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Préfailles (Municipality, Loire-Atlantique, France)

Last modified: 2021-06-14 by ivan sache
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Flag of Préfailles - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 25 May 2021

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Presentation of Préfailles

The municipality of Préfailles (1,242 inhabitants in 2018; 488 ha) is located 25 km south of Saint-Nazaire.

Préfailles is located on pointe Saint-Gildas (formerly, pointe de Chevesché), named for the saint who would have landed there in the 8th century.
In 1788, an iron-bearing water source was discovered in Port-Meleu, whose water was taking from 1812 by hundreds of people. In the 19th century, Préfailles was already a famous sea resort thanks to the iron-bearing water source of Quirouard. In 1900, Hippolyte Durand Gasselin aspired to develop the area around the source, whose flow rate was 250 liters per hour and whose healing properties were celebrated by doctors Hectot, Bobierre and Guépin.
In 1906, the Préfailles train station was established, served a 1.6 km long branch of the Pornic-Paimbœuf line coming from La Plaine-sur-Mer, on which Préfailles was administratively dependent until 1908.
In 1931, the Saint-Philibert excursion boat wrecked near pointe Saint-Gildas. Out of the five hundred people from Nantes returning from Noirmoutier on board, only eight survived the shipwreck.

Olivier Touzeau, 25 May 2021

Flag of Préfailles

The flag of Préfailles (photo, photo, photo) is white with the municipal logo. The motto reads "Who anchors there, stays there".

The logo features the lighthouse and semaphore erected on pointe Saint-Gildas.
The building of the semaphore, decided on 7 August 1860 and completed the next year. After the decommission of the semaphore in 1949, sailors insisted to maintain night signals in this dangerous place; on 30 April 1954, a provisory light was set up atop a concrete post, part of a former German blockhouse from the Second World War. The light was transferred in 1958 atop the semaphore, which has been offered to the Lighthouse Service. The lighthouse ceased to be man-powered on 25 May 1986; in 1993, the light was transferred atop a brand new pylon.
No longer used by the Lighthouse Service, the semaphore building was offered to the municipality of Préfailles, which transformed into a museum.
[Ministry of Culture Heritage database]

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 25 May 2021