Topsail Tattler

A Paimpol Palaver – Chant de Marin hits 30 ans!

by | Oct 18, 2018 | Archived News (Live), Topsail Adventures News

The Paimpol "Festival du Chant de Marin" (sea shanty festival) is probably our favourite of the Breton festivals, indeed Nick has been on French telly pronouncing it to be the Goldilocks of them all. It's not too big (Brest can be daunting) and not too small (Entre Terre et Mer in Morlaix didn't really have enough to keep the crew occupied), but like baby bear’s porridge, it’s just right!

There’s plenty to see and do but it’s possible to meander from one side of the fete to the other in just an hour or two. The organisers seem to have a knack of conjuring up the unusual too – with everything from skeletal roundabouts to steam-punk camels having graced previous years – and with 2019 being the 30th anniversary of the first ever Chant de Marin we eagerly await the next fruits of their oh so endearing madness.

Underlying all of this however is a great festival of world music, combined with a love of traditional sea craft of all shapes and sizes. There’ll be tall ships, small ships, cutters, luggers, and sculling aplenty while the 5 music stages pump out everything from Celtic punk to traditional shanty singing and roaming drum and pipe bands ensure that never a moment goes by that you have nothing to listen to. It really is quite an assault on the senses.

Even the setting is fabulous – Paimpol is a typical Breton working harbour, where the whole town wraps itself around the commercial quays so that boulangeries and cafes are never more than a few minutes walk from the boats. The harbour itself nestles in the corner of a bay strewn with dramatic granite outcrops which make approaching as entertaining as arriving.

Departing from Falmouth will enable us to run the entire length of Northern Brittany’s famous “Cote de Granit Rose” (Pink Granite Coast) – a stunning cruising ground that mixes tree-lined rivers with rock strewn entrances and intriguing off-lying islands – dotted with bustling harbour towns and villages. Upon leaving Paimpol we’ll head up through the Channel Islands, another sailing paradise before crossing back to blighty and our beautiful home port of Bucklers Hard on the Beaulieu River.

This trip will undoubtedly be the highpoint of our schedule this year and we can’t wait to cast off our lines and get underway!


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