Places to Visit

NEARBY BEACHES & PLACES OF INTEREST

Le Val André / Erquy (25 – 30km from Quessoy)

This is our favourite local beach.

Le-Val-Andre features a huge beach with fine sand and a long pedestrian promenade that stretches along the Victorian-style seafront. Head to rue A-Charner, which runs parallel to the sea, for a good selection of shops and restaurants. Like so many other coastal towns Le-Val-Andre also features a casino right on the waterfront for an evening out.

To the east of Le-Val-Andre is the delightful town of Erquy with its spectacular stretch of beach which curves through more than 180 degrees. A great feature of Erquy is that, at low tide, the sea disappears beyond the harbour entrance, leaving just tiny pools of water. Equip yourself with stout shoes and take a walk right across the mouth of the harbour from the grassy wooded headland to the lighthouse at the end of the jetty. Enjoy some shopping in Erquy or tuck into a fresh fish dinner in one of the many restaurants.

SAINT BRIEUC (approx 20km from Quessoy)

St Brieuc, in the north-east of Brittany and only half an hour away, has some attractive, well preserved streets, with very good shopping in Rue Fardel and Rue Quinquaine, around the cathedral. The city is a popular centre for cultural events and festivals, in particular the Festival of Breton Music in late September.

St Brieuc is well worth a visit for the lovely markets, usually on a Wednesday and Saturday. They’re great to amble around and pick up some local fresh produce, flowers, breads etc.

If you reach the heart of the town the main things to check out are the cathedral of Saint Etienne and the sprinkling of half-timbered houses in the streets that surround the cathedral. The 15th century cathedral is impressively fortified – the main entrance has sturdy 100 feet high towers either side with slits that allowed weapons to be fired from them. There are also some very attractive decorative pieces inside the cathedral, such as the 18th century altarpiece.

Saint-Brieuc also has an ever-bustling pedestrianised shopping centre and some nice bars and restaurants. We can’t recommend highly enough a little pizza place called La Proue. It’s a small and busy little pizzeria on a steep cobbled street and has a huge selection of the best pizzas ever! (There is a restaurant guide in your welcome back when you arrive).

BINIC (30km from Quessoy)

 

Binic is in the centre of the magnificent stretch of coastline between the two ferry ports of St Malo and Roscoff.

The coastline is characterised by rocky headland and coastal paths, easily accessible sandy beaches of all sizes, scenic harbours and marinas, attractive French towns and historic old cities such as Dinan and Tregure.

Binic quayside is lined with restaurants and cafes specialising in fresh seafood and a selection of small shops.

 

It’s a great place to stop for a lunch of fresh mussels & chips, with most restaurants offering magnificent views over the pleasure boat marina.

La Banche beach, the main resort beach, is linked by pedestrian bridge to the marina. There is a boulevard car park and boules courts by the promenade bordering the long sandy beach with its sea water swimming and paddling pools, and childrens’ club in season. Excellent access for families with children and for those with restricted mobility.

 

DINAN (approx 50km from Quessoy)

Dinan needs to be explored on foot. You can explore the ancient castle and ramparts, narrow cobbled streets and the river port. It’s delightful walking around, browsing the restaurants and shops.

If the hilly streets are going to be too tiring, there is a ‘Petit Train’ (little train) that runs from the Tourist Office or Place Duclos to and from the port. The journey has a commentary too.

The château museum is particularly interesting, along with the Place des Merciers et des Cordeliers and the ancient Rue du Jerzual with its craft shops.

The weekly market day is Thursday.

CANCALE (80km from Quessoy)

Cancale lies along the coast to the east of Saint-Malo. It is a picturesque fishing village popular with visitors, many of whom are drawn by its reputation as the “oyster capital” of Brittany.

Though a small town, it is well served by a large number of restaurants, many specialising in seafood. When not eating one can sit and watch the bustle of this busy little town with many stalls selling crustaceans of all types.

