Brittany France Road Trip – Part One
Taking a Brittany France road trip is an experience that every Francophile needs take. Bretagne is France, but, yet again, it isn’t.
This land of megaliths has more in common with Celtic cultures then French. Making this road trip all the more interesting.
Our Brittany road trip started in the walled port city of St Malo. This was the perfect place to start for us as we took the high-speed ferry across the channel from Poole, England.
St Malo offers a number of great sights within its walled old-town. But, the city is the major tourist destination, with many ancient, attractive buildings. Beautiful town squares. Not to mention the wall itself.
There’s no doubt that you’ll be enchanted by this city that was once most notorious for privateering in the past. This is the start of your road trip around Bretagne, or Brittany, as it is known to English speakers.Discover Brittany France road trip adventures! Click To Tweet
St Malo is a great place from which to explore the surrounding area too. Towns and villages, castles, and headlands are all within a short drive.
Sights in St Malo
- The walled city (La Ville Intra-Muros)
- Château of Saint-Malo, part of which is now the town museum.
- Solidor Tower in Saint-Servan is a 14th-century building that holds a collection tracing the history of voyages around Cape Horn.
- Tomb of the writer Chateaubriand on the Ile du Grand Bé
- The Petit Bé
- Cathedral of St. Vincent (Saint-Malo Cathedral)
- Privateer’s House (“La Demeure de Corsaire”), a ship-owner’s town house built in 1725, shows objects from the history of privateering, weaponry and ship models.
- Great Aquarium Saint-Malo, one of the major aquaria in France.
- Labyrinthe du Corsaire, (an attraction park in Saint Malo)
- Pointe de la Varde, Natural Park.
- City of Alet, in front of Saint Malo Intra Muros.
- Fort National
- Fort de la Conchée
Recommended Place to Stay in St Malo
Of course, if you are going to use St Malo is your home base for this part of the trip, you are going to want to have a place to hang your hat at the end of an exciting day. Here is the place that we actually chose, along with a few others that we thought looked pretty special too. Be aware that we always choose places that are right in the heart of things if available. This can make getting to them with your luggage a bit of a challenge, but oh so worth it in the end. This holds true here, as well. Each of these hotels is intra-muros, inside the walls, and right in the heart of it all!
This is the place that we finally chose to make our home for the four days we were in town. And, aside from the fire alarm going off just as we were heading to bed, it was perfect. (Just a little aside here. During this trip, we had this fire alarm and had to evacuate and another in Nantes a few weeks later! Two in one trip! Have never had this happen before! Ever!)
Hotel La Maison des Armateurs is located right in the heart of St Malo, just a block or so inside the Gran Porte. It is the only four star hotel in St Malo Intra-Muros. Though in the old town, it has been chic-ly (is that really a word?) renovated.
I’d have say that the renovation was done in a mixture of sleek modern and classic French style. What ever you want to call it, it’s really comfortable, warm, and, definitely up-scale.
We loved this hotel–it was clean, well-located, modern, and the staff at the front desk was so helpful. They were helpful in providing us with wonderful restaurant recommendations, and we ended up having great dining experiences as a result.
As mentioned above, the hotel is located a block or two inside the city walls and is quite convenient to the public parking outside the city walls. Parking can be a bit of a trial. We paid 6 euros to park outside the walls and it takes only a minute or two to walk back to the hotel. If you the parking gods are with you.
Other Places to Stay in St Malo
While in town, we took the opportunity to scope out a few of the other hotels in town. Obviously, we can’t really go into any depth or give any recommendations on these. Some are outside the old city walls, and were not of interest to us, but you may find them right up your alley.
This hotel is a few blocks outside the walls, but right above the beach with views of the water. Pretty desirable, you have to agree.
This was a nice little hotel we stumbled upon that was inside the walls and really quite close to the ferry terminal. If you are coming into, or leaving, town that way this is a very good thing. From our quick perusal it seem very comfortable. Here is what others have said,
Sights near St Malo
There are so many beautiful places to visit along our Brittany France road trip that are just a short drive from St Malo. Here are just a few.
Just a brief ferry ride from St Malo, across the mouth of the Rance River, is Dinard. Jaw droppingly beautiful, it is no wonder that this became a favorite beach front getaway of the British elite. With it’s sandy beach, expansive promenade, and glorious views of St Malo, it is worth putting up with the very touristy nature of the town.
About 30 minutes from St Malo, Dinan is one of our favorite places in all of France, not just Brittany. One of those small towns that seems to have been left behind. Step back a couple of centuries while strolling its ancient streets.
A mere 20 minutes south of St Malo is the über picturesque village of St Suliac. One of the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (Most beautiful villages of France), it is a great place to spend some time wandering.
One of the most moving experiences we have ever had was at the headlands of Cap Fréhel. The beauty here is unsurpassed.
Fort La Latte
On the same peninsula as Cap Fréhel, this fort is a true step back to the 14th century. With its fantastic location cliff side above the water, Fort La Latte offers great views to go along with fabulous history.
These sights and more are just the start of a grand road trip through Brittany France , and are all in near to St Malo. Making it a great home base from which to explore the immediate area.
Our Brittany France road-trip was a two and a half week-long adventure that we would recommend highly to ever Francophile, or anyone interested in seeing out-of-the-way places on the continent.
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