A second home owner in Brittany has reacted with anger after Breton nationalist graffiti was sprayed on his house – despite him being from the region.
The incident occurred on Sunday (May 7) night on the island of Ouessant, west of mainland Brittany.
The slogan called for the French from elsewhere in the country to stay out of Brittany.
A neighbour alerted the property owner, who then posted a photo on a local residents’ group on Facebook.
Members of the group, professing their shock and disappointment, were quick to confirm information the culprit had seemingly forgotten to do – the owner of the house was from the island.
À Ouessant, un tag vise la résidence secondaire d'un... couple ouessantin https://t.co/gopUgNR8T8— Le Télégramme (@LeTelegramme) May 9, 2023
‘Brittany for the Bretons’
The house was emblazoned with the phrase “La Bretagne aux Bretons, dehors les Français” (Brittany for the Bretons, French out).
In this sense, French means those from outside of the Brittany region, which has a distinct Celtic culture separate from the rest of France that many Bretons take pride in.
The homeowner, Gérard Jézéquel, however, is from Brittany, a fact that perhaps escaped the vandal.
On top of this, Mr Jézéquel’s main home is in Brittany, although on the mainland, near Rennes.
The property is a second home, but one used exclusively by Mr Jézéquel’s family, and not posted as a short-term let online, according to newspaper Le Télégramme.
“I was born in Ushant [the Breton name for the island] 68 years ago… and my wife was born in Ushant too… It’s a house I inherited from my parents,” said Mr Jézéquel.
The house was also tagged with the letters PNB – possibly in reference to the Parti national breton, a far-right political party.
Second-home ownership is high in the area
The act does show the anger that some - particularly on the Atlantic coast - feel over second-home rates in France.
Brittany has the fourth highest rate of properties classed as second-homes in the country (behind Corsica, Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and Occitanie), with 43% of these are owned by Breton people.
Almost one-third of second homes belong to people from Île-de-France (Paris and the surrounding departments), leading to feelings of resentment about the influx of visitors who some believe often do more harm than good.
A large number of second-homes are also rented out as short-term lets on sites like Airbnb, with a number of MPs campaigning to tighten regulations against this practice, in part to stop properties in holiday hotspots becoming exclusively second homes – pricing out would-be local residents.