Brittany

Côtes d’Armor

The Côtes d'Armor is famous for its fairytale pink granite coastline, medieval villages such as Dinan and breathtaking natural views including Cap Fréhel.
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This marvellous stretch of coastline is characterised by splendid and luxuriant nature that you can admire in the marvellous ornithological reserves onÎle de Bréhat and the Sept-Îles.

Or the fairy-tale enchantment of the Côte de Granit Rose, a true harmony of colours and shapes that seems to come straight out of a picture book of fairy tales for young and old.

But above all, you will be enchanted by the beauty of the harbour resorts, seaside resorts, medieval towns and enchanting fishing villages, where you can breathe in an authentic atmosphere of tradition and a jealously preserved past.

Perros-Guirec and The Pink Granite Coast

The pink granite coastline stretches some 16 km from the town of Trébeurden to Perros-Guirec, passing through four municipalities (Trébeurden, Pleumer-Bodou, Trégastel and Perros-Guirec).

It is one of the most famous and picturesque, ideal for families travelling with children to enjoy open-air days by the sea. Its characteristic pink colours and soft shapes accompany green coves and lively seaside resorts.

In summer, of course, it is stormed by tourists but you can find more sheltered and quiet corners such as the Sept-Iles.

Dinan

Dinan, a village perched on the Rance river and sloping down to the sea, is one of the most beautiful in France with its cobbled streets, half-timbered houses with medieval charm, its ramparts and barges winking along the quays of the old town.

It is a unique experience to stroll through its alleyways savouring all its medieval beauty, wandering around the Place des Cordieliers and Place de Merciers, the clock tower, the Sainte-Cathérine tower from the top of which there is a spectacular view, the convent cloisters or the Saint-Sauveurs basilica. Among the many picturesque corners, we recommend the descent from rue Jerzual and rue diu Petit Fort and don’t forget to take a tour of the walls.

The harbour also has a lot of charm. Here you can relax in some outdoor cafés or take a boat ride along the river, an original way to admire the city and take beautiful photos.

If you happen to be here in July, don’t miss the Fête des Remparts, where the townspeople dress up in medieval style and perform historical re-enactments, jousts, theatre, parades and ancient markets. This event takes place every 2 years.

Cap Fréhel

3Cap Fréhel, France (Website)

Beaten by the force of the winds and the sea, this stretch of coastline is among the most fascinating in the region and when the sky is clear, on a clear sunny day, the water turns emerald and you can even see the Cotantin in Normandy. The beauty of the coast is accentuated by the meadows covered with gorse and wild flowers and the two lighthouses that guard it.

There are more than 70 footpaths but we recommend the one to Forte la Latte, a remnant of the Second World War, from which there is a spectacular view of the bay.
Also not to be missed is a visit to the early 20th century lighthouse: if you feel like climbing its 145 steps, you can admire an unparalleled panorama.

This area is particularly suitable for birdwatchers.

Paimpol

This picturesque harbour is the starting point for exploring this stretch of coastline and learning all about the history of local fishing.

The Musée de la mer is an opportunity to learn more about seafaring life with photos, original objects and period equipment, while for an original excursion, you can take a clattering little train, the Vapeur du Trieux, a steam locomotive from the 1920s that takes you to Pontrieux.

Also not to be missed is a visit to the Abbaye de Beauport, an ancient abbey dating back to the 13th century, surrounded by beautiful nature.

Finally, we recommend a hike to the Sillon de Talbert, a curious tongue of sand that juts out into the sea for 10 km, a protected nature reserve where rare species nest.

Erquy

If you love scallops , then you must pop into Erquy, Brittany’s first port and the best place to taste coquilles Saint-Jacques. They are eaten fried, butter and garlic, roasted, stewed or in wine: a true paradise for the palate!

6 km from the village you can visit the wonderful Château de Bienassis surrounded by a beautiful garden and where medieval festivals and re-enactments are held.

