The port of Sainte-Marine

Sainte-Marine is a small village and a port that is part of the Combrit commune.

Situated at the mouth of the Odet, a river that flows past Quimper, Sainte-Marine faces the town of Bénodet.

This charming little port of heritage interest will allow you to discover the charm of the past. You will be able to visit the Abri du Marin, the Napoleonic Fort, the guardhouses, etc.

Between sea and countryside, Sainte-Marine offers you the possibility to do many activities in contact with nature: walks or hikes by the sea or in the forests along the Odet, the discovery of the natural reserves of the Combrit polder.

It is also a place to stroll around and take advantage of the services offered in the port: creperies, restaurants and café while watching the flow of boats. We also invite you to take advantage of the return from fishing to discover the local flavours.

History of the Port of Sainte-Marine

The first traces of human life in Sainte-Marine date back to the Gallo-Roman period. A tower and substructures were discovered between the Combrit semaphore and the strike road at Île-Tudy. Various objects and bones were found inside these buildings in 1899.

In the 15th century, the port of Sainte-Marine welcomed hake and congress fishermen but also and above all sea carriers. Indeed, at the time the port of Sainte-Marine was specialised in the transport of Bordeaux and Saintonge wines to the English Channel and the North Sea.

Foreign competition and the League war led to the decline of the port of Sainte Marine in the 16th century. Indeed, at that time the ferry that allowed crossing at Bénodet functioned randomly until the end of the century.

Sainte-Marine became a strategic place to watch over the entrance to the Odet ria and thus protect the access to the port of Quimper. Colbert will equip it with artillery, buildings and a powder magazine. Under Louis XVI, Sainte-Marine will continue to play the role of surveillance, teams will be in charge of monitoring the cargo and the state of health of the crews.

While the village of Sainte-Marine was in decline and had only 16 inhabitants in 1856, the village experienced a demographic boom throughout the 19th century. First by the development of lobster fishing on the banks of the Glénan. Then by the arrival of the railroad in the middle of the century which will allow the territory to welcome its first tourists.

Emile Zola will come to stay there for two months in 1883 in the Villa of Kerbirnik. There he described the isolation felt at the time due to the lack of infrastructure.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the port of Sainte-Marine was at its height, with 80 rowboats and 300 fishermen, while Sainte-Marine still retains its role as a commercial port.

The Second World War will lead to an economic regression of the commune, which will be occupied by German troops. They will erect a floating dam between Bénodet and the Pointe de Sainte-Marine to control the entrances and exits of the Odet. It will moreover undergo some bombardments at the time of the German debacle by the allies. Since then, the activity of the port of Sainte-Marine has changed a lot, since there are less than 10 artisanal fishing boats left and pleasure boats have become the vast majority.