Treguennec Pebble Crusher
The haunting concrete remains of a Nazi pebble crusher can still be found in this small French commune.
The Baie d’Audierne beaches are the perfect place to spend a hot, windless day in Brittany. Few people bother to come here (the swimming is not supervised and the waters are dangerous), and it is located in a natural preserve which makes the whole place very wild and natural.
But the landscape is not all natural beauty, as there are also the remains of a World War II pebble crushing plant, and its attendant bunkers that can still be found on the site. When France was occupied during WW2, the Germans built a number of “blockhaus” along the coast to help build the Atlantic Wall, a series of concrete fortifications all along the Atlantic Coast, to prevent the Allies from invading (it didn’t work).
Along the Treguennec beach, they built a factory where they crushed the pebbles found on the beach (the area was surprisingly renowned for its quality pebbles), to create concrete that could then be used to fill out the Atlantic fortifications. A rail line was put in place to ship the crushed stone to where it was needed.
After the war, many of the structures were left in place, including a two-meter wide, 150-meter long wall, and multi-story-tall hoppers that once held the crushed rocks. There are also some remnants of the bunkers left behind.
Locals have wondered why the structures haven’t been destroyed. There has been some speculation that it is because it is too hard to do, or that they are kept as a historic monument. But the site was actually used after the war to help in the reconstruction of what had been destroyed, like the whole city of Brest.
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