To relax in an elegant seaside resort, you can go to Pléneuf-Val-André , a privileged place for holidays in the belle epoque and full of art deco villas and renowned beaches.

We recommend a visit to the fish market or attending the Fête de la Coquille Saint-Jacques held every two years in April.

From the harbour, a beautiful promenade leads to Cap d’Erquy, a nature reserve with spectacular pink sandstone cliffs and the beautiful Caroual beach.

Tréguier

This wonderful village de caractére is one of the most picturesque in Brittany, retaining all the charm of the area’s bishop’s capital. Its historic centre should be explored on foot, wandering through the medieval streets around the cathedral to discover ancient granite or half-timbered houses.

The masterpiece of Breton Gothic architecture, Saint-Tugdual, whose construction lasted no less than 150 years, recalls Chartre Cathedral in its magnificence and elegance. Its peculiarity is the 4 different types of stone (schist, Caen stone, pink granite and grey granite) that change shape, colour and volume according to variations in light. The magnificent cloister is also worth a visit.

If you want to experience a pardon, the one at Saint-Yves is one of the most famous in Brittany. It is held on the third Sunday in May and begins with a procession carrying the saint’s skull.

For an interesting diversions, go as far as Plougrescant where the church tower hangs in a very similar manner to that of Pisa.

Binic

Sea lovers can relax on the beaches or in the cafés of this town with a seafaring past. Indeed, from here fishermen braved the pitfalls of the Atlantic and Iceland to catch cod.

Don’t miss the Morue en fête dedicated precisely to cod. To admire the wonderful cliffs in the area, just take the path to Pointe de Plouha.

Lastly, if you have time for a little diversions, go as far as Kermaria where a famous pardon is held on the third Sunday in September and where there is the Chapelle de Kermaria-en-Iskuit with its macabre fresco in which death leads a procession of mortals.

Léhon

The small village of Léhon, situated in the picturesque Rance valley, preserves historical and religious relics that remind us of its important role in medieval times.

Visitors are particularly attracted by the Benedictine abbey Sainte-Magloire, founded in the 9th century by the King of Brittany Nominoë, the castle built in the 12th century on the promontory overlooking the bridge, and the old village houses, which together with the flower gardens and the atmosphere of yesteryear give this village a delightful and authentic appearance.

The Lehon bridge is poetically set on the banks of the Rance and surrounded by greenery: you can take beautiful photographs from both sides of the river.

Not much remains of the old Lehon castle, dating back to 1034, but it still dominates the village with all its grandeur.

Moncontour

Proudly clinging to a rocky spur at the confluence of two small rivers, Moncontour-de-Bretagne is still surrounded by imposing walls from the 13th and 14th centuries.

Here, time seems to have stood still in the Middle Ages: lush forests surrounding the village, flowering gardens of old granite houses, beautiful wrought-iron signs indicating arts and crafts, silence is king here, in stark contrast to the turbulent history of this formidable Penthièvre stronghold that has faced many attacks.

This little hamlet is truly delightful and well worth a visit during the many medieval festivals that enliven and revive the village.

Île-de-Bréhat

Nature lovers and hikers will not miss the opportunity to reach this beautiful island with its pinkish granite rocks.

Thanks to a much milder climate than on the mainland, nature here is lush and luxuriant and you can admire palm trees, exotic plants, mimosas and eucalyptus trees, while its coasts are dotted with small atolls and reefs inhabited by seals and seabirds that can be reached on foot at low tide.

Since these two small islands connected by a bridge are a nature reserve, one can only travel on foot or by bicycle to visit the 3.5-kilometre-long islands.

We recommend taking the tour that leads first to the Phare du Paon, then to the Phare du Rosédo and the Chapelle Saint-Michel, from where there is a splendid view.

The only settlement is Le Bourg with a small chapel and the Guerzido beach.

Pontrieux

Like many medieval villages in Brittany, Pontrieux owes its existence and prosperity to its strategic location on the Trieux River, ideal for pleasure boating in modern times and exploited to perfection by the Vikings in antiquity.

