With a stunning sunrise on the horizon, World Traveler drops anchor at little La Palais on the island of Belle Ile, France. Belle Isle means beautiful island, and this is one of those places that lives up to its moniker. The small island off the coast of Brittany combines fishing and pleasure. Its fabled beauty attracted Claude Monet in the 19th century who came for a weekend and stayed for 75 days, painting the same scene over and over in different weather conditions.
The famous French actress Sarah Barnhardt also spent lots of time here and the tour guide could not stop gushing about her story and ability to keep acting after losing a leg early in her career.
Claude Monet loved this area. Kongo understands why. The beautiful light that surrounds everything, particularly on the day the monkey visited, is really breathtaking.
Belle Ile was special in another way too as Mrs. Kongo celebrated her something-something birthday here.
There are two small ports here, La Palais and Sauzon. Both are protected by seawalls and offer narrow openings to navigate through.
More recent history lies here too. The island is scattered with the remains of Nazi Germany’ Atlantic Wall. Several bunkers line bluffs about the island and although the Allies never attacked Belle Ile, I imagine the lucky German soldiers who were stationed here instead of say, the bunkers at Omaha Beach in Normandy.
Kongo traveled about the island and visited Port Palais, Port Coton where sea spray flying off the rugged coastal rocks form cotton-like spray during winter storms, and the little port of Sauzon. Only about 5,000 people inhabit Belle Ile but during the summer tourist season as many as 35,000 visitors a day visit the island. It was pretty quiet during Kongo’s visit.
Next stop is Bordeaux and tours of the famous vineyards. Stay tuned
Travel safe. Have fun.