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Le Croisic (Municipality, Loire-Atlantique, France)

Ar Groazig

Last modified: 2021-06-13 by ivan sache
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Flag of Le Croisic - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 22 May 2021

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Presentation of Le Croisic

The municipality of Le Croisic (in Breton, Ar Groazig; 4,064 inhabitants in 2009; 4500 ha; municipal website) is located 30 km west of Saint-Nazaire, at the western end of the Guérande Peninsula.
Like the neighboring municipalities of Batz-sur-Mer and Le Pouliguen, Le Croisic is built on a former rocky islet, now linked to the mainland by sand deposits that formed the dunes of La Baule. Facing the port of Le Croisic, the islet of Pen-Bron is also linked to the mainland by a dune. Accordingly, the two dune belts have isolated a former marine area, which was transformed in salterns centuries ago.

Le Croisic was allegedly founded in the 5th century by St. Félix, bishop of Nantes. St. Goustan, an Irish monk, ran aground in Le Croisic, leaving the print of his body in a rock; the miracle is recalled by a chapel built in the 11th or 12th century.
Le Croisic emerged as a strategic place in the 14th century, when the building of a fortress and walls was ordered by duke of Brittany John IV; the castle became the symbol of the emancipation of Le Croisic from Guérande, whose port silted in the beginning of the 16th century and was superseded by the port of Le Croisic. Used as the Town Hall and to store ammunition, the castle of Le Croisic was ruined in 1597, during the Wars of Religion, by Captain de la Tremblaye. In 1629, Louis XII allowed the inhabitants of Le Croisic to use the stones of the castle to build a new Town Hall. The last description of the remains of the castle was given in 1884 by Henri du Fresne.

In the 16th century, Le Croisic was the main port of export of salt from the Guérande Peninsula; the salt was highly prized in Scandinavia, Ireland and Spain. The wise burghers of the town decided that the economy of Le Croisic should not rely solely on salt; accordingly, they set up a fleet to fish cod, sardine and herring, and even appointed privateers. The ballast brought by ships exporting salt was used to increase the port. The boom of cod allowed the building of the Our Lady of Mercy church (1494-1528) and of wealthy houses, mostly in the 16th-17th centuries. In 1763, the parish of Le Croisic was erected, seceding from Batz. The town was placed under direct Royal administration, without any other lord; the kings of France confirmed the privileges granted by the dukes of Brittany, such as the appointment of representatives at the States of Brittany, the municipal status and several tax exemptions.
Le Croisic declined in the 18th century because of the boom of Nantes, the wars against England and the lack of interest of the burghers in trade. The revamping of the town and of the port by the duke d'Aiguillon, Governor of Brittany, had little effect since it was completed only a few years before the French Revolution, during which the town was renamed Port-Liberté.

Hotel-casino Deslandes was built in 1840-1844, making of Le Croisic one of the earliest sea resorts in Brittany, with 11 beaches; the writer Alfred de Musset (1810-1857) and the painter Jean-Auguste- Dominique Ingres (1780-1867) were among the famous guests of the resort. In 1878, the fish market was built for the trade of fish products, especially canned sardines. The next year, the inauguration of the Saint-Nazaire-Le Croisic railway (11 May 1879) boosted even more tourism and trade. To face the competition of La Baule, Le Croisic morphed into a family and health-oriented resort, setting up vacation centers and a seaside sanatorium. In 1920-1930, several sardine fishers from Douarnenez and Guilvinec were hired in Le Croisic for the summer season; several of them eventually settled in the town, being known as gaouches, lit. "reds", for the color of their pea jacket. In 1950, they represented 90% of the sea workers, the women working in the canning factories and selling traditional lacework on the port. Le Croisic was then nicknamed the "Small Finistère". Canning industry ended in Le Croisic in 1974, when the Philippe & Canaud factory, the oldest in the town, was closed.

Ivan Sache, 9 September 2012

Flag of Le Croisic

The flag of Le Croisic (photo, 2019; photo, 2016; photo, 2013; photo, 2010; photo, 2009) is white with the municipal arms. The representation of the arms on the flag is not at all the same as the one used for many years as the municipality's emblem. Moreover, the rendition of the coat of arms on the flag has an erroneous transcription of the motto, "Crocilia Cinsiuminisigna" instead of "Crociliacinsium Insignia" (Emblem of Le Croisic).

Olivier Touzeau, 22 May 2021

Banner of arms of Le Croisic


Banner of arms of Le Croisic - Image by Ivan Sache, 9 September 2012

Le Croisic once used a white flag with a red cross and a black ermine spot in each quarter, that is, a banner of the municipal arms.
[D. Kervella and M. Bodlore-Penlaez. Guide des drapeaux bretons et celtes]

Ivan Sache, 9 September 2012

Coat of arms of Le Croisic


Coat of arms of Le Croisic - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 22 May 2021

The arms of Le Croisic, first documented in 1557 and formally adopted in 1970 by the municipality, are "Argent a cross gules cantonned by four ermine spots sable" (photo, facade of the old fish market), originally the arms of the Counts of Terves, from Le Croisic. The arms are canting, since one of the proposed explanations of the Breton name of the place, Ar Groazig, is "small cross"; the alternative explanation, "small strand", would make sense, too, when considering the geographical location of the town.
These arms appear on the flag of the local Celtic circle "Korrolerien Ar Mor" (photo), founded in 1969.

Ivan Sache, 9 September 2012

Yacht clubs in Le Croisic

Club de Croisières Croisicais

[Burgee]         [Burgee]

Burgee of the CCC, two versions - Images by Ivan Sache, 3 January 2010

The Club de Croisières Croisicais (CCC; in January 1961. Its first president was the legendary single-handed sailor Jacques-Yves Le Toumelin (1920-2009). On 19 September 1949, Toumelin left Le Croisic on the Kurun, a Norwegian cutter he had designed together with the navy architect Henri Dervin and let built in the Leroux shipyard at Le Croisic. Le Toumelin ended his circumnavigation at Le Croisic on 7 July 1952 and made a second cruise on the Kurun in the Caribbean islands in 1954-1955. He related his travels in two books, Kurun autour du monde (Kurun around the world) and Kurun aux Antilles (Kurun in the Caribbean), who significantly contributed to the democratization of sailing in France, co-credited to Jacques-Yves Le Toumelin and Kurun, Bernard Moitessier and Joshua, and Éric Tabarly and the Pen Duick series. Le Toumelin is the seventh known sailor to have achieved a single- handed circumnavigation, following Joshua Slocum (1895-1898), Harry Pidgeon (1921-1925), Alain Gerbault (1923-1929), Edwart Miles (1928-1932), Louis Bernicot (1936-1938) and Vito Dumas (1942-1943).
Owned by the municipality of Le Croisic, the Kurun is managed by the association Les Amis du Kurun.

The burgee of the CCC (photo, photo, photo) is blue with the red cross from the municipal arms and three yellow "C" in the upper and lower cantons and on the horizontal arm of the cross. Burgees in use differ by the proportions, the placement of the letters, the width of the cross...

Ivan Sache, 28 February 2021

Association des Clients du Port du Croisic


Burgee of the ACPC - Image by Ivan Sache, 28 February 2012

The Association des Clients du Port du Croisic (ACPC, website) was founded on 17 March 2008 to defend the interests of the customers of the port of Le Croisic. The port is under municipal government control, with a board including representatives of two watersports associations. The members of the ACPC disagree with the management of the port and argue that several members of the board are not customers of the port.

The burgee of ACPC is white with the red cross from the municipal arms and the black letters "A", "C", "P" and "C" in the respective quarters of the flag.

Ivan Sache, 28 February 2012