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Pays de Brière (Traditional district, Brittany, France)

Last modified: 2014-04-23 by ivan sache
Keywords: pays de briere | cross (black) | ermines: 16 (black) | ducks: 2 (yellow) |
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[Flag of Pays de Briere]

Flag of Brière - Image by Raphaël Vinet, 10 November 2002


See also:


Presentation of Brière

The Brière (presentation), aka Grande Brière (19,000 ha), is the second largest marshy area in France after the Camargue.
The marsh is a mosaic of channels (curées), of shallow ponds (piardes and copis), of reeds, of meadows liable to flooding and of hillocks. The inhabitants of the region (Briérons) lived mostly from hunting, fishing and cattle-breeding; they built traditional reed-roofed houses (some 3,000 of them are still standing, which is the highest concentration for such houses in France) and extracted peat, the only source of fuel available to them.
With time, several Briérons were hired as workers in the industries of the region of Saint-Nazaire. Cattle-breeding declined, while reeds were no longer cut. Several ponds were dried up, while hunting and fishing became leisure activities.
The Regional Natural Park of Brière (website) was established on 16 October 1970.

The marsh of Grande Brière Mottière (6,850 ha) has been jointly owned by the inhabitants of 21 municipalities since 1461, when joint property was granted by the Duke of Brittany Francis II. Today, each municipality appoints a representative at the commission solely in charge of the management of the marsh.

Ivan Sache, 25 June 2013


Flag of Brière

The flag of Brière (photo, photo, photo) is quartered by a black cross outlined in yellow, 1. and 4. A green field charged with a yellow duck, 2. and 3., A white field charged with eight black ermine spots (3 + 2 + 3).
The flag is based on a fresco made in the 1940s by René-Yves Creston to decorate the Triskell pub in Rennes. The painter represented 13 Breton flags, each hold by a character dressed in the matching local costume. Creston portrayed his relatives and represented himself as the holder of the Brière flag, which appears to have been created by the painter.
Long forgotten, the design was re-discovered in 2001 by Jean-Michel Mahé, a founding member of the CREDIB (Centre de Recherche et Diffusion de l'Identité Bretonne), an association founded in 2001 in Saint-Nazaire. The flag was modernized, using the model of ermine spots designed by Raphaël Vinet. The CREDIB ordered in 2002 the manufacturing of 100 copies of the flag.
[D. Kervella & M. Bodlore-Penlaez, Guide des drapeaux bretons et celtes, 2008; Communication by Hubert Chémereau, President of CREBID, 2004]

The noted painter and ethnologist René-Yves Creston (in Breton, Reun Kreston; 1898-1964; biography), born in Saint-Nazaire, was one of the founders of the Breton cultural movement Ar Seiz Breur (The Seven Brothers), which he led from 1923 to 1947. He was one of the main designers of the Breton pavilion at the Paris International Exhibition held in 1937, a milestone in the international recognition of the Breton cultural identity. Ar Seiz Breur is also credited the renewal of the Breton architecture and design; André Batillat (1901-1965), another of the historical "seven brothers", combined the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright and of C. R. Macintosh's Glasgow School.
Creston, hired by the Commandant Charcot as his official painter, illustrated the 1933 campaign of the Pourquoi-Pas ? in Greenland. Appointed in 1936 official painter of the Navy, he chaired the Arctic Department of the Musée de l'Homme. In August 1940, Creston joined the anti-German Resistance network established in Musée de l'Homme; he set up a clandestine group in Saint-Nazaire, which contributed to the preparation of the British raid on Saint-Nazaire (28 March 1942) known as "Chariot Operation". Deemed disloyal to the French State, Creston was excluded from the register of the painters of the Navy by the Vichy regime.

Ivan Sache, 25 June 2013