Home of Lovely Beaches, Pretty Harbors, Historic Towns and Great Local Produce
Brittany really does have something for everyone!
The climate compared with England has warmer summers with longer evenings because of the extra one hour time difference and milder winters. This gorgeous area of Brittany is most definitely an excellent all year round tourist centre there are many more holiday attractions and beautiful historic places to visit, for those of you who enjoy a day on the beach the choice is endless.
La Cote d’Emeraude (Emerald Coast) is extremely attractive, with lots of charm and character, the sea takes a multitude of shades of green that evolve with the day light and you understand why this coastal area is called the Emerald Coast. It has the easy to reach both Ferry and Port of St Malo and the International Airport at Dinard. Further a field the ports of Roscoff, Caen and Cherbourg.
Brittany’s sandy beaches are some of the cleanest in Europe, and the locals are friendly and increasingly English-speaking. As the region is so accessible, it’s very easy to unwind and breathe in the clear air along France’s northwestern enclave. This costal region offers a myriad of seafood: oysters, coquilles St-Jacques (scallops), lobsters and an endless array of white fish. It’s also very well known for its cheeses, most of which are soft and white, like the famous camembert.
La Cote d’Emeraude, west of the River Rance, is dotted with traditional family seaside resorts. This attractive coast of rocky headlands and safe sandy beaches becomes wilder towards Cap Frehel. Beyond this point the rocks start to shade of pink, with the Côte de Granite Rose (Pink Granite Coast) a short distance further west across the Bay of St Brieuc.
Our Traditional Family Sea Resorts
St-Enogat / Dinard
Originally, Dinard was part of the parish of St Énogat. In the late 19th century, the resort became popular with the British wealthy who built magnificent villas on the coast. From St Enogat’s sandy beach there are breath taking views of the small islands, cliffs and forts that guard the approaches to Saint Malo’s harbor.
The village of Saint Enogat is well worth a visit! boosting, some very good cafes/bars, restaurants, an excellent creperie and a mini golf with sea-view! very popular with youngsters! During July and August on the beach there are sporting activities and a beach club for the toddles. Take a stroll along the costal walk path from the St Enogat beach to Dinard’s main beach “plage de L’Ecuse” this takes about 15 mins. The open market is on Wednesday morning during July and August.
Named after a Breton saint who established the settlement in the 6th century, St-Lunaire was turned into a wealthy resort in the late 19th century by a Haitian, Scylla Laraque. Already fashionable with artists, the composer Debussy composed “La Mer” here at the start of the 20th century. There are several small sheltered beaches to the east and the larger more exposed Plage de Longchamp which is renowned as a “surfers’ spot”. Popular town for wining and dining, the weekly open market day is Sunday morning.
Surrounded by nine sandy beaches and a coastal trail features views, it will appeal to lovers of nature, Grand large or relaxing with family. St Briac nestles on the western side of the Fremur Estuary on which the town’s pretty beaches are set. Holiday villas dominate the surrounding area and the resort attracted such popular 19th century painters as Renoir and Signac. A former fishing village, a jewel of the Emerald Coast, home of master mariners, St. Briac kept around his church (bell tower XVII) neighborhoods of narrow streets and winding the charm. Here you have a excellent choice of cafes and restaurants and St Briac’s weekly open market day is Friday mornings all year round and Monday morning in July and August.
Located on a narrow peninsular some 16 km from St-Malo, St-Jacut is another attractive 19th century seaside resort. It was founded by the Irish monk, St-Jacut, who established an important abbey in the area although little remains today. Home of eleven safe sandy beaches and very popular place for collecting shellfish at low tide. This charming fisherman’s village boosts an excellent choice of restaurants, cafes/bars, crêperie, and mini-market. During July and August there are many activities to offer such as yachting, dingy sailing, sand yachting, wind surfing and canoeing together with a children’s sailing school, a diving school. Bike hire is also available at the local beach bar ‘La Payotte’. In the summer months the weekly open market day is Friday morning.
14 km further west from St-Jacut, St-Cast is a pleasant town set on the next peninsular with the wide mouth of the River Arguenon just beyond. There are 7 beautiful beaches that range from small rural coves to the main stretch at La Garde with over 2 km of sand, her you have many sporting activities during the summer months and a children’s beach club. The resort boosts a marina, good selection of restaurants, bars/cafes, boutiques and an excellent cake shop in the precinct, definitely not to be missed! called “A la Belle Meunière”. The Open market day during the summer months is Monday morning.
A few kilometers east of Cap Frehal’s tip and around 35 km from St-Malo, Fort la Latte is one of the most dramatic castles on the coastline of Brittany. It has a magnificently isolated position on a rocky promontory almost completely surrounded by sea. The location makes for an ideal film set with several being shot here over the years of which The Vikings, in 1957, is the most well known. Open all year round but restricted to weekend and school holiday afternoons in winter.
The splendid headland of Cap Frehel is a very popular place to visit with its striking cliffs and wild moorland. The lighthouses can be visited in the summer months with a glimpse of Jersey the reward on a clear day. Walkers descend in their droves to the peninsular which is virtually free of human habitation and the views from the 70m high cliffs are exhilarating. Cap Frehel is a protected area and there is a wealth of bird life nesting in the cliffs and small islands just offshore. To get the low-down alternative view, try a boat trip from St-Malo.
Visit Our Beautiful Historic Towns
The eastern part of Brittany, south of Saint-Malo and Dinard. A highlight of a visit to Brittany, Dinan is a very impressive walled town set on a hillside overlooking the river Rance. It is one of our favorite towns in Brittany and definitely not to be missed.
