farming

View of the port feast of oysters
The ancient Romans knew of the existence of deposits of natural edible oysters (or flat oyster) (Ostrea edulis, Linn.), but it was not until the late 19th century that oyster farming started. The municipality of Locmariaquer was then regarded as the cradle of the edible oyster. The first concessions in the Auray River were issued in 1882.

Three generations devoted themselves to building oyster parks on the shores of Locmariaquer: they had to remove the mud, replace it with sand, and map out the locations.

Their job was to collect the spat (oyster larvae) clime coat the tiles or stakes and to take off or (détroquage) the growing areas and then sow the young oysters in parks for breeding for a duration of three years, during which there was a need to protect oysters against predators, algae, toxins, and storms.

After 1927, Locmariaquer specialized mainly in the reproduction and the half-rearing of the oysters. After growing them to half size they were shipped off to Marennesmarker, Holland England and Spain. The oyster industry grew to be very prosperous: 350 to 400 people worked in the construction of sites and parks almost all year round. However, in 1973–1974, flat oysters in the Gulf of Morbihan were decimated or destroyed by parasites. They were then replaced by cultivated oysters of Japanese origin, Crassostrea gigas).

Today, Locmariaquérois oyster farmers are cultivating Pacific oysters in the Gulf and River St Philibert. The crop and livestocks of the flat oyster are mainly in the Bay of Quiberon. Despite mechanization tests, the need of manpower is still high, both in culture itself and the pre-marketing operations (refining, sizing, etc.).

In 2008, thirty oyster farms still exist around Locmariaquer. They occupy about fifty people full time, as well as seasonal workers in October to May. Sales to wholesalers, retailers or directly to consumers are handled individually by the farms. If you are very observant you may find a few vendors selling the old original Plattes oysters.

Villages and landmarks

Bellevue, Coët Courzo, Coët Er Roué, Fetanstirec, Keranlay, Kercadoret, Kerdaniel, Keréré, Kergolvan, Kerguerec, Kerhelle, Kerhern, Kerhuiltan, Keriaval, Kerigan, Kerinis, Kerivaud, Kerjean, Kerlavarec, Kerlogonan, Kerlud, Kerouarch, Kerpenhir, Kerveresse, Lann Brick, Lann Y Nis, Le Brénéguy, Le Guilvin, Le Lézard, Le Moustoir, Le Nélud, Le Palud, Le Pont Er Lenn, Le Vinglé, Les Pierres Plates, Locquidy, Mané-Lud, Pointe de Kerpenhir, Pointe Er Hourel, Pointe Erlong, Pointe Er Ville, Pont Er Vugale, Rouick, Saint-Pierre Loperet, Scarpoche and Toul Y Niss.

Image:vue_generale_locmariaquer.JPG|Overview of the PortImage:PasserelleMaraisLocmariaquer.jpg|Gateway through the marshes « le Brénéguy »Image:MaisonLocmariaquer.JPG|The pink house said « le Brénéguy »

Sights

Roman remains are to be seen, but the place owes its celebrity to the megalithic monuments in the vicinity, some of which are among the largest extant.

Religious heritage

Church "Notre Dame de Kerdro"


Notre Dame de Kerdro
Of romanesque style, this church was built between 1082 and 1120 by the monks of Quimperlémarker. Today, only the transept and the choir of the original building remain. On the exterior one can read the inscription Hic Domus Dei (Here is the house of God). This section presents external walls of an archaic stonework (intercalation of Roman cubic stone, bricks and scattered bricks of Roman origin).

The south gate is protected by an advanced porch whose wooden ceiling was removed in 1988, showing a cartouche bearing the words Haec Porta Coelli (Here is the door of heaven). Near the southern entrance, in the wall is included a superb granite baptismal font, decorated with leaves and grapes, going back to the 16th century.

Inside, the greatest interest of the church resides in its surviving Romanesque features. The transept and apse were included in supplementary inventory of Monument historique by decree of 24 April 1925.

