Now You Can Spend a Night Inside Some Serious History

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©www.hostunusual.com

Saint-Pabu is situated on the far North-Western coast of Brittany, surrounded by perfect white beaches and bucolic countryside and is these days described as the ‘Pearl of the Aber Benoit’ such is the town’s charm.

However, during World War Two it was also known as Target VI/I by the British RAF and came under heavy attack from US forces during Operation Cobra.

American armored and infantry forces pass through Coutances, France, in July 1944
American armored and infantry forces pass through Coutances, France, in July 1944

The heavy artillery and air strikes that were spent on the town were part of a concerted Allied effort to disrupt and destroy the Nazi radar installation set up to protect the port of Brest of the far Western tip of Brittany.

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©www.hostunusual.com

Part of that installation, the bunker ‘Anton L479’ survived the battles and can now be rented privately as a holiday let via www.hostunusual.com

The bunker was constructed by German engineers to withstand anything the Allies could throw at it and was an essential part of the Atlantic Wall framework.

Built for the exclusive use by Nazi officers the building is a two-storey design with twenty-four rooms.

Work started on the bunker in the Spring of 1943 and it was commissioned at the end of August in the same year.

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©www.hostunusual.com

Following the liberation by the Allies of Saint-Pabu in 1944 it was converted for use as a prison camp under the jurisdiction of French forces up until 1947.

After demobilisation the bunker became the property of the local commune and was used to house farm equipment up until 2015 when it fell out of use.

US M5A1 Stuart tank of the 4th Armored Division (VIII Corps) in Coutances
US M5A1 Stuart tank of the 4th Armored Division (VIII Corps) in Coutances

It was excavated late in 2017, the earth that had built up around and buried the main entrance was removed and the interior surveyed.

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©www.hostunusual.com

The upper level was dry but the lower level had to be pumped out as it was holding 35 cubic metres of water, welling up through pipe ducts and running in through antenna apertures, but the structure was found to be absolutely sound.

However, there was little remaining from the time the bunker was operational except a few rusted relics of gas filters and other minor items of standard German Army equipment.

It has since been through an extraordinary transformation. One that its former occupants would probably not recognise as it has been designed for modern living during peacetime.

Perfect for a large group of travellers it boasts a dormitory with eight beds and, for the pirates among us there is also a hammock room.

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©www.hostunusual.com

If you need privacy then there is one double bedroom too all at a price that starts at $350 a night (£280) with capacity for six people who all share a penchant for sleeping somewhere that, despite its modern makeover, still evokes the historic atmosphere of a building constructed to survive bombardment.

The thick concrete walls mean that the bunker is also ideal for anyone wanting to escape the ubiquity of WiFi, but the original radio operator might be pleased to know there is one room where you can communicate with the outside world.

Other facilities include two lounge rooms and a large spacious kitchen with its own bar.

The Battle for Brest was hard fought by the US and well defended by the German Wehrmacht paratroopers, dug in for the long haul. Supported by the British 79th Armoured Division Brest finally gave way on September 19th, 1944 when the Nazi General Ramcke surrendered to the American Brigadier General Charles Canham.

The cost of taking the Breton ports was deemed too high by the Allies. The Germans destroyed the port facilities rendering them inoperable by the time they had been won.

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Instead the Allies pursued a campaign of containment while pressing on to Berlin, leaving the remaining German garrisons in Brittany to eventually surrender the day after VE day.