On the Crozon peninsula, a strange war for the preservation of the coast

So here it is, the island of temptation. A piece of Corsica on the Atlantic, white rock, ground strewn with thorns of maritime pines and, below, a beach of fine white pebbles and turquoise water. A stone handle opens onto a cavity which must have seen the passing of generations of young explorers. The beach of Île Vierge, on the Crozon peninsula (Finistère), is miraculous and empty. A Saturday in July. It is not that it is secret; is that access has been prohibited since May 2020.

Too busy, too dangerous, ruled the town hall of Crozon. In the spring, the cliff, which crumbles under the effect of erosion accelerated by the footsteps of hikers, shed a few tons of sandstone. It wouldn’t take that long to kill a beach attendant. To get down, you have to take a winding slide carved into the rock face. The whole peninsula has grated its buttocks there. This perilous arrival in wet weather – what happens here – gave the affair a taste of adventure. It is even more true now that it is banned.

On the maritime pines, in view of the summer, an agent has planted yellow signs mentioning the municipal decree number 305-2021 of May 10, 2021. Others above, on the coastal path which is part of the GR 34: “Access forbidden to the strikes of the Virgin Island. “ Translated into Breton, German, English. The beach, perfectly “Instagrammable”, was ranked in 2014 among the most beautiful beaches in Europe by European Best Destinations, an organization based in Brussels. Then the British daily newspaper Tea Guardian cited that of Morgat, just next door. And the surge began.

More health than fuss

Before receiving us, Didier Cadiou, in charge of the protection of the peninsula’s natural spaces, came to the kiosk: the beach and its turquoise waters were featured in “one” of the summer issues of Brittany Magazine and Detours in France. “All of Brittany is promoting on a photo of the Virgin Island… except that we do not control this communication. “ What Didier Cadiou masters is the coastal law, applied in a particularly strict way on the peninsula. And the stake, to install a fence which ends up dissuading the suitors.

If we haven’t seen, it’s because we didn’t want to see. There are some, blind, on this path, however, strewn with roots and rolling stones. Here is a mother and her daughter. The guard alpague them in a loud voice, with the authority conferred on him by the small “police” crest sewn on the chest – even if, as an environmental policeman, he is not endowed with the power of verbalization.

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