|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Michel Penhouët|
|• Land1||10.27 km2 (3.97 sq mi)|
|• Population2 density||220/km2 (580/sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||35287 / 35800|
|Elevation||0–64 m (0–210 ft)
(avg. 21 m or 69 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Fantastic viewpoints on the Pointe du Décollé, hill of La Garde Guérin and the Pointe du Nick.
Evidence of neolithic settlement remains in the form of a stone path (dolmen) (2000–5000 BC) at Plate-Roche.
The Roman conquest had little impact on the ancient settlement of farmer-fishermen. Far greater changes occurred several centuries later, with the Saxons and Frisons invasions in the early sixth century. In 513, King Arthur landed on the island of Cézembre, just facing the coast, with the new King of Armorica, Hoël I. This new regime favoured the settlement of missionaries from Cornwall, and in particular one of King Hoël's sons, Saint Lunarius (or Léonor), together with Saint Pompeius (or Coupaia), Saint Tugdual's brother, or Saint Sève and numerous monks and secular priests, who started clearing the local forest of Ponthul and erected a first chapel on the location of the present "Old Church".
According to one story, the local bishop granted a bell to St Lunarius and, with it, authority over all the hamlets lying within the sound of the bell. This area roughly corresponds to the old feudal lordship of Ponthual and, later, the municipality of Saint-Lunaire. The legend states that the inhabitants of a hamlet on the eastern edge of this area tried to maintain their independence by denying that they had heard the bell. This might explain the origins of the name of the suburb of "La Fourberie" ('Deceit' or 'Cunning'), next to Dinard.
Saint-Léonor thus became the main borough of the lordship of Ponthual, surrounded by various dependent hamlets. During the eleventh century, the family of Ponthual built the Old Church ("la Vieille Eglise"), which is one of the relatively rare romanesque churches of Brittany.
The town's name changed to "Saint-Léonaire de Ponthual" at the end of the seventeenth century and then to "Saint-Lunaire de Ponthual".
In February 1790, the revolutionary authorities established the first modern municipality with the name of "Port-Lunaire". This name lasted until 1803 when it was definitively changed to "Saint-Lunaire". The town slowly expanded during the first half of the 19th century. When Victor Hugo visited the area with Juliette Drouet, he might well have visited the little fishing port whilst preparing his novel on local fishermen, Toilers of the Sea(1866) - in which a murder is committed at the end of Saint-Lunaire's Decolle promontory.
Saint-Lunaire had changed radically by the end of the twentieth century. The local population grew with the development of Saint-Malo's fishing industry, particularly in the waters off Newfoundland. A model ship hanging from the ceiling of the new church serves as a reminder of Saint-Lunaire's many sailors. The local economy was later boosted by the development of the town as a fashionable sea resort.
Following the creation of Dinard in the 1860s, a couple of holiday houses were built along the Decollé promontory, starting with "La Trinité" by an Italian artist or one of several built by Baron de Kerpezdron.
Speculators later erected the sea front on the main beach and the Grand Hotel with its casino. Many private houses and luxury hotels were constructed around the turn of the century. This period was Saint-Lunaire's heyday, when many celebrities, artists and intellectuals came to visit.
Saint-Lunaire never quite recovered its former standing after the Second World War, but Saint-Lunaire and its neighbour Saint-Briac-sur-Mer are still considered to be two of Brittany's most elegant resorts.
Two historical monuments are registered in Saint-Lunaire:
- La vieille église, the Old Church, was restored in 1954. The 11th century nave is surrounded with two smaller sides, and joins the choir (sole Gothic part of this Roman style church) by a triumphant arch. Side chapels host the graves of local lords, the Pontual and Pontbriand families. In the middle of the nave a Gallo-Roman sarcophagus with a posterious engraved lid is presumed Saint-Lunaire's grave (although buried in various other locations), and folk traditions used to see bride and grooms roll under the grave for good luck.
- As always, the old church was surrounded by the graveyard. But the latter was removed in the 1950s, and the 16th calvary only remains on the south side of the church, with two noticeable sides, the Christ on the east side and the holy Mary with her son on the west one.
Saint-Lunaire is twinned with:
Inhabitants of Saint-Lunaire are called lunairiens in French.
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