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Ile Callot

Callot doesn’t reveal itself to just anyone! This little piece of land, shaped like a seahorse, has two distinct characters: at low tide, it’s a peninsula, but at high tide it becomes an island. You can reach it at low tide by crossing over a path that is submersed when the waters rise with every tide. There are two car parks as you approach the island where you can leave your car and cross on foot (or bike, but bikes must be left by the chapel, because the point itself is a Nature Reserve). Please note: no cars allowed on the island in July and August. Île Callot is 2.125km long and its width varies from 30m to 300m. Its granite foundations are threaded with little creeks and its plant-life is typical of the Finistère coast: gorse, ferns, heathers, blue thistles and maritime pines. Île Callot yielded much of its granite for extensive building work during the 1600s: the nearby hospital, the Tobacco Factory in Morlaix, part of the viaduct and many buildings in the region were built using Callot granite. The northern point of the island is now a Nature Reserve protected by the Département du Finistère. Much of the island is now used for agriculture (cabbages, artichokes, potatoes, shallots) but there are still houses here and 9 families live here all year round. You’ll also find a small school (now closed) that was created in 1926, at a time when the islanders were self-sufficient, living on seaweed-gathering, agriculture and fishing (using traps, prawns). Gathering seaweed is tough work, because once you’ve gathered enough, you have to dry it then grind it in order to extract the soda that can then be used to fertilize the fields. The chapel: the culminating point of the island is the Chapel ‘Notre Dame de Kallod’, whose history dates right back to the 6th century. At that time, the coast was plundered by Danish privateers who used it as a place to store their spoils. A Breton Chief, Rivallon Murmaczon, decided to lead an attack against the head of the pirates, by the name of Korsolde. Legend has it that he prayed to the Virgin Mary to help him to win this battle, and in return, he promised to build a sanctuary in her name on the very spot where the pirate was camping. He did indeed emerge victorious and, in 513AD, he laid the first stone of the sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary, which quickly became a place of pilgrimage. Later on, this area suffered assaults from the Normans, who ransacked the sanctuary. Legends tell us that the ferns surrounding the island rose upright like an army as the looters drew near. They then fled, promising never to return to this place protected by the gods. Frequently the victim of storms, the chapel has been rebuilt many times, which explains why the current building dates mostly from the 1600s. In addition, during the French Revolution, it was used as a military outpost and it fell into disrepair. It was restored again between 1801 and 1808. The bell-tower itself was classed as an Historic Monument in 1914. Inside, there is a 16th-century crucifix, a 17th-century statue of Our Lady, north and south altars and ex-votos. Please pay extra attention to the tide times so you don’t get stranded! Be sure to check the information with the Tourist Office before you leave for Île Callot, or check the tide times on http://ilecallot.free.fr/smartcallot.html

Callot

29660 Carantec

Phone contact

02 98 67 00 43

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