Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Saint Goustan, Auray, France

By the fall of 1776 the War of Independence between the newly minted United States of America and Great Britain was in danger of being lost to Britain as the USA ran out of money and resources. France, for centuries Britain's arch-rival, was seen by Congress as the only hope to turn the tide and Benjamin Franklin, a personal hero of mine, was selected to visit France with his nation's begging bowl. 
See Slideshow
Duly, in December 1776, Franklin arrived in Port Saint Goustain in Britanny, France, on his way to see the French King and his advisers. Saint Goustan, named after the patron saint of fishermen and sailors, is on the south coast of the Brest peninsular in northwest France, about 10 miles up the Auray river and 300 miles from Paris. 
After much prevarication, Franklin eventually reached agreement with the French who joined the war effort and the rest eventually became history. This French largesse however, motivated by their desire to get one over on the Brits, almost bankrupted France and was certainly a contributing factor in Frances own revolution a dozen years later.
St Goustan, originally a fishing port, served as a boat building center and a commercial port until it was sidelined by the railroad in 1860. Today, this tiny commune is part of the much larger Auray community and exists mainly as a tourist attraction centered on the Franklin Quay and the Franklin Inn. See Slideshow.

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