Our travels today took us from Dol de Bretagne southeast to Fougeres and Vitré. Both are towns with chateaus and medieval castles, and some of the best examples of them in France. They are two of our favorites. It’s so difficult to have favorites in France, as there are so many wonderful French villages, but these two rank up at the top.
Fourgeres is divided into two, with a lower part encompassing a medieval castle and town, and the upper, more modern town of Fougeres. A good way to start is in the upper part of town and then work your way downwards to the castle. You can walk through the public gardens of Place aux Arbres, which features terrific views of the castle medieval town below, and features hundred different versions of ferns (Figueres translates to fern). As you go walk through the gardens by way of a footpath you’ll make your way to the lower part of town (actually more scenic as most of the upper town had burned down in a fire in the 18th century) and the castle. As always, grab a map at the tourism office.
Our special in-room dinner service began with a wonderful massage for both of us, which was just what we needed after a long day of exploring medieval chateaus and towns in Brittany. It was followed by a fire lit in the large fireplace in our room, served with a demi-bouteille of champagne and appetizers. As the last sips of the champagne went down, the Manoir staff re-appeared to set up our table with salad plates, a bottle of Bordeaux and a wooden cutting board with a large raw coté de Boef steak and aluminum wrapped baked potatoes. They then set up a special grill in the fireplace and left us with instructions that when we were ready, to grill the steak five minutes each side and reheat the already baked potatoes. We followed the instructions shortly after and the end result was a fantastic dinner for two by the fire in our room. Quite something. Oh yes, almost forgot. Dessert were to small pots, individual-sized with an apple crisp topped with chocolate chunks. A few minutes on the grill and we had hot dessert to finish off an unforgettable dining experience at the Manoir de la Begaudiere.
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.
On our third day in Bretagne we headed further north close to the town of Morlaix, to a chateau called Chateau du Bois de la Roche, near Garlan and a few minutes outside of Morlaix.
On the way we first visited the coast taking D887 out of Port Launay to Camaret-sur-Mer. This is a rugged coastline with a lighthouse out on a point. There’s numerous trails to take and worth doing. If you drive right out to the point of Camaret there is parking and you’ll find the trail. Be careful with your footing in some of the areas!
After that we continued on E60 and on the way we turned off before Brest to visit Landerneau. We were close to Brest but decided to skip it. Its rather large town, much of it new as it was bombed quite a bit during WWII, so we decided on Landerneau instead. Landerneau is actually quite similar to Quimper. We enjoyed walking its old town streets, lined with well-preserved half-timbered buildings.
We continued on to the Chateau to get checked in and take a nap. The Chateau is owned by a German who bought the chateau with his wife some years before. Unfortunately shortly the purchase of the chateau she died of cancer. He now rents out rooms, helped out by his son, while he takes care of the large property. Our room was on the third floor, shared with two other rooms. They were empty, which means the common sitting area and the shared bathroom, were all for us to use. This is something to be aware of when taking a room at a Chateau; do you get your own bathroom? If not, do you mind sharing? We prefer our own, but forgot to ask this time. Fortunately it worked out for us.