Day Hike (Brittany): From Mousterlin to Pont-l'Abbé on the GR34 (38,6 km)
Date: Friday, March 4th, 2022
Distance: 38,6 km
I leave with Sasha, my son, on the parking lot of the Mousterlin beach, some 500 metres from the Pointe de Mousterlin. Here we immediately pick up the GR34 trail. A multitude of paths takes us around the so-called Mer Blanche. This lagoon owes its name to the colour of the sand, especially visible at low tide. That's also when the "pêcheurs à pied" are present. A few dozen people are fishing for shellfish.
The first part of the hike is over when we reach the exit of the Anse du Groasguen and the Mer Blanche lagoon, after about ten kilometres. We stop here for a lunch break and then Sasha is picked up by the grandmother. I now continue on foot to Bénodet. This is where the Odet River flows into the Atlantic Ocean. So you can guess what the "Ben" in Bénodet means. To get to the other side of the bay at Sainte-Marine, you can take a ferry during the French school holidays, but it doesn't run today. So I have two choices: follow the GR34 all the way around the bay and over the Pont de Cornouaille, or hitchhike. Of course I choose the first option, although the second option - especially in Brittany - is also a possibility for people who do not want to do the whole tour. In the Anse de Penfoul, there is hardly any water because of the low tide, but I get to see several ship carcasses. Then I take the stairs to cross the 30 metres high Pont de Cornouaille to the other side. Here I leave the GR and follow a narrow, but nice and varied path straight to Sainte-Marine. The village has a picturesque but small harbour area with numerous restaurants. On the other side you can see Bénodet. I opt for a break at the Pointe de Combrit. Here is an old guard house that was part of the 18th century defences. A little further, a small fortress from the 19th century is hidden away. In any case, this is a picturesque spot that I enjoy stopping at.
I already completed 20 kilometres and the next five go more or less in a straight line to the coastal town of Île-Tudy. I follow the GR34 on the flat path behind the protective dune of the beach of Kermor. The sand on the beach is too soft to walk on. The Voie Verte in Ile-Tudy is quite busy and at Teven beach, several surfers ride the waves. At the Pointe, the end of the peninsula, you can see Loctudy on the other side. It is much quieter here and the tourist centre looks nice with its old houses.
I'm confused for a moment when I see GR signs at the pointe, but no way to continue my journey. The mystery is cleared up when I suddenly see a head appear above a little wall. Apparently the GR trail leads down a small stone staircase behind the wall. Finally I walk out of the village via the Étang de Kermor.
The next part of the GR trail goes around the Anse de Pouldon, one of the wider bays in this part of Brittany. Unfortunately there are few paths directly next to the bay and you rarely get to see it. But when you do, the bay - now flooded by the tide - is beautiful. After 33 kilometres the GR trail follows a busy departmental road for quite a while. Not very pleasant. Slalomming via all sorts of paths and streets I finally reach Pont-l'Abbé. Given the distance I don't have the courage to explore the little town, but along the GR trail I do pass by the ruins of the church of Saint-Jacques of Lambour. After a local rebellion in 1675 the church was stripped of its bells and towers by order of the Breton governor and consequently the building lost its function. The end of my walk is at the bridge over the river, next to the Château des barons du Pont.
Just know that I'm a huge fan of the GR34. Already in the summer of 2018 I did a hike on the Presqu'île de Crozon, just a bit north and also this summer I would like to hike quite a bit of GR34. My report from 2018 can be found here (in Dutch).
Do you also want to try this beautiful walk? Download the GPX of it here: