Etel in my Morbihan!

Now this is a familiar coastal beach town we have been quite a few times. However, do not see much on its main monuments but the beaches. Therefore, let me tell you about its museum and church of Etel in my beautiful Morbihan of my lovely Bretagne and my belle France. 

This is part of my efforts to show you different areas with the aim of introducing several towns to you and me for the memories. Oh yes this is Etel! located 18 km from Auray, 30 km from Lorient and 30 km from Vannes. I will skip on the history and others as plenty in my other posts on Etel.

The coastal coastline of the town is part of the largest dune cordon of Brittany which stretches from the pointe de Gâvres to the Fort Penthièvre on the town of Saint-Pierre-Quiberon. Étel was the origin of the development of the sardines port, transforming the small fishing village into a small town. The presses of yesteryear are abandoned and it is to whom will create its fritterer, the easels allowing to dry the sardines before their preparation in order to put them in cans stretching all over the streets. This boom ended with the rarefaction of sardines from 1880, the sardine crisis culminating in 1902-1903. Etel reconverts to tuna fishing on Dundee boats and mackerel fishing. There is now a  Musée des Thoniers, or Tuna boats museum in town.

An iconic fishing port from 1850 to 1960, Etel owes its fame to its high seas sailors, who braved the ocean to catch tuna and sardines. Today, these brave knights of the seas have their sanctuary: the Musée des Thoniers. Picturesque and authentic, this museum tells with emotion the great epic of the fishermen. Held by former volunteer sailors, this museum hoists the flag of the region’s vast maritime heritage. Crouching between the models, naval objects and period reconstructions, one discovers the shimmering life of the port, its ballet of trawlers, the rescues at sea but also the wind and tidal mills or the small coastal train… This museum of character, as picturesque as the Ria d’Etel, is also a place of inspiration for the many artists who exhibit there. The official webpage:

Etel musee thoniers ent dec12

At the mouth of the estuary is the Etel bar, an underwater sand bank formed by the crossing of currents and whose position is variable. This bar makes cruising difficult. A semaphore (lighthouse) is built in 1960,on the Plouhinec side, in order to safely guide the sailors towards the entrance of the ria. A single bridge crosses the ria of Etel,(see post) is a suspension bridge named Pont-Lorois (see post) located between the villages of Kergo and Kergouric, in the limits of the town of Belz. The road of traffic on this bridge is the departmental road D781 (which I take regularly!)

The town was part of Erdeven until local citizens did a petition to have their own town and won in 1850. Not having a church they slowly built one in 1857; the current Church Notre Dame des Flots. 

The Church Notre Dame des Flots occupies the square in the center of the village, formerly the hamlet of Kerévin. It has a quadrangular plan with a flat apse, with a sacristy leaning against the massif against the gable. The church without a transept has a central nave and side aisles. It has five bays delimited by simple wooden posts. Seen from the outside, the building appears very simple with arched windows and for only decoration a molded cornice in the roof.


The square-shaped bell tower is made of reinforced concrete with corner chains and a cornice in ashlar gray granite. Its spire is pyramidal. Inside, all of the 19C decor, with the exception of the gallery, the baptismal font and the stained glass windows, has disappeared. The granite paving is preserved, and walls of the church are completely covered with a white and luminous plaster. The liturgical platform and all the furniture, confessionals included, also date from the 1950s. Made of exotic wood and ironwork trellis, it constitutes a homogeneous whole in keeping with the simple volumes of the renovated church.

In the Church Notre Dame des Flots we find two statues dedicated to the marine environment. The first represents a Madonna and Child Jesus holding a boat in her hand. The small sailing vessel bears the inscription “ND des Flots”. The second statue is dedicated to Sainte Anne; the Breton saint is holding a crown buoy. Etel also has a diorama named “The Loire” dating from the 1900s. This diorama is made up of three ships: a four-masted barque under sail from the Nantes company Bordes, a rowboat under sail and finally a steam tug. Formerly, the Church Notre-Dame des Flots had its ex-voto. Today, only postcards recall its existence, before the church was restored in 1957.

The city of Etel on location

The Bay of Quiberon tourist board on Etel

There you go folks, another dandy spot in my beautiful Morbihan. Etel is worth the detour and the ambiance on shops and restos by the port and views of the Ria are awesome! Hope you enjoy the museum and church an architectural and historical addition to a fine small town.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

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