There is a pleasant coastal path which permits a circular walk from the town to the Pointe du Grouin with views across the bay towards Mont Saint Michel.

Less than 15km from St-Malo across the peninsula, CANCALE is France’s most renowned spot for oysters. In the old church of St-Méen at the top of the hill, the town’s obsession is documented with meticulous precision by the small Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires (June & Sept Mon & Fri– Sun 2.30–6.30pm; July & Aug Mon 2.30–6.30pm, Tues– Sun 10am– noon & 2.30–6.30pm; € 4). Cancale oysters were found in the camps of Julius Caesar, taken daily to Versailles for Louis XIV and even accompanied Napoleon on the march to Moscow.

From the rue des Parcs next to the jetty of the port, you can see at low tide the parcs where the oysters are grown. The rocks of the cliff behind are streaked and shiny like mother-of-pearl; underfoot the beach is littered with countless generations of empty shells. The port area is pretty and very smart, with a long line of upmarket glass-fronted hotels and restaurants.  Au Pied de Cheval, 10 quai Gambetta (Tel:02.99.89.76.95), is a ramshackle, gloriously atmospheric little place to sample a few oysters, with great baskets of them spread across its wooden quayside tables. A dozen raw oysters on a bed of seaweed can cost just € 5. More upmarket is the Côté Mer on route de la Corniche (Tel:02.99.89.66.08) with well-prepared seafood.

DINARD (approx 70km from Quessoy)

Dinard is situated on the western side of the Rance estuary across the water from picturesque St Malo. There is a certain ‘Cote d’Azur’ feel about Dinard with its beaches, casino, spacious villas and high profile social calendar. Dinard’s status stems from the taste and wealth of English and American visitors in the 19th century.

Enjoy Dinard’s pretty bay and charming Ecluse beach. Take a stroll along coastal footpaths dotted with boards displaying reproductions of artwork painted along the route. Head east up to the Pointe du Moulinet for spectacular views over to St Malo.

ST. MALO (80km from Quessoy)

Saint Malo is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the northern coast of France. It is a walled city with a long and varied history going back to at least Roman times. Nowadays the center of town is a peaceful place for tourists to visit with many shops selling good quality articles and numerous restaurants. Saint Malo has around 50,000 residents, with that number increasing significantly in the tourist season.

Walled and built with the same grey granite stone as Mont St-Michel, ST-MALO was originally in the Middle Ages a fortified island at the mouth of the Rance, controlling not only the estuary but the open sea beyond. The promontory fort of Alet, south of the modern centre in what’s now the St-Servan district, commanded approaches to the Rance even before the Romans, but modern St-Malo traces its origins to a monastic settlement founded by saints Aaron and Brendan early in the sixth century. In later centuries it became notorious as the home of a fierce breed of pirate-mariners, who were never quite under anybody’s control but their own; for four years from 1590, St-Malo even declared itself to be an independent republic. The corsaires of St-Malo not only forced English ships passing up the Channel to pay tribute, but also brought wealth from further afield. Jacques Cartier, who colonized Canada, lived in and sailed from St-Malo, as did the first colonists to settle the Falklands – hence the islands’ Argentinian name, Las Malvinas, from the French Malouins.

Now inseparably attached to the mainland, St-Malo is the most visited place in Brittany, thanks more to its superb old citadelle than to the ferry terminal that’s tucked into the harbour behind. Passing through the streets within the city walls brings you into a busy, lively and very characterful town, packed with restaurants, bars and shops. During the bustling summer days, a stroll atop the ramparts should restore your equilibrium, and the presence of vast, clean beaches right on the city’s doorstep is a big bonus if you’re travelling with kids in tow.

Lots of the restaurants within the walls seemed quite ‘touristy’ to us when we first visited. However, we found a restaurant just inside the walls called Le Lion D’Or that served delicious scallops and other seafood without breaking the budget. On a sunny day, choose a table outside to watch the world go by….

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