29 May 2016

Discovering North Brittany and Beyond

We have holidayed in France many times over the years, visiting lots of different regions. Some of the most memorable times have been spent in or around North Brittany. Famous for the Breton stripe, cider and home to the less well known Breizh cola. Brittany is a region steeped in history, with many beautiful cities and monuments. As we loved it so much, I decided to put together a few of our favourite places to visit, to help out, should you be heading there this year.

For a taste of city life, the coastal city of St Malo is a must see, it is a walled city with beautiful cobbled streets, independent shops alongside plenty of cafes and restaurants.

With two young children in tow, it isn't always easy to find somewhere to eat but we have never had a problem in France, children are always well catered for, children's menu or not. We didn't get to spend as much time as we'd liked in St Malo, but we did get to see the cathedral and if you do have time or are close by, then there is an Aquarium, another great rainy day activity. 

This part of France has a beautiful coast line, known as the Emerald Coast, the sand shimmers with gold and the beaches and coves are beautiful. You can while away days just playing in the sand, enjoying the tides as they roll in and roll out, uncovering beautiful coastlines, rocks and pools.

If you prefer a more secluded, less commercial beach, then Saint-Coulombe is a beautiful place to visit. As the sea shimmered, we paddled amongst fish and little tiny crabs rolled down the beach, it was just stunning and we spent hours there. Picnics, cold drinks and plenty of sand castle building made it the perfect chill out day. The beach at Basse Cancale was just as beautiful but had some amenities for those that maybe don't fancy a picnic, with lots of little boats bobbing up and down in the sea and a restaurant, cafe and shop at the top of the beach, it was a little less secluded but just as beautiful.

Jutting out of the wonderful landscape is Mont Dol, a strange inland island which sits an impressive 65 meters above sea level. You can walk to the top, or if you are feeling less energertic you can drive, but it is well worth a visit. You can see for miles once up there and there is a wonderful windmill, or moulin, if you are feeling French, on a clear day you can even see all the way to Mont-St-Michel.

In the small village below the summit is a boulangerie, cafe and bar, the town of Dol itself has some beautiful medieval houses and an impressive 13th century cathedral. With so much history in this part of France and it is well worth exploring.

mont dol

Just outside of Brittany on the Normandy/Brittany boarder is Mont-Saint-Michel, my children recognised this imposing structure from Mickey Mouse and the Three Musketeers, it was where Pete held Mickey prisoner. So for them, it was a great way to get them involved and excited by looking for the doorway to the dungeon.

It is an extremely busy place and because of this you can no longer drive all the way to the island. Instead you have to park slightly inland and get a bus from the car park, unless you fancy the long walk that is. Don't let that put you off though, there is a good system to get you on the buses so it is easy enough. With a pushchair in tow, it was a little difficult getting up the steep cobbled street. However, we made it around half way, stopped for lunch and then headed back down. It is an absolutely stunning place though and the views are amazing.

mont st michel

Just a short drive inland from Mont-Saint-Michel, sits Alligator Bay, my son loves alligators and crocodiles, well any reptile come to think of it. So this was the perfect attraction for him. As a lot of it is inside it is also a great place for a rainy day out. 

We sat and had a picnic in the car park, as this is the done thing in France and there were lots of other families doing it too. The great thing about France is you can be totally French in your attitude to picnics, it is completely acceptable to take a baguette, some cheese, ham, crisps and some veggies and just sit anywhere and eat, breaking up the bread with your hands if you need too.

alligator bay

There are so many wonderful villages who have regular market days, so it is a good idea to check out the local tourism office before you go or reading any information supplied where you are staying. With local cheeses, ciders, wines, fish, fruit and veg they are a great way to find yummy local delicacies. 

Like it's neighbour Normandy, Brittany has some fantastic cider farms, so don't be afraid to stop at them, they often speak a little English, great if your French isn't that good. They are always happy to let you have 'un petit degustation' or a little taste to you and me. You often find some of the most wonderful ciders and aperitifs as well as jellies and other apple produce. 

Have you been to Brittany? If so what was your favourite place to visit?


  1. We were in Brittany, visiting St Malo and Mt St Michel very recently and had a lovely time. You might like to link this up to my monthly linky #AllAboutFrance which is on this Thursday (2nd June). You can find out more on my blog (the badge is in the sidebar).

  2. Wow - it's a place I've never been tempted to visit but I have to say, it does look stunning. I could see myself visiting now, if just to see Mont-Saint-Michel! Stephen

  3. We love this area of France and it is where we normally visit. We are currently in The Dordogne for the first time

  4. We went to Normandy in February and fell in love with the place. Le Mont St Michel is just stunning and bet it is even better in the warm sun. I love St Malo too

  5. Lovely post Ellie, gorgeous photos! We love Brittany too but have never been quite as North.


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