A secret Cezembre island on the Emerald coast

The weather was exceptionally good during our visit and it made possible to organise a day-trip on a boat to an inhabitant island in the water area of Saint Malo. Friends of our hosts had agreed to drive us to the island in the morning and then picked us up in the afternoon, with the high tide. 30 minutes of fresh salted air, splashes and sharp turns for the pleasure of all children on board and we arrived to the island. The only way to land on the island is to attach a boat to a concrete pier and then carefully jump one by one. When we arrived there were waves on the sea and it was a challenge to climb on a slippery pier from our constantly moving boat. Although, all had landed safely and the day on the island began.

1.Cezembre island is the biggest island in Saint Malo bay. It is approximately 250 x 700 meters. In the past it was always occupied by military groups. For instance, in the IIWW the German army fortified it heavily and kept the site until August 1944 when, after three weeks of non-stop bombing, Saint Malo and the area were released. 

2.Nowadays the island is inhabitant and there is a Natural reserve. People can’t go to some parts of the island in order not to disturb wild Nature. Although, this is not the only reason. There are still mines hidden in the soil and under the water so it can be extremely dangerous to walk around without a guide. During our visit a mine was found on a beach on the photo below. The military service was called immediately and they closed off the access to the beach until the bomb was defused. 

3.The old city of Saint Malo, called intramuros, is just 3.5 km away and you may see it across the bay. 

4.It is pretty difficult to navigate in the bay as there are a lot of little islands and rocks hidden under the water. Only experienced skippers who know well the area, can drive their boats among all these rocks. 

5.An M&M hat which I lost on the way back. The water was fresh but it couldn’t stop children from bathing and running in and out of the sea.

6.In early May the island was in blossom. Wild irises, narcissus, marguerittes were everywhere. Excellent backstage for a photo session.


8.As I said the island is inhabitant. However, there is a restaurant which is open  during summer time. It is owned by a couple of locals. There is no menu so you will get what the fishermen have caught earlier in the morning. You also need to call and book a table in advance, otherwise the only option you will have is to picnic on a beach. The restaurant is well known among locals and it is fully booked from May to September. 

9.The lunch is about to start. And, following the French dining rituals, we start with apéro (aperitif), an inevitable and pleasant part of a meal.

10.French children, who, as you know, don’t throw food. Their table was just next to us and I was again amazed how older children managed the younger ones, guided them and took care of them while parents enjoyed the meal, talks and sun at the next table. 

The rest of the story and a tour around Dinard is in another post Once upon a time in Brittany: oysters, salted wind and Northern sun.