› Culture

First of all we'd like to talk about some of Port-Bail's many "characters".

 - What did Aubert the border guard do to have a road named after him

 - How many roads are named after old mayors

 - Father Albert

 - Why does the town X bear this name

Eugène Auguste Emile Bretel was a famous French butter producer, born 1.8.1842 in Port-bail, died 1933.Eugène Bretel initially specialised in home made egg and salted butter production in Port-Bail. In 1865 he started exporting it to England. Then in 1871 with his brother Adolphe (1840-1913) in Valognes, to take advantage of the workforce as it increased in size, he created a butter manufacturing business known as Maison Bretel Frères (The House of the Bretel Brothers). 

Winners of several prizes at many universal exhibitions (including Paris 1878, Paris 1889, Chicago 1893 and Paris 1900), the company achieved a turnover of 29 million golden Francs in 1903, 80% of which came from exports.La Maison Bretel Frères grew and grew by buying up factories across Normandy as well as creating the Nouvelle beurrerie d'Ille-et-Vilaine (New Ille-et-Vilaine butter factory), in Rennes to market Breton butter. The business was taken over in 1933 by their nephew Raoul Le Doux (1875-1970). It then had 17 factories. The company then merged in 1960 with the Bricquebec dairy association, which itself was taken over in 1972 by Gloria. 

At the end of the 19th century, with his fortune made, Eugène Bretel bought the château de Chiffrevast (17th century), near Valognes (Manche department), which he furshished and decorated with style.

1 Eugène Auguste Emile Bretel 1/8/1842, Portbail, son of (2 and 3)

2 Auguste Jean François Bretel (wood turner) 18/8/1809, st lô d’Ourville † 23/3/1871, Portbail (son of 4 and 5). 

3 Henriette Lehieulle 25/9/1808, Gouey (daughter of 6 and 7)

4 Jean François Bretel (weaver) 28/2/1762, st lô d’Ourville † 22/10/1839, st lô d’Ourville

5 Marie Anne Lelubee 22/8/1781, Canville † 29/11/1831, St lô d’Ourville

6 Jean Baptiste Lehieulle

7 Anne Lefillatre


René Victor Fenouillère was a former International French footballer. He was born in Port-Bail on 22 October 1882, the youngest of 6 children. He died in combat to the north of Reims on 4th November 1916. He started with the US Avranches youth team and then crossed the channel to study. In 1904 he started playing for FC Barcelona. After his time in England and Spain, he Joined Parisian team Racing Club de France and then Red Star, Paris's other team. His only French cap came in 1908 during the Olympic games. He played his last match in 1915 - a friendly between Avranches and allied troops. During the first world war, René Fenouillère was in Granville's 2ndInfantry Regiment. In 1915 he was injured whilst in combat in Belgium. He was then repatriated to Avranches. Once treated, he went back into combat. Second Lieutenant Fenouillère died on the front line on 4th November 1916. He is buried in Sillery National Cemetery (Marne).

Our sources: Jacques Simon, Un siècle de football normand (A century of Norman football), Éditions Charles Corlet, 1998, p.170.

1René Victor Fenouillère 22/10/1882, Port-bail † 4/11/1816

2 Achille Gustave Fenouillère (dealer) ° 16/9/1834, Port-bail

3 Vitaline Saoul

4 Victor Fenouillère (notary)                                                                                                                5 Victorine Savary