The Couesnon Valley
Excitement or relaxation in the Marches of upper Brittany
Between Fougères and Mont St Michel Bay, the river Couesnon reflects the ever-changing environment as it flows along the valley. Sometimes wild, sometimes gentle, this stretch of water a great place for relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors. Its banks are the starting point for lots of discoveries and outdoor activities.
A natural mosaic of different landscapes
Head off to explore the landscapes along the river’s blue-green trail. As you follow the peaceful roads and country lanes you’ll pass through typicalbocage- a patchwork of fields, thickets and hedgerows - as well as forests, valleys and quiet plains. Around Mézières-sur-Couesnon is the Department’s nature reserve, a haven of biodiversity with its wild mulberries and bracken. At Saint-Ouen-des-Alleux, the river Couesnon hides at the bottom of a wooded valley. At Tiercent, the land is broken up by thickets and granite outcrops.
A heritage of plants and stone
The area is studded with architectural gems built of granite. Prime examples of these châteaux are La Ballue, with its remarkable garden, and Bonnefontaine with its English-style grounds. Antrain has an unusual bridge with three mismatched arches. The churches and houses in the villages have traditional spires, porches and doors. The art galleries in Bazouges-la-Pérousem, which are a lively feature of the town, have flights of granite steps. Close to the river, stone was used to build paper and flour mills.
Plenty of outdoor activities
Get away from the roads and villages for a while and fill your lungs with fresh air. This vast green playground has something for everyone. There are trails that follow the meanders of the river or head off into the countryside. You can play sports at the leisure centre in Mézières-sur-Couesnon. If you’ve got energy to burn, you can try mountain-biking, or go climbing on the nearby cliffs. Fishermen can get a bit of peace beside the water. Out on the waves, the miniature harbour at Villecartier is a great place to drop anchor. Take a break!
Did you know?
A top place for topiary
The gardens of the Château de La Ballue are famous for topiary, which is the art of clipping yews, box, holly and various species of thuja to create figures and geometric shapes. The columns, waves, spheres and spirals that you can see in the 13 ‘outdoor rooms’ at La Ballue give these gardens an unworldly quality.