An appetizer on the beach
The best places to try this summer
Fancy cooling down at sunset? The great thing about Brittany is that you can have a pre-dinner drink on a terrace that’s practically on the beach. By the sea or a river, sweet or savoury, here’s a selection of the best appetizer spots we know of. Try them out this summer!
Saint-Malo: when you’re back from the beach
The fortified Corsair City is surrounded by wide, sandy beaches. It acts as a model for children building sandcastles. Just below the parapet, the Bar du Soleil offers a superb and sheltered viewpoint over the sea as it gnaws away at the ramparts. Further east along the coast, the Perle Noire restaurant overlooks the beautiful golden beach of Les Chevrets at Saint-Coulomb. Here, you can sip your favourite tipple as you lounge in a deckchair and contemplate the waves.
Find out more: Restaurant la Perle noire
The Emerald Coast: no frills
The pretty, family seaside resorts on the Emerald Coast are specialists in the art of beach holidays. The programme consists of just swimming, walking and catamaran trips. At Saint-Briac, the straw hut known as Le Surf de Joséphine stands out on the Longchamp sea-wall and serves fine gourmet appetizers without any fuss. At Saint-Cast-le-Guildo, the appropriately-named Lézard snack-bar lounges at one end of the beach beside the sailing club. A perfect place for meeting friends.
Find out more: Le Surf de Joséphine
The Isle of Bréhat: a garden in the sea
This isle of flowers is an exotic island with no motor traffic. Here, you travel on foot or on a bike through Mediterranean greenery that adds colour to the pretty little stone houses. La Potinière B&B boasts Bréhat’s only terrace on a beach. The lounge areas face the sea and are surrounded by agapanthuses. Here you can enjoy your appetizer platter while watching the boats in the bay.
Find out more: La Potinière
The Pink Granite Coast: in red and black
Between Perros-Guirec and Trégastel, the sea has carved out the granite, making strange mineral sculptures in soft tones of pink. From between the rocks, two top-of-the-range terraces have sprung up, all clad in red and black. The Castel Beau Site Hotel has opted for a luxury, jazzy look. Champagne is the cocktail of the day with velvet cushions to sit on as you look out to sea. On the nearby Coz Pors beach, Les Triagoz Brasserie stands right on the sands. Here you can enjoy a plate of oysters as you keep an eye on the kids running around on the sand.
Find out more: Hôtel Castel Beau Site
Morlaix Bay: the ocean as far you can see
This bay, with its unspoilt islands and deserted islets, is an ocean scattered with a confetti of rocks that have poetic names. People come here for birdwatching, canoeing and discovering the rich local history. On Carantec beach, you can take advantage of the last rays of the sunset and enjoy an ice cream at the Petit Relais. And if you’re tempted by one last swim, it has direct access to the beach.
Find out more: Le Petit Relais
The Abers: at the end of the world
In ‘Pays des Abers’ area, the ocean is king. It’s not satisfied with running into small inlets; it carves its way into the land, forming long, narrow breaches that in turn form true Breton-style fjords called Abers. You won’t be able to go much further. The next thing you’d meet would be America. At the extreme western point of Brittany the sun sets later. At the bistro-restaurant, Le Chenal, they really make the most of it. The former Porspoder dance-hall has a terrace on the dunes with a panoramic view over the ocean.
The Odet Estuary: beach or harbour?
Little sandy beaches give the Fouesnant area the appearance of a Breton Riviera in miniature. Sailing boats and villas can be seen side by side, without seeming ostentatious, in friendly seaside resorts devoted to watersports and leisure activities for the whole family. At Sainte-Marine, facing Bénodet harbour, the fashionable, gourmet terraces of the Villa Tri Men Hotel and La Cale café serve cocktails and tapas. In La Forêt-Fouesnant, a note of exoticism lends a spicy touch to the atmosphere of the Restaurant des Boucaniers that stands right on the beach, with a view over the bay.
Concarneau: outside the walls
Concarneau is a Town of Art and History, noted for the ‘ville-close’ (walled town) inside its fortifications. A short walk from the ramparts, the Sables Blancs Hotel stands guard over the bay from its cosy terrace overlooking the beach. It has an unrivalled view over the ocean. A little to the south, La Châtaigneraie Brasserie looks fondly down at the pretty Port Manec'h beach, lined with old-style wooden beach-huts. You can enjoy your appetizer and grill on the grass facing Aven Bay.
Find out more: La Châtaigneraie
Gulf of Morbihan: islands of beauty
A peaceful harbour for family sailing, this ‘little sea’ has as many islets as there are days in the year. You can prove this for yourself if you step aboard a boat at L’Escale en Arz. Two minutes out from the landing stage, the setting sun is the reward for those spending the night on the island. Back in Conleau, the sun-soaked terrace of the Corlazo family café provides somewhere to discuss tomorrow’s voyage over a beer. Heading for Quiberon? On the large beach, the trendy lounge of the connoisseur’s favourite bar at the Fisher’s Club offers an extra moment of pleasure before you strut your stuff on the dance floor.
Find out more: Fisher's club
Guerlédan Lake: on the shores of the lake
Guerlédan Lake is surrounded by green hillsides and is the largest artificial lake in Brittany. From its wooded shores you can swim, sail or walk as much as you like. The panoramic terrace of the Merlin restaurant looks as though it was set down on the water itself and is a great place to get your breath back after you’ve been out for trip in a canoe or pedalo. The site’s country atmosphere goes perfectly with a glass of cider that you can order from one of the loungers on the landing-stage.
Find out more: Restaurant Merlin
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What about you? What’s your favourite little corner of heaven for an appetizer by the sea? Tell us where the best spots are on Fans of Brittany.