Set alongside the River Rance it can claim to be the most perfectly preserved medieval town in Brittany. Old world charm is everywhere. Picturesque 15th & 16th century half-timbered houses with their pointed gables and wooden porches line cobbled streets, while a 14th century castle and ramparts that completely encircle the town state clearly that this was once a major military stronghold. A museum housed within the castle is really worth a visit. Dinan has many great shops, bars, cafes, restaurants – you can be sure of a pleasant surprise around every corner. Its a good idea to explore the town by foot, a long stroll down the ancient Rue Jerzual, which connects the market town with the port area. The weekly open market day is Thursday morning.
The Port de Dinan Lanvallay is a today an active marina. Boat trips to the fortress of Saint Malo and the Channel Islands or simply on the river the Rance therefore generate a constant flow of traffic. A multitude of yachts and sailing boats are moored along the Quai Tallard and display their white sails for the pleasure of all. Many traditional restaurants and crêperies line the quay and offer a prime view of the port, well worth a visit! – During the summer season there are boat trips available leaving from the port, you will head down the river Rance and discover Dinard and the Corsair City of Saint Malo. You can make the return trip by boat, or go there by boat and return by a regular coach service.
Superb seaside resort with its magnificent beaches, its walks along the sea, its sumptuous villas, its gardens where flourishes Mediterranean vegetation, Dinard “the elegant” has kept for you the special charm of the resorts of the Belle Time. Originally a small fishing village called Saint Enogat. Dinard considered as one of the most “British” of sea resorts in France, however it has retained it’s lovely French charm. The town has several beaches, all of which are sandy, clean and large. The main beach is Plage de l’Écluse and the second largest are Saint-Énogat and Prieuré beaches. The seafront at Dinard is lined with Victorian buildings, which ensure the town still retains its elegant and sedate old world character. Dinard’s nightlife, many bars, fine restaurants and stunning boutiques fill the town’s streets, one of the attractions include ‘Dinard’s famous casino’ with a restaurant facing the sea and a hall which hosts many expositions. The open market days are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. The covered market ‘Les Halles’ is open daily from 7 am to 1,30 pm.
– Sea bus taxi service available from Dinard to St Malo – a true link between the two towns! practical, regular, fast and enjoyable, up to 54 departures per day in the summer months.
Saint-Malo has all the features of a first class seaside resort with its rich architectural heritage and museums, superb beaches and harbor. It gets his name from a Welsh monk called Mac Low. St Malo has 29km of coast with 11 beaches over 8km. Saint Malo is the international capital of sailing sports (Route du Rhum) and the second biggest port in Brittany. It has ferry routes to England, the Channel Islands, Ireland and the Breton Coasts.
Walking through the cobbled streets of the old town feels like you’ve stepped back in time! This popular tourist destination and busy ferry port offers visitors an authentic glimpse into Brittany’s important seafaring past. This historic town is built on a granite island, visitors are able to walk round the ramparts of the city’s 20ft thick walls with view of the town and the stunning harbor, the ancient citadel, the Cathedral St Vincent, dominates the skyline. Saint Malo is full of history, many winding streets and great sea views. The tall granite buildings, most of which were restored after being bombed during the war, house an interesting mix of cosy cafes and restaurants to suit all tastes and boutiques by the dozen. Take a tour on the little train to get your bearings or enjoy a bracing walk around the ramparts…..
Saint Malo is known to have the highest number of sea food restaurants in Europe and it is most famous for its local oysters from Cancale, a village nearby. The weekly open market days in St Servan are Tuesday and Friday mornings.
– Sea bus taxi service available to Dinard, and boat trips to other destinations along the ‘Emerald coast’….
Famous for its oysters, the seafront of the “oyster capital”, Cancale is an active fishing village, but most of the fishermen cottages lining up the Port de la Houle waterfront today house crêperies and sea-food restaurants, the scale and variety of the seafood make a very pleasant lunchtime visit. You can seat at their terrace and enjoy eating the beautiful fresh oysters while watching the fishing boats dancing on the water at high tide. You can also take a stroll on the beach among the fishing nets left to dry by the fishermen. The picturesque Port de la Houle is a shallow harbor. The walk from the famous Cancale rock up to the Pointe du Grohin gives superb views of Mont St Michel on a clear day. The weekly market day is Sunday morning.
Further Afield – Visit Our Famous Mont-Saint-Michel
Mont Saint-Michel is a tiny little commune on an island in France and is one of the prettiest places to visit. Its Abbey is famous the world over and it probably comes as no surprise that Mont Saint-Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s located in the Manche département, off the coast of Normandy. It lies 41 miles (66 km) north of Rennes and 32 miles (52 km) east of Saint-Malo.
Mont-Saint-Michel is almost circular (about 3,000 feet [900 meters] in circumference) and consists of a granite outcrop rising sharply (to 256 feet [78 meters) out of Mont-Saint-Michel Bay (between Brittany and Normandy). Most of the time it is surrounded by vast sandbanks and becomes an island only when the tides are very high. Before the construction of the 3,000-foot causeway that connects the island to land, it was particularly difficult to reach because of quicksand and very fast-rising tides. The causeway, however, has become a barrier to the removal of material by the tides, resulting in higher sandbanks between the islet and the coast.
It is hands-down one of the places in France that you need to go out of your way to go visit. Don’t believe me? Well just check out these reasons why you have to visit Mont Saint-Michel:
It is really beautiful during the day! It somehow manages to be even prettier at night! The Abbey is beautiful inside regardless of wherever you are in the Abbey. The streets are quaint and pretty especially so when seen from an ample (and high) viewing platform. Even the foggiest of days with the most miserable weather is not enough to dull the allure and charm of Mont Saint-Michel.