Erquy on the bay of Saint-Brieuc in the Cote d'Armor, Brittany. Photo: AFP
The group, called Dispac'h (or “Revolt”) in Breton has denounced the “real estate speculation related to the development of second homes” on the Breton coast.
“Brittany is not a second home! Villages in ruins, the youth in exile,” say posters by the group (see tweet below) which have been attached to empty homes in the region.
The first wave of posters started appearing in March in Saint-Malo on the site of a private 5-star hotel by the sea as well as in other Breton towns popular with tourists and second home owners, many of whom are British.
“We want to educate both residents and elected officials on the regulation of secondary real estate,” spokesman Ewan Thébaud from the Dispac'h group, which describes itself as “'separatist”, told Le Figaro.
“What we want is to challenge local elected officials on the fact that there is no tool to regulate the inflation created by second homes,” said Thébaud.
People play on the beach of Saint-Michel-en-Greve on the Pink granite coast, on the Cotes d'Armor, Brittany. Photo: AFP
According to the group, 40 percent of homes on the Breton coast are second homes.
The group says that “housing has become inaccessible to those with low incomes” and denounces the dependence of Breton coastal towns on the tourist economy, with “villages left lifeless for more than half of the year” which is leading to the “disappearance of public services”.
And holidaymakers might be loath to find out that the group's views are backed up by the figures.
According to a study conducted by notaries Notaires de l'Ouest in 2017, 82 percent of new apartments sold in Brittany were second homes.
And some Breton towns are more impacted than others.
For example in Carnac (see below), one of the towns more affected, 72.7 percent of dwellings are second homes.
Carnac on the Breton coast. Photo: AFP
Mayor of Carnac Olivier Lepick however has tried to reassure holidaymakers.
“The locals are very happy to sell their house to Parisians for a high price but then complain about not being able to stay,” he told Le Figaro.
“Secondary residents contribute significantly to the economic well-being of the town,” he said. “Wanting them [tourists] to leave or taxing them would be tantamount to shooting ourselves in the foot.”