France / Landmark
The Pourrousset beach is a perfect illustration of the possibilities offered by the Esterel coast as it was a discreet shelter for the underground Resistance, and a natural support for an effective defense system.
This beach, along with the Pointes Longues rocks, closed off the Agay harbour, which was controlled and defended, along with its counterpart located opposite, by the Pointe de la Baumette and its lighthouse.
Situated between Agay and Dramont, the area offered discreet shelter, ideal for exfiltrating and infiltrating English secret agents, French Resistance leaders, compromised members of the Resistance, and political figures coming from or going to London.
This was one of the activities carried out by ‘le réseau Carte’ (maps network), which carried out clandestine embarkation and disembarkation operations on moonless nights in various places along the coast, including the Agay, Anthéor and Trayas creeks.
These operations sometimes involved submarines, and more frequently "felouques" (small 14m fishing boats with sails), belonging to the very active Franco-Polish F2-Azur intelligence network. Off the coast, they met up with larger boats making the shuttle to Gibraltar. But the operations were not always successful and sometimes a submarine went to the wrong cove. Thus Jean Moulin and other great names of the Resistance waited in vain in September 1942.
The local Resistance fighters provided transport, shelter and protection, including Paul Labbe, Marie-Louise Robinson and Marceau Sciaguato. The Resistance fighter Germaine Sablon, a member of the maps network and a major music-hall performer in the 1930s, lent her neighbouring villa and sometimes took part in operations with her companion, the writer Joseph Kessel.
The area provided a natural base for an effective defensive system: pillboxes, bunkers, reinforced concrete blockhouses for land and anti-aircraft artillery, cannons and machine guns.
These fortifications, which caught the beaches in a crossfire, kept watch over the harbour and protected the occupying forces' long-range radars installed at La Baumette and on the Dramont summit. By chance, some of the fortifications are still visible on the hill behind the road.
In 1943, the occupying forces laid a metal net at Pointes Longues, that crossed the Agay harbour as far as La Baumette. This metal net, fitted with underwater mines, prevented submarines from entering the harbour and prohibited any landings.