A heritage of granite and half-timbered houses
In the town centre, the stone and half-timbered houses around the fortress cathedral vie for attention. The Hotel du Ribault stakes its claim as the oldest house in town: its gables have been teetering over the paving stones since the 15th century, and there are plenty of other half-timbered houses gathered around Place Louis Guilloux, dating back to the 15th-17th centuries. You’ll stumble upon all kinds of wonderful sights as you stroll the narrow streets of the town: from 1930s’ Art Deco mosaic façades by Odorico to street art, covering entire façades. To find the grand shipowners’ houses and be in with a chance of glimpsing Le Grand Léjon, an old lugger (sailing vessel), you’ll need to go to Port du Légué, the entry port to the bay.
A path overlooking the waves
On the quays, you’ll be gripped with the desire to take to the sea. The Sentier des Douaniers (Customs Officers’ Path), otherwise known as the GR34, overlooks the sea and offers a great opportunity to enjoy the varied landscapes. It’s an invigorating walk – from all points of view – on the cliffs, from Pointe du Bec de Vir in Tréveneuc to Pointe des Guettes in Hillion, via Pointe de la Béchue in Pordic. The dunes of Bon Abri, the cove of Martin-Plage and the long Rosaires beach are bathed in turquoise water and inspire peace.
Lively, enchanting places to visit
Walk on water in the bay…at low tide anyway! The tide goes out more than 7 km here, revealing a foreshore that’s teeming with life – perfect for collecting shellfish! Look out for the wooden stakes rising from the seabed at the Pointe des Guettes, which are used for growing the famous rope-grown mussels. Enjoy the typical wildlife and plant life that lives quietly here among the salt marshes, rocks and sea. You can see 112 species of birds here, in Brittany’s biggest nature reserve. The Maison de la Baie discovery centre, perched on a rocky outcrop at Hillion, is a great introduction to the riches of this environment.
If you fancy a change of scenery, why not explore the walking and mountain-biking trails in the countryside? The Vau Madec valley is a lovely, shaded walk that meanders all the way to the coast, and it’s a feast for the senses: from moss green to ultramarine blue, from fresh woodland scents to salty sea breezes! At the heart of the countryside, a few minutes from Quintin, a Small Town of Character®, the Vallée des Peupliers walk takes you to Noë Sèche castle, while the Lande de Lanfains walk provides beautiful views. Are you a fan of cycling? There are 250 km of little routes and green routes with the Vélomaritime® label.
Fabulous food and a warm welcome
After a day exploring, swimming and enjoying the sea and countryside, you’ll be keen to relax in comfort, and Saint-Brieuc has just what you need – it’s brimming with attractive eateries, where you can sit on a terrace and enjoy delicious local produce prepared by chefs with Michelin stars or a great reputation – not to mention the many crêperies offering every type of Breton pancake. Top of the menu are ‘coquilles Saint-Jacques’, or king scallops: the crowning glory of the bay. So come and discover it all!