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Brittany - The Emerald Coast

Brittany - The Emerald Coast

Pedestrian, By car, 100 km, 2 days

The Emerald Coast, named after the colour of the sea in Spring, embraces a number of places between the majestic bays of Mont St Michel and St-Brieue.

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1

Pointe du Groin   Worth a detour Worth a detour

35260 Cancale
Nature and gardens

The headland commands a sweeping view which extends from Cap Fréhel to Granville and Mont-St-Michel bay, with the Îles Chausey in the distance. Facing the Pointe du Groin, the Île des Landes is a bird sanctuary and nature reserve, home to common shelduck, shag, cormorant and gulls. A cave carved out of the cliff (10m high, 30m deep) can be explored at low tide via a footpath.

2

The Tip of Hock and the Customs Officers' Footpath   Interesting

Pointe du Hock 35260 Cancale
Nature and gardens

On both sides of the Tip of Hock, the Customs Officers' Footpath is suspended over the shore. There are many sights: the oyster bed at the bottom of the cliff, the Cancale Rock, the tip of the Chaîne facing Cancale Rock.

3

Ramparts   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

Quai de Dinan 35400 Saint-Malo
Architecture, castles and historic districts

By way of the St Vincent gate you reach the ramparts that were begun in the 12C. Some houses are still intact after the bombings of 1944. Beyond the Great Gate you'll find a view over the narrow isthmus which links the old town to the suburbs. From bastion to bastion you then go along past the houses of rich St Malo shipowners finding some attractive views both over the town that was rebuilt stone by stone and over the sea. An unmissable walk for an in-depth study of the privateer's city.

4

Corniche d'Aleth   Worth a detour Worth a detour

35400 Saint-Servan-sur-Mer
Nature and gardens

This walk offers magnificent views of the city of St-Malo, the islands of Petit Bé and Grand Bé, and the island of Cézembre. The city's fort can be seen together with the whole harbour, with, in the distance, the fortified isle of Grande Conchée, the Grand Jardin lighthouse (on the left), Harbour Island and its fort, Cap Fréhel and the Pointe du Décollé, followed by reefs. Take the steep downhill path to the right for a very fine view of the Rance estuary and, beyond, the tidal power-station.

5

Promenade du Clair de Lune   Interesting

Prom. du Clair-de-Lune 35800 Dinard
Architecture, castles and historic districts

This pedestrians seawall promenade offers an attractive view over the Rance estuary. Flower beds and striking Mediterranean vegetation add to its beauty which is further enhanced from mid-June to mid-September when the vegetation is discreetly illuminated and music plays in the background. It is ideal for a romantic walk with the partner of your choice, particularly as it leads to the Prieuré beach at the far end.

6

Pointe du Décollé   Worth a detour Worth a detour

D 786 35800 Saint-Lunaire
Nature and gardens

The Pointe du Décollé is joined to the mainland by a natural bridge over the deep Saut du Chat crevasse. Beyond the bridge, there are various possibilities for walks. From the granite cross, there is a splendid view over the Emerald Coast with Cap Fréhel in the distance.

7

Sirens' Cave   Interesting

Bd du Décollé 35800 Saint-Lunaire
Nature and gardens

From the bridge over the fault where it is open to the sea, you can see the bottom of the cave, pounded forcefully by the water at high tide.

8

Old Church  

Pl. du Pillori 35800 Saint-Lunaire
Religious buildings

Among the trees in an old cemetery, the 11C nave containing the tomb of St Lunaire is still standing. The recumbent 14C figure of the saint is lying on a Gallo-Roman sarcophagus. Seven other tombs can be seen in the transept. Note the richly sculpted tomb of a lady of Pontual (13 to 14C).

9

Pointe de la Garde   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Corniche de la Plage 22380 Saint-Cast-le-Guildo
Nature and gardens

From the far end of this headland, there is a fine view of the beaches of St-Cast and Pen-Guen. A footpath for visitors runs around the point: it skirts along the corniche by the beach near the Ar Vro hotel, passes close to the oratory, then follows the cliff, linking up with an access road to the slipway near the oratory on the south side.

10

Côte d'Émeraude (Emerald Coast)   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

35 Cancale
Nature and gardens

Since 1890, this pretty name has been used to refer to the stretch of coast between the bays of Mont-St-Michel (St Michael's Mount) and St-Brieuc. You can admire wonderful panoramic views at Pointe du Grouin and Cap Fréhel, the coast's most grandiose site. From here you can visit nearby Fort la Latte. Make a beeline for St-Malo, Dinard, a smart resort at the mouth of the Rance, and the family resort of St-Cast-le-Guildo. Beach-lovers will be spoilt for choice between St-Lunaire, Sables-d'Or-les-Pins and Val-André.

11

St Cast Point   Worth a detour Worth a detour

Chemin de St-Cast 22380 Saint-Cast-le-Guildo
Nature and gardens

On the point stands a monument in memory of those who «Escaped from France, preferring to die on their feet rather than live on their knees». The view of the Emerald Coast is superb. Next to the signal station is a useful orientation table. On the nearby Mare beach stands a monument to the victims of the frigate Laplace, blown up by a mine in 1950.

12

Fort La Latte   Worth a detour Worth a detour

22240 Plévenon
Architecture, castles and historic districts

This stronghold, built by the Goyon-Matignons in the 14C, was remodelled in the 17C and restored in the early 20C, but has kept its feudal appearance. Towering 60m above the sea, it stands on a spectacular site separated from the mainland by two gullies which are crossed by drawbridges. Once past the thick wall made to shield the defender from cannonballs, you reach the Tour de l'Échauguette and the curious oven used to heat the cannonballs until they were red-hot. Access to the keep is via a look-out post. The sentry walk commands a superb view of the entire Emerald Coast.

13

Cap Fréhel   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

D 16 22240 Fréhel
Nature and gardens

Situated between Saint Brieuc and Dinard, Cap Fréhel is one of the most spectacular sights along the Emerald Coast. Its 70m-high sheer cliffs overlook the sea, as well as reefs, which are battered by the violent breakers below. The tone of its red, grey and black rock changes according to the light. On a clear day, the Channel islands are visible from here.

14

The Lighthouse  

D 34 22240 Fréhel
Architecture, castles and historic districts

The lighthouse, (145 steps) built in 1950, uses a xenon arch lamp. Its light range varies from 200 m (in very thick fog) to 120 km (on nice days). From the tower gallery, one can see Bréhat Island to the East, Jersey to the North, Granville, part of Cotentin and the Island of Chayset to the North East. On misty days, at 400 m from the lighthouse, a siren produces a set of two sounds every minute.

The route can be extended further towards Cape d’Erquy and to the beaches of St-Lunaire, Sables-d'Or-les-Pins and Val-André.

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