A walk around Perharidy
I’m an unabashed fan of walking around ancient monuments and battlefields. Over the Easter weekend, as regular readers will know, I was in Roscoff with my girlfriend Emma. As we’d chosen to go by foot, we were a little limited to how far we could go. If we’d had a car I’d have added Château du Taureau or Fort-la-Latte (famous for being the besieged castle in the 1958 film The Vikings). But as this was our first excursion to Britanny, we decided to leave the car behind, enjoy the scenery on foot and get to know the lay of the land. On the Saturday we decided to have a walk around the coast and headed on foot from Roscoff to the peninsula of Perharidy.
Halfway there, we passed an abandoned chateau. This mysterious place was all boarded up. We decided to have a look around the grounds.
Despite the fine weather, the place had a ‘spooky’ feeling about it. We walked around the exterior, there were signs saying ‘Do not Enter’ in French but the outside of the building was fine.
That’s when I spotted the ladder. Someone had been here before and left a ladder going down into the cellar… and into the interior of the spooky house! We didn’t go in. I’m not familiar with French trespass law (and I might have been more tempted had I had a decent flashlight).
It was only when we were back in the UK that I looked up the story of the Chateau. It was built in 1890 for a Captain Geoffery Laurent and his wife Marie Louise. They had no children of their own and so adopted a local boy called Armand. Tragically in 1900, the boy drowned. He was only 12 year old. The death hit the Laurent family hard. Geoffery died and Marie went insane, burning bank notes in the Spanish fireplace. She was hospitalised and died in 1902. The grounds was given to a local trust for 99 years for use as a local Sanatorium, and a new building was built near the house. The house itself stands empty and unused since 1902…
You could not make this stuff up! Perhaps it’s best we hadn’t gone in after all… But the location provides ample inspiration for pulp-style games.
We finally made our way to the peninsula where we discovered something else. Part of the Atlantic wall overlooking Batz Island at the Point de Perharidy. It looked like a 5cm PAK38 position with an attached 2cm Flak gun. The efficient Germans built everything to strict patterns, so wargamers can relax and use their ‘Normandy’ bunkers for pretty much anywhere along the Atlantic wall.
There was also a store bunker (of typical German pattern) and the curious remains of what might have been an older lookout tower. There wasn’t much left of it and the use of concrete to preserve it made me doubt its age.
All in all, what started as a quiet walk along the French coast ended up with more than a few cool surprises.