©L'œil de Paco
Jewels of the Rance and the magic of the Emerald CoastFrom Dinan to Cap Fréhel, take in some breath-taking views
Trip idea

Jewels of the Rance and the magic of the Emerald Coast

With forts and ramparts, pink sandstone cliffs and Belle Époque villas perched on their rocky points, enjoy this journey through time in a picture postcard setting.

Suggestion for break in
3 days


Fans of history or lovers of the outdoors, this trip is for you!  In Northern Brittany, the peaceful Rance valley and the majestic Emerald Coast reveal their gems. Your first appointment is with history, in Dinan, one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Brittany. Then, soak up the atmosphere of the chic seaside resort of Dinard and its famous Belle Époque villas. You’ll be amazed at the must-see Cap Fréhel cliffs.  The view here is unbeatable, just like Fort La Latte which stands here!

A trip back in time to the Middle Ages in Dinan

Take up residence in Dinan, a charming “Town of Art and History”. You’ll love meandering through its historic centre with its collection of half-timbered houses. There are 130 of them!
Don’t miss a visit of the castle. A lovely presentation plunges you into the daily life of Middle Age princes.
Then head to the indoor market, called La Cohue. Under the beautiful atrium there are stalls of fishmongers, cold meats, fine groceries, etc. You’ll be sure to find something to satisfy your hunger!
In the afternoon, pass through the Cordeliers gateway, visit the Tour de l’Horloge and Saint Sauveur cathedral. Observe the grimacing faces, mythical animals and other decorative details on the cathedral.
Visit the craftsmen’s workshops in the steep Rue du Jerzual. You’ll arrive at the port where the Rance river flows. Ideal for an evening stroll!

  • From Dinan port, board the Jaman V for a commented cruise on the Rance and the Napoleon 1 canal (April to September).
  • If you arrive in the morning, make a stop in Combourg, a little town of character in the middle of Romantic Brittany, where the French writer, Châteaubriand, grew up. Stroll along the edge of Tranquille Lake, below the castle.

Dinard, marine energy and seaside castles

This morning, fill up on marine energy! Visit the discovery centre of the Rance dam tidal power plant in La Richardais. Thanks to films and models, the exhibition presents the workings of the power plant. Look through the large window to the machine room.

Have lunch in the centre of this chic seaside resort. For example, you could opt for the family cuisine of 8 Bis, or fish cooked on a wood fire at L’Attiseur.
A good stroll will help you digest.  Follow the “Lawrence of Arabia” circuit and fall under the old British charm of Dinard. The walk connects the beaches of Prieuré and Port-Blanc, via Port Breton Park and the former fishing district of Saint-Enogat.
Along the coastal path, admire the Belle Époque villas perched, like seaside castles, on Pointe de la Malouine and Pointe du Moulinet. On the dyke that meanders beneath them, you can enjoy a 180° view of the splendid Saint-Malo bay.

  • Ask for the programme of exhibitions at villa “Roche Brune”: it’s the ideal opportunity to visit a Belle Époque villa in Dinard.
  • On Saturday morning, don’t miss Dinard market, one of the biggest and most famous in the region.

Cap Fréhel and Fort La Latte by electric bike

On the programme: two emblematic sites on the Emerald Coast… by electric bike!

Start in the pretty seaside resort of Sable-d-Or-les-Pins and head towards Cap Fréhel. First you will pedal inland before soon arriving at the shale and pink sandstone cliffs that culminate at 70 m.
On one side, the changing shades of the sea, from azure blue to emerald green. On the other side, heathers, reeds and thistles carpet the moorland in a patchwork of plants. Below are wild little coves. It’s a magical landscape.

Take a break at the bottom of Cap Fréhel lighthouse, one of the most powerful in France. Then, get back on your bike and head to Fort La Latte via Pléherel and Plénevon. Discover the recesses of this mythical feudal construction, observe its openings, and admire the view. It will remain engraved in your memory for a long time.

  • You can hire a bike, with or without electrical assistance, from the Nord Ouest shop in Sable-d’Or-les-Pins, which has the Accueil Vélo (bike-friendly) label.
  • Take a look at the activities at Grand Site Cap d’Erquy – Cap Fréhel and pick one of the nature outings led by a specialised guide.

We like

  • The tour of the Dinan ramparts, a 3-km parapet walk, with view of the rooftops in the old town on one side, and the Rance valley on the other.
  • Watching the birds in the Cap Fréhel bird reserve. European nightjar, Dartford warbler, Razorbill, Common murre, and others, fly near the cliffs.

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