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Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes (Municipality, Ille-et-Vilaine, France)

Last modified: 2022-03-19 by ivan sache
Keywords: saint-benoît-des-ondes |
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Flag of Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 30 October 2021

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Presentation of Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes

The municipality of Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes (975 inhabitants in 2019; 29é ha) is located on the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, 20 km east of Saint-Malo.

Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes is named for the priory of Saint-Benoît-du-Blanc-Essay, which depended on the Benedictine abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel. The original fishing village was set up as a parish in the 12th century under the name of Saint-Benoît-de-la-Marine, to be renamed to Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes in the 16th century.
During the Second World War, the German troops dug an anti-tank ditch between Châteauneuf and Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes, intended to isolate Saint-Malo. After the war the structure was converted into a flume still known as "German channel".

Olivier Touzeau, 30 October 2021

Flag of Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes

The flag of Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes (photo, photo, photo) is white with the municipal arms, "Azure a chevron abased or fretty sable in chief a lockbridge gules masoned sable port tenné on waves azure", and the name of the municipality above.
The arms were adopted on 17 November 2010 by the Municipal Council, as a modification of the arms proposed by the Heraldry Commission of the Société archéologique d'Ille-et-Vilaine, "Azure a saltire or fretty sable superimposed by a lockbridge argent masoned sable", which had been rejected on 7 September 2010 by the Council.
[Municipal website]

The saltire was originally intended to represent a mill, while the fretty design symbolizes the local fisheries.
The Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, protected from deep-sea waves by the Pointe du Grouin, is characterized by shallow water and tides of extreme amplitude. This favored the establishment of permanent fisheries, composed of enclosures built on the seashore. Fish brought inside the enclosures at high tide remain caught when water withdraw at low tide. An official survey made in 1181 lists several fisheries established between Cherrueix and Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes. A Royal Decree issued in 1732 list five fisheries in the parish of Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes.
The triangular walls of the enclosures are composed of elm and beech branches, interlaced and linked to oak posts stuck into the silt. The walls are 250 to 300 m in length, 1 m in height on the shore side and 3 to 4 m close on the sea side. Fish caught in the enclosures are collected twice a day in a "bourrache", a big cylinder made of a skeleton of elm and willow branches and ending on both sides with conic structures.
Traditional fisheries, mostly exploited by former seamen of the grand fishing in Newfoundland, disappeared from the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel after the Second World War, leaving only one of them still exploited in Saint-Benoît-des-Ondes.
[Municipal website]

The lock bridge of Blanc-Essay was designed by Engineer Dorotte in 1774-1775 and completed in 1778 by Engineer Piou. Its gates prevent runoff and tidal water to flood the marsh.
[Ouest-France, 23 July 2020]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 13 March 2022