“This is the most beautiful place on earth. There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary… there's no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment.”
These poetic lines were penned by the American essayist Edward Abbey, whose own favourite place in the world was the sandstone desert of the State of Utah. We all have our favourite places. Having raced in the Vendée Globe, and navigated my way non-stop and unaided around the planet, my own favourite might well be Cape Horn framed by a fiery sunset after a storm. Or it could be the turquoise waters of the Southern Hemisphere trade winds as you pass Fernando De Noronha, or perhaps the magical light of the South Pacific. It could just as easily be a fine property in the Aubagne countryside where I have my family roots, or the evening light on the Frioul Islands off Marseille. But in fact my favourite place in the world is in La Trinité-sur-Mer, on the shores of Quiberon Bay. When you leave the port with its carbon boats, your bow turned towards the open sea, and follow the customs path along the channel, you soon stumble across one of those houses in which I would simply love to live. Whether you prefer old farmhouses on the water’s edge or the more modern houses with their conservatories catching the magical light of Brittany, there’s plenty to choose from. Whether enjoying your breakfast with your views over Trinity Chanel, or glancing over at the Trého Beacon where it all starts in earnest for budding sailors and seasoned seadogs alike, all the way through to evening when the slanting low light illumines the rocks, each hour of the day is a pure marvel. It’s here, after long weeks out on the ocean, that I love to store my bags away and reconnect with the joys of life on terra firma.
This summer edition of Propriétés Le Figaro may well carry you off to distant climes, far from Brittany. But I am sure that, even amongst its pages dedicated to the South East of France, you will soon begin to dream, and let your imagination whisk you to properties that conjure up your own favourite place in the world.
Navigator - journalist - writer
11th Vendée Globe 2016-2017, solo around the world sailor, journalist at Le Figaro, author of the book Capturer le large, published by Glénat (2016)
© Jean-Marie Liot