Plogoff Plays Piano Scales on the Clifftop

Plogoff in Finistère on the weather-beaten Brittany coast doesn’t presently have many world-class concert pianists … but that may be about to change.  

Tinkling the ivories on a Breton clifftop

The residents of this small farming village (pop 1,388) have by turns been amazed and amused with the discovery of a solid, old Holstein piano — weighing about 150 kg — that somehow wound its way mysteriously to the edge of the Pointe du Raz cliff-face — enjoying magnificent views over the Celtic Sea —  to offer a clear invitation to would-be local Van Cliburns to come practise their scales, bracing sea air notwithstanding (see the video clip below).

It took about three days for local news media to get to hear of the unusual new home for the piano and soon reporters and curious locals including Plogoff mayor Maurice Lemaître, were trekking along stony paths to the scene seeking to unravel the tale.

Plogoff mayor Maurice Lemaître played a little solo himself but confessed he was as intrigued as the France 3 reporter about the “message” behind the piano on the cliff.

“Certainly up here, the view is very beautiful as everyone can see, but it is a mystery why whoever did it decided to lug a piano weighing about 150 kg out here where there are no roads!” the amused mayor told MYTF1News. “It’s an old Holstein piano and for my part I always thought only cows were called Holsteins!”

The mist surrounding the affair started to lift after the local gendarmerie began some inquiries. Locals said they had seen the so far unidentified benefactors trundling along a stony path at the cliff’s edge bearing the gift.


Un piano perché sur le bord d’une falaise en… par videosinsolites


“Apparently, several witnesses said they saw a white van driving along a local track in broad daylight before four men and a woman got out on the footpath loaded the piano onto a handcart and heaved it to the spot where we found it, ” Maurice Lemaître said.

The chances of holding a full orchestral concert on the Celtic Sea cliffs to commemorate the piano’s pilgrimage were soon dashed however. The mayor announced that council workers would take steps to retrieve the instrument and place it in local storage until its owners could be found or someone turned up to claim it.

“There is obviously a subliminal message being orchestrated here but I must confess I’m a little tone deaf and so far it has escaped me. However it’s been fun and the community has enjoyed it so why not? ”  he said.

Google map showing Plogoff on the Brittany coast

No one has yet revealed what the stunt was all about but pianos found on cliff edges might be more than just a fad.  At this time of Cyprus bailouts and huge financial distress around the European Union Zero Hedge has a few words about French pianos: “ In the early 1790s the interim government of post-revolutionary France began an experiment with paper money called assignats. Famous orators declared it a panacea to the crisis that had been plaguing the country at a time when people were begging for solutions.

“Initially the results were very promising, and property prices began to rise. People cheered their perceived ‘wealth’ and asked for even MORE paper money.

“Of course, it didn’t take very long for a currency crisis to develop… and within a few years, hyperinflation, capital controls, and failed price controls had taken hold. In the Weimar Republic, the same thing happened when the government switched from ‘gold marks’ to ‘paper marks’. Initially, asset values rose. Stocks and property surged, and people felt very wealthy.

“Shortly after, the currency collapsed. Pianos became a medium of exchange, and paper marks became nothing more than fuel for furnaces.”

  • Earlier it was revealed that a Scots woodcutter Kenny Campbell, from Bonar Bridge had carried a piano up Britain’s highest mountain Ben Nevis as a fundraiser for charity. The stunt came to light just recently — 35 years later — when litter pickers on Ben Nevis found the piano and set about bringing it down again.


Story: Ken Pottinger

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