The town of Dinan is located about 50 kilometers north of Rennes. Dinan is located on a hill above the Rance, which widened towards the north quickly and flows into the sea at St-Malo. On a boat trip on the Rance you can visit both cities.
Dinan has around 14,000 inhabitants and offers a historic old town with beautiful half-timbered houses in the Rue de l'Horloge and the Place des Cordeliers. Worth seeing is also the castle from the 14th century. The picture-book city is surrounded by a 2.6-kilometer-long city wall. The most famous building in the city is the Tour de l'Horloge. Another attraction is the gothic Saint-Malo church. Rue du Jerzual, with its traditional artisan workshops, leads to the small port of Dinan with its cafes and restaurants.
St-Malo is the most beautiful harbor town on the French Channel coast. The city of about 46,000 inhabitants was built on a peninsula to be better protected against attacks. In the 12th century, Saint-Malo was surrounded by a medieval city wall, which was fortified in the 17th century. At the northeastern edge of the city wall, Queen Anne de Bretagne had the château built around 1500 to control the defiant population of St-Malo. She had the words "Quic en groigne, ainsi, sera, car tel est mon plaisir" carved on a tower. In English: Who wants to grunt, should grumble, I don't care! The locals call the castle simply "Quic en groigne".
From Saint-Malo, corsairs set sail for hijacking English freighters. They had a coroner's letter from the French government and gave the state a share of the spoils. Around 1700, Saint-Malo was the main port of France. The most famous corsair was Robert Surcouf, who even built a statue in St-Malo. A statue is also dedicated to Jacques Cartier, who in 1535 explored the Saint Lawrence River (Fleuve Saint Laurent).
During the Second World War, Saint-Malo was destroyed by British bombers because the German commander did not want to surrender. After the war, St-Malo was reconstructed after historical photos and today looks like a 17th-century city. Worth seeing is the city wall, where you can walk around the city center and has a wonderful view of the rocky coastline with its offshore islands.
In Rothéneuf Jacques Cartier was born, who explored the St. Lawrence River and thus pave the way for the French colony of New France. The Indian settlements Stadacona near Quebec and Hochelaga on Mont Real were discovered by Jacques Cartier.
The sights of Rothéneuf are the weathered stone heads Les Rochers Sculptés, left by the priest Abbé Fouré on the rocky coast. Fouré was paralyzed since his 30th year half-sided, he created bizarre fantasy characters until he died in 1910 at 71 years. The granite sculptures are on a private property, you have to pay a small amount of money as an entrance fee.
The village of Rothéneuf is located about 6 kilometers northeast of St-Malo.
Saint Lunaire is located west of St-Malo, on the other side of the Rance estuary. The small coastal town has two wide sandy beaches. The main beach is on Rue de la Grève, where you will also find the Grand Hotel, the Tourist Office and the center of Saint Lunaire. Who wants to see a spectacular sunset should visit the Plage de Longchamp. The beach is oriented to the northwest and offers in summer in nice weather a romantic sunset. Above the beach stands a powerful bunker from the Second World War. Saint Lunaire is a quiet place that does not seem crowded even in midsummer.
The Cap Frehel is one of the most famous places in Brittany. The 70 m above the sea towering rocks offer a beautiful view over the cliffs. From the Phare du Cap Frehel, the lighthouse, the view is even more spectacular. At Cap Frehel there is the bird cliff La Fauconnière, where puffins and other seabirds have settled. If you want to, you can hike along the coast to Fort La Latte. The coastal walk on a narrow path is about 10 kilometers long.
The small coastal town of Cancale is located about 12 kilometers east of Saint Malo. Shells are bred in the shallow bay. There is a market on the waterfront where you can buy shells. At the port there are also numerous restaurants famous for their fresh mussels.
Northwest of Perros-Guirec, the Côte de Granit Rose extends to Trébeurden. Pink rock formations gave their name to the enchanting coastline. No visitor to Brittany should miss this stretch of coast. The Côte de Granit Rose is rightly considered the most beautiful landscape in Brittany. The bizarre rocks change their color depending on the light. The section between the Plage de Trestraou in Perros-Guirec and the beach of Saint-Guirec is the highlight of the Côte de Granit Rose. Here is a coastal path on which you walk through the bizarre rock landscape. This part is also called Sentier des Douaniers (publicans path). The reddish granite was sanded down by wind and water, of course the most famous rock is the "Hat of Napoleon" and the Château du Diable (Devil's Castle).
The port city of Paimpol became famous for fishing. The novel "The Icelandic Fishermen" by Julien Viaud played in the streets of Paimpol. A road was even named after the Icelandic fishing grounds Rue des Islandais Grundarfjordur. From 1935 it went downhill with the fishing and the fishing port became a marina of tourists. The harbor is still the center of Paimpol, here is the busiest, here are the restaurants, cafes, bakers and butchers, here stroll the young ladies from Paris and the old gentlemen from Paimpol. The most beautiful corner of the city is the intersection where Rue des Huit Patriotes meets Rue de la Vieille Poissonnerie (photo).
About 5 kilometers north of Paimpol is the Point de l'Arouest, the end point of the peninsula. From here you can catch the ferry to the rugged Île de Bréhat, which is only 2 kilometers away. The beach at the Point de l'Arouest is very rocky, at low tide you can see rocks everywhere from the water. Some rocks have acquired an intense yellow color due to lichen growth.
Vitré is located about 35 kilometers east of Rennes, on the way to Paris. The small town has about 18,000 inhabitants, but looks very sleepy. This is probably due to the large shopping centers Vitré has built on the outskirts. Most of the shops are in Rue de la Poterie. But you do not go shopping for vitré but because of the grandiose castle. The castle of Vitré was built around the year 1000 and enlarged in the 13th century to its present form. During this time, the old town of Vitré with church and city walls was built. The castle was built on a triangular plan, with a large courtyard. In the 16th century, the castle was expanded into a castle. The Chateau Vité is one of the most beautiful medieval castles in France.
The Mont Saint Michel is one of the most famous sights of France. The Mont Saint Michel is located about 60 kilometers north of Rennes in Normandy. Since this sight is overrun by millions of visitors, you should plan the visit a lot of time. More detailed information we have summarized in a special Mont Saint Michel.
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Excursions around Rennes
Rennes is the capital of Brittany and lies inland. But the most beautiful landscapes of Brittany are on the coast. The distances are low, the sea is less than 60 kilometers away. If you want, you can make day trips to the coast or to other local attractions from Rennes. The regiopia guide Brittany shows you the most interesting places around Rennes.