In 1960, The twelve windows were equipped with modern stained glass, created by the firm of Rault, glassmaker in Rennesmarker. The motifs of the seven windows of the nave and transept are abstract, the five windows of the choir presenting figurative images:
  • boat and fish (fishing),
  • wheat (agriculture),
  • the acronym NDK (for Notre Dame de Kerdro),
  • bunch of tiles (oyster farming),
  • dolmen and menhirs (megaliths).
These windows are admired by most visitors for their great sobriety and their remarkable brightness.

chapelle du Moustoir
Chapelle du Moustoir
Rebuilt in 1883, the chapel is dedicated to Saint Gildas, but also to Father Claude Philippe, a non-juring priest, who died in 1796 and was buried in this place. The chapel is located north of the town; it was fully restored in recent years by an association that continues to ensure its maintenance. Each year, on the last Sunday of June, a Pardon and a Fest Noz are organized.

Chapelle Saint-Pierre-Loperec
Built in 1772, this chapel was built to celebrate Mass and organize a Pardon for the survivors of shipwrecks, of which there were many at the time. It can be visited in summer and during the traditional annual Pardon on the first Sunday of July.

Chapelle Saint-Michel
The chapel was built in 1749 by Christophe Paul De Robien, Baron de Kaër who previously acquired the former chapel built on Gallo-Roman ruins. When the foundations of the present chapel were built, a quantity of medallions bearing the effigy of Caesar and other motifs were found.

Today, the chapel looks like a rectangular building 14 metres long and 7 meters wide. On its portal is a decoration depicting three lily flowers in relief and a stone bearing the date 1813 and a damaged patch representing the arms of Robien.

During the summer months of July and August "friends of the chapel" association has chosen to use the chapel for exhibitions of contemporary art, at the same time highlighting the work of restoration carried out in 1986.
Statue of Our Lady of Kerdro Semaine du Golfe 2007


Statue of the Virgin Notre-Dame de Kerdro
Built on the rocks at the edge of Kerpenhir in 1962: 2.70 m high, it was carved in granite by Jules-Charles Le Bozec in 1946 but spent 16 years in the church before being moved to its present location. It replaces a statue erected in 1883 and destroyed by the Germans along with the fort during World War II.

Civil heritage

Land of legends and mysteries, Locmariaquer is home to a remarkable concentration of megaliths. Just like nearby Carnac, the city holds unique and rare monuments dating from the Neolithic period. Here men have left a legacy of prestigious burial structures prefiguring the era of the great pyramids. The Great Menhir of Er Grah, the Table of Merchants, the mounds of Er Grah and many other monuments decorate the landscape of Locmariaquer.

Megaliths



Image:Bretagne_Morbihan_Locmariaquer_14015.jpg|Grand MenhirImage:Bretagne_Morbihan_Locmariaquer_14018.jpg|Grand MenhirImage:Bretagne_Morbihan_Locmariaquer_14020.jpg|Grand MenhirImage:Bretagne_Morbihan_Locmariaquer_14017.jpg|Grand Menhir + Table des MarchandImage:Bretagne_Morbihan_Locmariaquer_14011.jpg|Table des MarchandImage:Dolmen du Mané Lud Jean-Charles GUILLO.JPG|Dolmen du Mané LudImage:Mané_Retual_à_Locmariaquer_Jean-Charles_GUILLO.JPG|Dolmen du Mané RetualImage:Dolmen de Kercadoret à Locmariaquer Jean-Charles GUILLO.JPG|Dolmen de KercadoretImage:Les_pierres_plates_Jean-Charles_GUILLO.JPG|Les Pierres PlatesImage:Pierres plates v mer.jpg|Les Pierres PlatesImage:Les Pierres Plates Jean-Charles GUILLO.JPG|Les Pierres PlatesImage:Gravure Les Pierres Plates Jean-Charles GUILLO.JPG|Les Pierres Plates

See also



References

  • Heritage department of the municipality of Locmariaquer


Notes

One important reference is The Oysters of Locmariaquer by Eleanor Clark, who won the National Book Award for her work on the history, culture, and oyster industry in this Breton seaport.

External links




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