Above the River Jaudy in the Côtes d’Armor department, Tréguier is best known for being the birthplace of St Yves, the patron saint of lawyers. But this attractive ‘little town of character’ also has a splendid cathedral, a pretty waterside harbour and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.
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Catholic lawyers from around the world have made pilgrimages to Tréguier to pay homage to their patron saint. Born into a family of minor nobles in the nearby village of Minihy-Tréguier in 1253, Yves studied theology and law at university; he went on to become an ecclesiastical judge and was known for looking after the sick and poor. He is buried in the Cathedral of Saint-Tugdual, named after the monk who founded Tréguier in the 7th century, and a pardon takes place in his name on the third Sunday in May.
On the waterfront
Make your way down to the harbour where you’ll find a selection of restaurants and cafes. Here you can join a cruise along the River Jaudy, past mills and oyster beds as far as the Corne lighthouse.
What a site
The cathedral, which dates from the 14th century and has a mix of architectural styles, is just one of several interesting sites in the town. Its cloister, with 48 arches and a wooden ceiling, is worth a visit for the views over the cathedral. Tréguier is dotted with half-timbered houses dating from the 15th century – check out those in Rue St Yves and Place du Martray. The 17th-century house where the writer and philosopher Ernest Renan was born in 1823 is now a museum dedicated to his early life; he was known for his political theories and writings on Christianity.
Did you know
Tréguier has music concerts and a craft market in front of the cathedral on Wednesdays in July and August.
Take a hike
Keen walkers should take the GR34 old customs officers’ path north around the headland as far as Port Blanc for some spectacular scenery. Those who want to take things at a more leisurely pace should head south through Minihy-Tréguier, where you can visit the Touken Brewery on Wednesday or Saturday afternoon, to La Roche-Derrien, a market town, which was the site of a major battle during the Hundred Years’ War.