July 26, 2013

0768 FRANCE (Brittany) - La Vieille

The Pointe du Raz (Beg ar Raz in Breton language) is a promontory that extends into the Atlantic from western Brittany, and, even if it isn't the westernmost extent of France (that would be Pointe de Corsen, just to the north), is considered "the end of the world", France’s equivalent of Land’s End, in the southern UK. It is named after the Raz de Sein, the dangerous stretch of water between it and the island of Sein (Enez Sun in Breton). As can be seen in the postcard, is a wild and dramatic place of crashing waves and strong winds. It became popular in the 19th century, thanks to its appearance in the works of Gustave Flaubert and Victor Hugo, who were enchanted by its stark beauty.

From the rocks is clearly visible La Vieille (The Old Lady), a lighthouse which lies on the rock known as Gorlebella (Breton for "farthest rock"), across from the companion lighthouse Tourelle de la Plate, also known as Petite Vieille (Little Old Woman), and guiding mariners in the strait Raz de Sein. Its construction lasted five years (between 1882 and 1887), because fierce tides limited the period in which building work could take place to less than half of each year. The light is occulting, with a range of 18 nautical miles (33 km), and a foghorn was installed in the early twentieth century. In 1995 it become automated.

The architecture of La Vieille was designed to be aesthetically pleasing, yet sufficiently distinct to minimise confusion with the nearby tower Tévennec. Its shape is a squat quadrilateral, with slight crenellations. The tower is square and semi-cylindrical on the north face, widening toward the base. The lantern is covered with a black zinc domed roof, while the light itself is enclosed.

About the stamps
The first stamps are part of the definitive series Marianne et l'Europe, about which I wrote here. The last one depict a painting by Théo van Rysselberghe, The man at the helm, that is part of a series about which I wrote here.
Pointe du Raz - Wikipedia
La pointe du Raz - Brittany Tourism
La Vieille - Wikipedia

sender: Romain Cormier / Postcards of World (direct swap)
sent from Pont L’Abbé (Brittany / France), on 17.07.2013 
photo: Michel le Coz

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