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Brittany, where Mussels grow on “trees”

As a seasoned traveller, I have always found road trips to be the most exhilarating way to explore new places. And when it comes to France, the possibilities are endless. So when the opportunity arose to embark on a six-day road trip through the northern region of Brittany, I jumped at the chance. From Mont-Saint-Michel to Saint-Brieuc Bay, this stretch of coastline is nothing short of spectacular.


Embarking on our sojourn, we first encountered the fabled Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, an isle commune of mythical stature. There, the Gothic splendor of its abbey loomed majestically, an architectural sentinel beckoning from the causeway. This UNESCO-listed marvel, steeped in centuries of allure, crowns the island, its medieval prowess echoing through the panoramic splendors it surveys.

The abbey, a Gothic jewel, rose from a tapestry of centuries, its Romanesque roots evident in rounded arches and stout walls. At its zenith, the church, a homage to Saint Michael, dazzled with medieval ingenuity, its carvings and stained glass windows a testament to time-honored artistry.

Westward, in Cancale, known for its exquisite oysters, we found culinary respite at Le Surcouf. Nestled along the waterfront, this eatery, with its convivial ambiance, served the freshest sea treasures, each oyster a mirror of the bay's serene beauty.

Our journey then led to Dinard, graced with Belle Epoque finesse and sandy allure. At the Grand Hotel Barriere, luxury kissed the beachfront, offering a splendid base for exploring Dinard’s historic villas and moonlit promenades.


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In Saint-Malo, the "City of Corsairs," history resonated within its ramparts. The Hotel Oceania, just beyond the old town's embrace, offered contemporary comfort. Here, the city’s cobbled pathways and lively markets, coupled with La Belle Epoque’s culinary delights, created an unforgettable tableau.

In the hidden nook of Saint-Cast-le-Guildo, a coastal haven revealed itself. The Hotel de l'Espérance, a stone's throw from the beach, offered quaint hospitality. Dining at Le Vieux Castel, we savored the bounty of the sea as the harbor sunset painted the evening.

Dinan, with its fortified charm, beckoned us inland. The Hotel Arvor, a beacon of Breton tradition in the heart of the old town, provided a cozy retreat. At La Marmite, the essence of Brittany came alive in each crepe, weaving a culinary tapestry that warmed the soul.


Our journey culminated at the dramatic Saint-Brieuc bay. The Hotel Edgar, chic and stylish, offered seafront vistas that took our breath away. Our final feast at La P'tite Folie, a blend of seafood and local flavors, was a fitting end to our adventure.

Traversing Brittany was a mosaic of France’s hidden gems – a tapestry woven with historic splendors, gastronomic wonders, and heartfelt encounters. This oft-overlooked region, with its blend of natural beauty and cultural richness, offers a journey into the heart of French heritage, a path less traveled yet deeply fulfilling

Words by Nigel Whittaker 

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