This picturesque town, nestled in a beautiful bay, resembles the shape of a seashell and is a paradise for oyster lovers.
In fact, if you arrive in town at low tide, you can see the neat rows of oyster farms that are the royal dish here. Everything is reminiscent of this renowned seafood, from the many small restaurants to the fishermen’s stalls, which serve many varieties of shellfish right on the beach.
Cancale is a small, exquisitely Breton village: its houses are almost all made of old stone, it is dotted with renowned shops and when the weather is fine, the sea is tinged with green, a phenomenon that has given the region the name Costa Smeralda.
The port of Cancale is the beating heart of the town: at the end of the rue du Port, you will come to the quays, from which, on a clear day, there is a spectacular view of the bay of Mont Saint Michel.
Along the port, you will find cafés and restaurants of all kinds, offering terraces and terraces: it is the ideal place to savour the magnificent maritime atmosphere of the village. We recommend a walk to the lighthouse la Houle, from where you can admire the village in all its beauty.
Oysters are the quintessence of Cancale. You can enjoy them everywhere and in every way, but the unmissable experience in Cancale is to eat them right on the beach. In fact, near the Houle lighthouse, the oyster market takes place under small blue and white striped tents, where several local producers display their products.
You can buy them, choosing the size and quantity, directly on the spot: there are the huîtres creuses, smaller and less expensive, or the Cancalaise, expensive, large, fleshy and renowned. To make the experience even more rewarding, accompany your plate of oysters with a glass of white wine. Once you have finished tasting, do as all the locals do: throw the shells on the beach. This explains why there are so many empty oysters on the shoreline.
The centre of Cancale is small and cosy. There are many small shops to discover and where you can shop for typical products.
Don’t miss the Les laveuses d’huitres fountain on the cathedral square. Made of bronze, the statue represents the women of Cancale washing oysters by hand. A tribute to the town’s female figures, who looked after the town while the men went to sea for months to fish.
Just 4 km from the centre of Cancale is an exceptional site, the Pointe du Grouin, a promontory rising almost 50 metres above sea level.
Here you will have a superb view of the rugged coastline, from the cliffs of the Emerald Coast to Cap Frehel, with the Landes Island in front of you, a bird reserve that is home to many species of birds.
If you like walking, you can reach Pointe du Grouin on foot, following a part of the famous customs path, the GR34 . The start of the trail is located at the end of Cancale harbour and allows you to reach Pointe du Grouin, a beautiful 11 km hike, about 1.30 hours one way. The trail is fairly easy and not particularly demanding, but good walking shoes are required.
If the oyster is more than just a gastronomic passion and you are curious to know more, then you can visit the Ferme Marine to learn all about seafood culture.
Discover the entire oyster production cycle, from cultivation in the open sea to packing and shipping. You will observe the sorting, grading, cleaning: all the important steps in the processing of oysters, which are exported all over the world.
An incredible place to watch the sunset is the small Anse du Guesclin. Located between Pointe du Nid and Pointe des Grands Nez, at low tide it is possible to walk to Fort du Guesclin, built on a small island.
It is a charming spot that can also be reached by following the GR 34 route towards Pointe du Nid.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for a sandy cove for a few hours in the sea, we recommend Plage Verger: solitary, quiet and with a long tongue of sand that is welcoming and sheltered from the currents.
Another Cancale emblem is the Cancalaise, a traditional fishing sailboat that sails in the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel. It is a replica of ‘La Perle’, which sailed in the early 20th century.
Since 1984, the Bisquine Cancalaise association has been organising boat tours to discover the bay: if you are lucky, you may even spot dolphins.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
The small village of Cancale offers various types of accommodation: from refined and comfortable hotels to elegant flats, furnished with maritime taste. We recommend a night’s stay in Cancale to experience a beautiful sunset over the bay and enjoy a seafood dinner in one of the many restaurants in the harbour.
What's the weather at Cancale? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Cancale for the next few days.
Cancale is very close to Saint Malo, from which it is only 16 km away, while it takes 48 km to get to Mont Saint Michel, on the other side of the bay.
The most convenient and fastest way to get there is by car: you will have to allow 4 hours from Paris by first following the A81 to Rennes, then the D137.