Pretty little Sauzon is a small village on the northwest coast of Belle Île, 15 kilometres south of Quiberon, and the Hôtel du Phare is an attractive three-storey white building with an orange tiled roof, which occupies a prominent position on the harbour front, next to the lighthouse.
My room was on the top floor, up increasingly narrowing staircases and along increasingly sloping corridors, until I came to a point under the eaves of the building where even the tops of the doors were cut off at an angle to accommodate themselves beneath the slanted ceiling.
The room was small and dark, wood timbered walls, and with water from the sink so salty that it tasted as though it had been drawn straight from the Atlantic Ocean.
From the window, the quayside zigged and zagged like a Vauban fort, around a bustling harbour full of brown-sailed, tall-masted cutters, specially arrived for the next day’s festival of the sea. Below, racing gigs lined up against the concrete slipway, and young boys fished for crabs and took turns to leap from the quayside into the clear waters, looking like urchins from a Frank Meadow Sutcliffe photograph.
Each morning, I took breakfast of croissants and orange juice on the terrasse panoramique, usually in the company of a large herring gull, who eyed me with greedy contempt.
And I watched the busy comings and goings of the small boats in the harbour, happy in my relative inactivity.
© E. C. Glendenny
E. C. Glendenny remembers a time long ago and phare-away.
E. C. Glendenny writes about her time on Belle Île in Resting Easy: Selected Travel Writing.