Things to see and do - Cancale
Brittany - The Emerald Coast :
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Brittany - The Emerald Coast
Brittany - The Emerald CoastPedestrian, 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.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
From the far end of the point, there is a fine view of the beaches of St Cast and Pen Guen and the coastline as far as La Garde point. A statue of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde by Armel Beaufils stands here. A pathway for visitors runs around the point, along the beach corniche near the Ar Vro hotel, close to the oratory and follows the cliff on the point to the dry-dock entrance road on the south side.
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.
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.
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.
The broad view of the coast on clear days is especially beautiful at sunset. It goes as far as Grouin Point to the right, and to the left, up to Bréhat Island. Sometimes the Channel Islands can be seen; the illustrious outline of La Latte Fort stands to the right. According to a legend in ancient times, one could reach the Channel Islands on foot. Scientists have proved that this story is totally absurd. Nonetheless, at Frénaye Bay, some people say they can see a paved lane under the water at low tide! The commune of Fréhel was created in 1973 when the villages of Pléhérel and Plévenon were merged. These two «Plou» (which in Celtic means village, thus «Plé») were founded in the 5C. by the Britons from across the Channel, respectively called Hérel (we are almost here) and Venon.
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.