17-20 March 2019
After St Patricks Day we started circumnavigating Brittany, absolutely lovely but largely Wi-fi free as we have only used one other campsite and it’s wi-fi was free but useless.
When we left we followed the Côte de Granit Rose, a lovely coastline of rocky bays, deep inlets and beautiful sand. The traditional Brittany houses have steeply pitched roofs of grey slate/stone tiles studded with pretty windows. Many of the names here and throughout Brittany are so reminiscent of Wales and Cornwall, including the area of Cornuaille which also has a St Yves!
We had been told St Malo was a must and after driving in circles a bit we found suitable parking on the outskirts and got a bus in to the very pretty old town where we joined the many groups of schoolkids in exploring. You can walk nearly all the way round on top of the old walls with great views and was difficult to believe that this walled citadelle was 80% destroyed by bombing during WW2, the rebuilding has been so well done to original plans. On the seaward side a beautiful sandy beach and scattered rocky islets, several with their own small forts on.
It was here we visited our first Breton Creperie and enjoyed our first experience of their delicacies, including Brittany Cider.
On the other side of the penisula to St Malo is the little harbour town of Cancale, often described as a one-mollusc town – that mollusc being oysters. The shallow bay where the oysters are farmed is lined with seafood restaurants and even at this time of year some were open and there were stalls at the end of the pier selling a bewildering array of different types of their famous bivalves – curved ones, flat ones, long ones, small and large. We had to try and so forced ourselves to try a platter of different types helped along with some white wine – this research stuff is such hard work!! As we walked back along the bay we could hear an accordian softly playing a traditional Irish tune, the notes drifting in aross the water from the end of the pier. Memorable.
On the first day of Spring we headed south, stopping at Dinan where we found a pretty spot beneath the viaduct, right next to the River Rance. A steep path took us up to the old city walls which gave great views down to the pretty little Port de Dinan, a short strip of houses and restaurants hugging the banks of the Rance, boats moored alongside.
The walls are an almost unbroken 3km but you can only walk part way along the top, The town itself has some lovely medieval houses which we wandered round before taking a steep, cobbled street, apparently unchanged by passing centuries, back down to Le Port.
An early evening walk along the river to a small nature reserve gave us sightings of deer drinking at the waters edge and great crested grebe gliding elegantly on mirror-still water. The birds were singing their hearts out which made us think spring was coming, until the temperatures plummeted along with the sun!