Port Racine – Saint-Germain-des-Vaux, France - Atlas Obscura

Port Racine

Saint-Germain-des-Vaux, France

The smallest port in France is named after the pirate who created it. 


The smallest port in France is postcard-perfect. Quaint, charming, and frequently bathed in photo-friendly lighting, the little harbor is a serene refuge for the modest fishing boats nestled inside its walls.

Captain François-Médard Racine, one of the last prevailing pirates under Napoleon’s reign, thought the spot was pretty great too. He used the location as his strategic refuge and later built a pier at the site.

The pirate used the jetty to shelter his ships from poor weather and to remain hidden from any enemy forces patrolling the seas. By concealing his ships within the port, he was also able to sneakily launch his schooner and attack unsuspecting vessels that sailed within range.

Over time, the wooden fortifications Captain Racine built began to decay. The local fishermen tried to maintain them, but these attempts were futile as the water and weather continued wearing down the wood. In the late 1800s, a proper stone port was finally built. Now named after the pirate, the port is a small haven for the fishermen who use it for less plunderous purposes.

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