This village is decidedly enchanting: with its long river, flowering boats, old granite houses, ancient cobblestones, the preservation of customs and traditions and its wonderful harbour surrounded by greenery, Pontrieux will win you over with its old-world charm.

Don’t miss the 16th- to 19th-century houses made of wood, masonry and stone, the house known as the ‘Eiffel Tower’ (16th century), and the granite fountain (18th century), as well as the 50 flowered wash houses.
At night, illuminated boat tours are organised. Finally, in summer, the Pontrieux – Paimpol steam train operates.

Saint-Cast-le-Guildo

The sea in Brittany is particularly impressive and for a few hours of beach life, wind permitting, you can stop at the wonderful 7 sandy beaches of Saint-Cast-le-Guildo ideal for basking in the sun.

But this adorable village is also the starting point for several hikes: by taking the GR34 trail, you can either reach the windy Pointe de Garde or head to Pointe Saint-Cast from where you can admire the bay of Fresnaye and Cap Fréhel.

Saint-Brieuc

This placid seaside town is not a must-see in Brittany but can be a good spot for a beach stop or to admire the spectacle of the boats on dry land. Don’t miss the Saint-Etienne cathedral and the medieval houses, including the Maison Ribault, one of the oldest in Brittany.

From here, there are numerous paths for wonderful walks in the midst of nature: maps at the tourist office.

Lannion

In this colourful town, too, you can breathe in the medieval air, especially in the charming central square surrounded by the inevitable half-timbered houses.

After a nice walk along the river, you can visit the Église de Brélévenez founded by the Templars: if you feel like climbing the 140 steps, you can admire a splendid panorama from the top of its tower. Lovers of Breton beer can enjoy some at Le Lannionais.

If you have children in tow and find yourself facing a bad day, you can choose to visit Cosmopolis, a hub with a communications museum, a reconstructed Gallic village and the Planetarium.

Jugon-les-Lacs

Surrounded by a beautiful 4 km-long lake, Jugon-les-Lacs is an oasis in the middle of a sea of greenery.

Its architectural heritage, with its granite palaces and central square, is a proud reminder of Jugon’s past as the stronghold of Penthièvre at the time of the Dukes of Brittany.

Only 20 minutes from Dinan, this town of art and history is one of Brittany’s most charming tourist destinations, a meeting place for nature and history lovers. Its granite villas and beautiful natural environment make it the perfect setting for a charming stay.

Quintin

The ancient fortified town of Quintin is rich in historical monuments and boasts an incredible heritage of urban architecture, due to the conspicuous textile trade, particularly flax.

Built in the heart of the charming valley of the Gouët River, the town holds gems among the ancient lanes that have remained intact over time, in the lush surrounding landscape and in the proud local traditions preserved by the passage of centuries.

Map

In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

Itinerary in the Côtes d’Armor

Route: 200 km | Duration: 3 days | Recommended period: June/July

These 3 days are dedicated to themedieval atmosphere, rocky promontories and invigorating walks on the cliffs and the region’s most picturesque stretches.

Don’t forget to stop for fresh seafood with a nice oyster lunch.

  1. Dinan
  2. Cap Fréhel and Erquy
  3. Île-de-Bréhat and/or the Côte de Granit Rose

Insights

Dinan

Dinan

The cobbled streets, castle and half-timbered houses make Dinan one of the most picturesque villages in Brittany, with its charming medieval atmosphere.
Perros-Guirec and the Pink Granite Coast

Perros-Guirec and the Pink Granite Coast

The Pink Granite coastline is one of the most famous and evocative panoramas in Brittany, particularly the Customs Officers' Trail between Perros-Guirec and Ploumanac'h
Jugon-les-Lacs

Jugon-les-Lacs

A stronghold of the Dukes of Brittany, Jugon-les-Lacs boasts a rich architectural heritage, composed of granite villas and surrounded by 300 hectares of vegetation.