The Castel Campsite L’Anse du Brick, a place full of history
Landscaped on a hillside situation of an exceptional natural site, Castel Camping L’Anse du Brick has just celebrated its 50th anniversary. It was created in the 60s on the grounds of an old quarry and some of its remains are still present. The historical origin of the name “Anse du Brick” might have its provenance in the former presence of pirates or Vikings in the area…
What is the origin of the name “L’Anse du Brick”? There are two legends – was it the Pirates or the Vikings who named the bay?
A brick is an old sailing ship with two masts, there were many of them at the end of the 17th century until the mid-19th century. These ships were especially used by pirates and corsairs (privateers) and L’Anse du Brick would have been a shelter for their ships.
The word Brick might also come from the Scandinavian word « brekka » which means hill. So L’Anse du Brick, the bay with a hill, would have been the name given by the Vikings. They have left numerous lasting traces, such as expressions and names of town and villages, in the North-East of Cotentin and thus in the region of Val de Saire.
The time of the old quarry… some remains…
The site belonged to the city of Lille, people exploited the granite quarry until 1940 and they have extracted cobblestones that made part of the famous bicycle road race “Paris-Roubaix”.
It is a site full of history which has also known the Second World War II.
A battery of 4 guns was placed by the German army on the railway in L’Anse du Brick in 1942. There were wagons with antiaircraft guns, a command post, a wagon used for cooking … Machine-gun posts, antitank gun, trench construction, a tunnel dug under the rock for sheltering the troops and munitions. Everything was organised at the Great Castel of L’Anse du Brick in order to defend the important harbour of Cherbourg.
The building where you could find the office of the quarry managers and where they also lived has even been hit by a tank shell.
This building is since 1966 the restaurant « La Maison Rouge » (translation « The Red house»). It was the first house in the region with a red tiled roof. Sailors saw this roof as a landmark on the coast and that is why they named this building the red house. La Maison Rouge has nowadays a more traditional tiled roof.
Other remains of the quarry are still visible on the campsite: ruins of the crasher, the hopper, the powder magazine and two beautiful granite rock walls. Two cement pillars which maintain a treadmill, facing England, are not the remains of a V1 Rocket launcher but the remains of the quarry treadmill, used for bringing the crushed stones to the hopper, before put into the wagons of the steam train “Tue-Vaques” whose railway connected Barfleur to the harbour of Cherbourg.
Creation of the campsite
At the beginning, during the 60s, Angiolino and Yvonne Patrizi, who at that time lived in Paris and managed a masonry business, want to change their professional activity. After much thinking, they come up with the idea to create a campsite.
In 1964, they buy a site in Cotentin, on the coastline; it is love at first sight: 17 hectares of wooded land, a waterfall stream and ruins of a large stone building.
The camping L’Anse du Brick finally opens its doors in April 1968 after enormous construction works. There was neither water nor drainage. Everything had to be build up: the creation of a water treatment plant, roads, pitches, sanitary building, the reception,…
By the way, the construction works did not stop there: in 1974 the grocery store was built, from 1991 to 1993 the 4 villas with sea view, in 1994 the bridge to access the beach safely, in 1994 the outdoor pool (the covered pool arrived in 2013) and a tennis court, in 2000 the building where you can find the pizzeria Le Brick, …
2001 marks the start of a new chapter, the arrival of the first chalets / cottages with sea view on the campsite.
2004: The campsite L’Anse du Brick becomes a member of the camping chain « Les Castels ». This chain associates 4 and 5 star campsites managed by independent families.
In 2011, L’Anse du Brick becomes the first campsite in Normandy to receive the 5 star rating.
The story continues…
It was also love at first sight for Valérie d’Enquin and Jean-Louis Guérineau, when they visited the campsite of L’Anse du Brick for the first time. The family d’Enquin – Guerineau, experienced owners of a big campsite in Brittany, decided to buy the Castel Campsite L’Anse du Brick in April 2017.
They threw themselves immediately in the adventure by imagining modern and original rentals in order to meet the demands of the guests. New accommodations are built respecting the exceptional setting of L’Anse Du Brick: Glamping tent lodges under the pink cliffs close to the woods, high-end Premium and Taos cottages with a magnificent view of the woods and the moors of the Val de Saire, classified Natura 2000. The small village “Famili Baby” whose colorful mobile homes are designed for families with young children. Not to mention the camping pitches equipped with their private sanitary facilities, a true luxury for your outdoor holidays!
For the next few years many exciting projects are still to come at L’Anse du Brick. Valérie and Jean-Louis do not lack ideas for a quality and innovative welcome – always in respect of the site of L’Anse du Brick, its history and its exceptional environment.