Bretagne (Part III) Guirec & St. Malo

St. Malo

On day four we left Morlaix on D786 northeast to Lannion. Lannion reminded us very much of Quimper.  We had lunch on the town bridge, which one of the few bridges in Europe that are still occupied (the other famous one is in Prague). We had lunch at one of the restaurants on the bridge that looked cute, but it wasn’t great. Too often those restaurants in great locations unfortunately do not have great food. They don’t have to, tourists go to them because they are conveniently located. We prefer to search for our food!

After Lannion we headed over to Saint– and Perros Guirec. This is just a great coastline for exploring and unusual due to its coloring. Known as the “Côte de Granit Rose” (pink granite coast), it stretches for more than 30 kilometres from Plestin-les-Greves to Louannec and is one of the outstanding coastlines of Europe. This special pink rock is rare and can be found in only three other places in the world; Ontario, Canada, Corsica and China.

We began by visiting Isle Grande and followed a wonderful trail around the island. Highly recommended. Next stop was Saint Guirec where we walked around the small port (very cute and quaint) and then visited the beach of Saint Guirec, which isn’t big but is it ever so beautiful. Large rose-colored granite rocks that look like they just fell to earth, are on both points of the small bay and have created islands in front of the bay. Be sure to take the trail to the left as you come in, up onto the boulders, for some panoramic views. You’ll see the Castle Costaeres on an island out in front. This place is popular, with tour buses coming in and out, so you may want to do it early or later in the day. Or off-season. Didn’t try lunch here, looked a little touristy, so we continued on to Perros Guirec and to a much larger beach. We had lunch here at one of the restaurants along the beach (We know-touristy, but we were really hungry!), and then followed the coastline eastward. A lovely drive that took us past the port of Guirec and eventually over to Treguier. By now we were getting tired so we decided to just head to our hotel and get set up for the night.

Our accommodations for the next three days was at the Manoir de la Begaudiere, located just outside Dol de Bretagne which is about 20 minutes from St. Malo. Another chateau operated by a husband and wife team with some help. You don’t get to see any of the chateau besides your room, but the rooms are large enough you don’t need more space. Ours had a large fireplace, kitchen and dining area. Something like a studio. Very comfortable with huge ceiling beams and a beautiful decorative rock wall around the fireplace. We had a great time here. Especially the special dinner we had which we write about in a separate post.

We arrived late so we just went to a local supermarket and picked up some break, paté, cheese, couscous, wine and salad to make our own dinner, as we had a kitchen. They brought us some wood and we made a fire and finished off the wine in front of it. Nice.

The next day we headed to St. Malo to walk the ramparts and city streets. We’ve been here before, and it is impressive, a completely walled oceanfront city which has an amazing history. It was home port to many French pirates. But St. Malo too, had suffered from fires, and today all the buildings are in rock, everything is in rock, and all the buildings seem to be the same as the others. Worth a visit, especially for the walk on the ramparts, but we moved on to Dinard to do a favorite walk of ours that is on the southwest side of the beach you don’t want to miss. Its a concrete/rock walk along the steep shoreline with numerous old, large chateaux situated above you. This is a favorite walk of ours and will be back to do it again. We were hungry and decided to just head back to the Manoir and finish off the leftovers from last night.

The next day headed southeast to visit Fougeres and Vitré, skipping Dinan even thought it is one of favorite walled French towns. If you haven’t seen it, don’t miss it. We’d say more about it but it was 16 years since we were last there and our memories are a little fuzzy. But for more on Fougeres and Vitré, check out those wonderful places in Part IV.

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