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The Île-Grandais, rebels from one end to the other – The Breton Tribes, season 2




Fifty meters. Fifty meters, spanned by a bridge since 1891, separate Île-Grande from the mainland. Fifty meters that change everything. “The island has been isolated for a long time, it has lived in virtual autarky”, describes Christine Belka. The retired teacher shares her passion for Enez Veur with her husband Alain and the subscribers of their respective blogs. “The Île-Grandais want to be completely different from the Pleumeurois, and it’s true. Pleumeur just needs to decide for Île-Grande and everyone gets angry, ”says Christine. An independence of mind which nourished desires for secession with Pleumeur-Bodou in the 19th and 20th centuries and which is still reflected in the ballot box.

Since 1891, a bridge has linked Ile Grande to the mainland. (The Telegram / Olivier Paris)

“When we had a boyfriend who came from the mainland, he would meet us at the bridge; otherwise, he was having a bad quarter of an hour with the guys from Île-Grande ”.

“Île-Grande against the rest of the world”

Dominique Le Manchec, who returned to the island in 1993, “after twelve years of expatriation in Paris”, drives home the point. “When we had a boyfriend who came from the mainland, he would meet us at the bridge; otherwise, he was having a bad quarter of an hour with the guys from Île-Grande. When we are asked if we are Pleumeurois, we answer that we are Île-Grandais ”. A third story to be sure you’ve understood? “Ile Grande against the rest of the world”, summarizes Jean-Yves said Jo Choquer.

The Île-Grandais, rebels from one end to the other – The Breton Tribes, season 2
Jean-Yves and Chantal Choquer have a breathtaking view, from their terrace, on the island of Aval, where the legendary King Arthur would rest. (The Telegram / Olivier Paris)

This son of a commercial sailor, invested in the secular Amicale like Dominique Le Manchec, was born rue du Roi Arthur. After his marriage to Chantal, he built his house… Impasse du Roi Arthur. “I didn’t do a lot of driving! When he goes on vacation, Jo does not forget to take the tide schedules with him. “To keep a little bond. I have to know if the tide is high or low here ”. Before settling down facing the‘Aval Island, where the legendary lord of the Bretons would rest, the couple also lived “at the other end”.

“The blue boots and the yellow boots”

The Île-Grandais, rebels from one end to the other – The Breton Tribes, season 2
Alain and Christine Belka share their passion for Île-Grande in their respective blogs, L’Île-Grandais and Île-Grande Passion. (The Telegram / Olivier Paris)

“There are two ends to Île-Grande: this end and the other end,” smiles Alain Belka, the secretary of theboaters association. “They are not the same people”. His surefire way to tell them apart? “There are the blue boots, the pêchoù, and the yellow boots, a little veiled”. “People still say: I don’t want my daughter to buy from that side. But the school has helped people to mix ”, notes Claudine Rodrigues. The link between the two ends is the bar Les Triagoz which she ran for 30 years, while her husband was extracting the granite which has shaped, since the 15th century, the cathedral of Tréguier, the viaduct of Morlaix, or Boulevard Haussmann, in Paris. “It’s a friendly place where we meet almost every day to drink a coffee and see friends, and necessarily every weekend”, attests Dominique Le Manchec, daughter and granddaughter of stonemasons.

Sense of celebration and sense of humor

The Île-Grandais, rebels from one end to the other – The Breton Tribes, season 2
Claudine Rodrigues ran the Les Triagoz café, a rallying point on Île-Grande, for 30 years. (The Telegram / Olivier Paris)

Claudine, nicknamed “the gypsy” by a neighbor “who had sailed with Bao Dai”, the emperor of Vietnam, recounts the Homeric costume parties or the endless New Years Eve. The meaning of the Île-Grandais festival, illustrated by the carnival, the sea festival or the Zod Noz, is not spoofed. Neither did a sense of humor. The vacharde mockery is second nature to the “ten or so old-timers” who host “radio quai” at the end of the afternoon at the Saint-Sauveur port. “We are remaking the world, we look at the sea and we look at those who arrive by boat. You fall into the water, everyone is laughing out loud, ”laughs Alain Belka. The laughing stock also falls on “those who do not know how to scull”.

As in the village of the most die-hard comic book Gaul, the banquet can sometimes degenerate into a testosterone melee. “At the bar, things went quickly, testifies Claudine, We had to stop quickly before it took on proportions…” “In Île-Grande, everyone is arguing”, adds Alain Belka. For stories of “boats, lockers…”. “But as soon as an Île-Grandais is attacked, everyone comes together”, reframes Christine Belka.

The community supports itself like the stones of the covered path which forms the round back in the center of the island. Solidarity “in the face of adversity”. Welded at the time of oil spills. Hand in hand after stranding whiskey casks in the 1980s. “Everyone was rushing and helping each other up! », Laughs Claudine Rodrigues. A time when “we all knew each other”, idealizes Jo Choquer. ” I miss it “.

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