I always wanted to visit Brittany. As a child, I was in love with a French book “Les Vacances du Petit Nicolas”, in which the boy Nicolas spent his holidays in Brittany. In the book, it was rainy even in the summer. So, when we decided to visit Northern France in April we were ready for the rain. And it came. However, it didn’t ruin our holidays at all! Because after the rain in Brittany every day comes the sun.
We also had great luck with the hotel. We stayed in a small family hotel Le Manoir Saint Michel: very cozy, beautiful and authentic place run by a friendly couple. The hotel is a 400-year old mansion that is located almost directly on the beach. Sea view included and dogs allowed.
The owners served a nice french breakfast in a pretty room with a fireplace and beautiful glass terrace overlooking the sea. It was a very quiet place, located a bit outside of a small town Sables d’Or les Pins. For us, it was perfect because we could walk to the town for dinner, run on the beach in the morning and easily reach tourist destinations by car because the hotel is located not only in Brittany but also very close to Normandy.
White Chalk Cliffs at Etretat
Our trip started at Etretat. The weather was very windy and sometimes also rainy but I loved it because it was so pretty and magical there! The landscapes in this region look wild and it seems that tough windy weather fits really good. We did a small hike and enjoyed great views of the white chalk cliffs and arches. After that, we went down to visit the town and eat traditional “galettes” – savory crepes made of buckwheat flour and filled with French camembert, eggs, and other tasty things.
Hiking from Cap Frehel to Castle Fort la Latte
From Etretat, we drove to our hotel Le Manoir Saint Michel and spent the next day hiking near the Cap Frehel. We went from the parking near Cap Frehel to the castle Fort la Latte and back (10 km both ways). It was a scenic route along the seaside. Actually, Brittany is bordered by the English Channel, the Celtic Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean – you can imagine how scenic the views are!
The Fort la Latte was built in the 13th century. I read that different films have been shot at this site because the location is picturesque. Scout also visited the Fort la Latte with us: it is very unusual but dogs are allowed to visit the castle there!
Oysters in Cancale and everywhere else in Brittany
Every day we ate oysters for lunch or dinner. Sometimes even for both. They have been sold everywhere for quite a small price (for example, compare to Paris). We called it “Breton fast-food”. Especially nice experience is to eat oysters in Cancale. There is an oysters market located directly on the beach. The dozen of huge and fresh oysters costs around 4.50-5 euro. It could be also opened for you directly and served on a big plate with lemon.
Additionally, you can buy a Breton cider in a shop nearby. Picnic on the beach is ready!
The oysters and other fresh seafood can be bought in every town, however, we saw such a nice market with an opportunity to eat directly on the beach only in Cancal.
Medieval Saint-Malo and Dinan
Brittany is great not only for nature lovers. There are many historical towns that are located near the sea or a little bit far away. We visited two of them – Saint-Malo and Dinan. My favorite thing to do in Saint-Malo is walking on the city walls. They are broad and it is possible just to walk around the city above the streets.
Another tourist attraction is a road to the Fort National and back. The fort can be reached by foot at low tide. The only thing is to get back in time and hurry up when water goes up again.
Dinan is different because it is not located near the sea. However, it is definitely worth to visit because it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a fairytale town with narrow streets and old houses dated as far back as 13-14th centuries. In such a place it is nice just to get lost, walking those old pretty streets.
Another thing that everyone has to try in Brittany besides galletes, cider and oysters is homemade Breton salted butter caramel. We ate it for breakfast in our hotel and bought some from the owners and took another one in Dinan as well. Combined with a simple bun, it is soooo tasty!
How to visit Mont Saint-Michel with a dog
Dogs are not allowed to go inside Mont Saint-Michel Abbey (but you can go with a dog to the village and visit an island). Additionally, the tourist center there offered a dog daycare for the dog-owners who want to visit the abbey. We just left Scout at the kennel on the car park and picked her up in the evening. Like that we were able to visit Mont Saint-Michel, which was a great experience. The abbey looks impressive not only outside but also inside and had a rich history.
On the way back to Germany we stopped for lunch in Honfleur. This town is also so pretty! Like everything else there. One tip, which will make your journey to Brittany good in any weather: buy a rubber yellow jacket (even Scout has one)! It is a Breton uniform that protects from rain and wind perfectly because the weather is changing there very often.
We are totally in love with Brittany and Normandy even we’ve seen only a small part of it yet. For example, Brittany is so huge that has a land area of 34.000 km². It is still a lot of places there to explore! And we hope to go there again because it was one of the most beautiful trips that we had so far.