A port of two halves
Tucked into its estuary near famously arty Pont-Aven and Le Pouldu, Doëlan has remained the archetypal little Finistère fishing port. Normally, when separated by water, communities either side carry different names –here it’s simply Doëlan Rive Gauche or Rive Droite – Left or Right Bank, as in Paris!
Two lighthouses to guide you
On the eastern Rive Gauche, a green and white striped lighthouse signals the forward entrance to the main harbour. Towards the back of the estuary, on the western Rive Droite, it’s a red and white-striped lighthouse that pokes its head above the trees to help fishermen align themselves. Typically for the stretch of coast between Concarneau and Le Pouldu, the estuary is fairly narrow, but all manner of small boats anchor down it, or in the odd cove to the side. Pretty houses have bagged positions on the slopes on either side. Towards the back of the estuary, the Pont Du, or Black Bridge, enables you to cross from one bank to the other by road. Both sides of Doëlan have the odd café or restaurant at which to stop. There are also just one or two boutiques, but this place hasn’t been invaded by tourist shops to date.
Fish fresh off the boat
The protective sea wall puts out its embracing arm to protect the local fishing boats at the very western tip of Doëlan. Come down here between 2pm and 5pm most afternoons and you can by fish fresh off the boats, the day’s catch chalked on the board. Head to the Vivier for splendid shellfish. You can also sign up at the port for various excursions out to sea, including, perhaps, joining a local fishing expedition.
Tempting coastal paths
For walkers, the glorious coastal hiking path, the GR34, leads you right round the harbour, but also onwards, to the west, towards further tiny ports, and to the east towards the very open resort of Le Pouldu. Thanks to a lack of coastal roads, it means that you enjoy the stunning scenery undisturbed, the Atlantic here often looking a deep, dark Mediterranean blue, while little beaches occupy the odd cove surrounded by spiky rock formations. The beautiful island of Groix beckons out to sea.
Did you know?
On foot, it’s over 1 kilometre from the western port to the eastern one, while crossing by boat it’s just a few dozen metres!
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