flickr: archer10 under CC
Our base in Brittany is St Malo. It consists of a walled city built in the early 1700s, a port and a long stretch of beach along the coast. Nearby are many picturesque villages: Cancale famous for its oysters; Pointe du Grouin with a view of Mont St Michel to the east and beaches to the west Dinard which is right across the mouth of the river but 20mins drive away, offering the best view of St Malo.
West of St Malo is the Côtes d’Armor. So many places to visit, but we’ll see how far we can drive in one day. One hour west and a good destination is Cap Fréhel peninsula, with cliffs, heather marshes and two lighthouses. 1.5hrs away from Cap Fréhel is Île-de-Bréhat, called the island of flowers, accessible by boat and full of nice walks. If we’re truly ambitious, we’ll aim for Ploumanac’h, two hours from Cap Fréhel which has breathtaking views of rock formations and lighthouses. I’m not sure if we can get that far, but if we’re really organised.
Inland from St Malo is the regional city of Rennes, an hour away. There is a large market on Saturdays so we’ll aim for that. On the road to Rennes are plenty of typical Breton villages and towns like Dinan, Combourg, Bécherel and Hédé that can be nice stopping points.
We will have one more full day in the area. We can revisit some of the places, or take a longer drive out to other parts of Brittany. In the 2.5-3hr range SW are Quimper with a daily covered market, a cathedral and timber houses and Concameau with a walled town and fishing harbour. Directly south of St Malo, also in the 2.5-3hr range are Carnac with iconic standing stones and Vannes on the Golfe du Morbihan with more beaches and islands. It’ll be good to see the south/southwest coast in addition to the north coast.
From St Malo we’ll head to the UK for a week. Instead of going back to Paris and getting the Eurostar, I’ve booked us on an overnight ferry to Portsmouth. Ahhh, back to the good old days of crossing the channel via ferry. Remember those £1 vouchers for Dover to Calais, hahaha.