With spring finally getting closer, it’s time to start thinking of discovering new places. Join E&M author Marta Montanari on her road trip through Brittany to discover new beautiful destinations.

A few days ago I start noticing little daffodils shyly popping out in the park. Their bright color is one of those things that always reminds me of spring getting closer and makes me dream of warmer days. 

Holidays may not be around the corner yet, but, while we wait for spring to really kick in, it’s a good moment to start thinking of some destinations for your next trip! 

Just last summer I ended up going on one of the most spontaneous road trip I have ever done to a beautiful place called Brittany. This region is full of amazing sights, an incredible culinary tradition full of lovely countryside roads. So, if you like road trips, this can be the kind of places you’ll definitely enjoy.

Mont Saint Michel

The Mont Saint Michel is actually still in Normandy, in the middle of a bay shared with the neighbor Brittany. It is considered one of the most famous and beautiful sights in France and that’s where we will start our trip.

The story of this place goes all the way back to the 8th century when the bishop of Avranches claimed to be pressured by the Archangel Michael into having a church built on top of the island. Later on, the dukes of Normandy first, and the Kings later, continued supporting the development of the Benedictine Abbey on Mont Saint Michel. 

View of Mont Saint Michel. Photo by: Marta Montanari.

Once you leave the car, there is a beautiful walk to do (on foot or by bus). It starts on what it looks like a pretty normal street, alongside some grass. Slowly but steadily the surroundings change and you find yourself on a street in the middle of what, only a few hours earlier, was the sea. Everything that was left behind by the tide is going to be part of a breathtaking view at the end of which Mont Saint Michel stands majestically. 

There is a lot to do around the village, from visiting the Abbey to taking a guided tour around the bay (it’s forbidden to go without a guide), to visit one of the museums. It is also worth to just take a walk inside the village, heading up through the lovely streets and enjoy the amazing you can get from there.

Plage de Cherrueix

New day, new destination and this time I was heading towards Saint Malo. A bit by chance we decided to drive along the coast and that’s how we found Plage de Cherrueix. 

Similarly to other places around here, this beach can offer a unique view thanks to the impressive tides. It was the first time in my life where I was on a beach and I couldn’t actually see the end of it. I couldn’t even spot the sea and it was something pretty amazing to witness. 

Walking around you can feel the fresh breeze from the ocean, admiring the pretty colorful shells on the wet sand, take part in one of the many beach activities or enjoy some ice-cream at the local cafeteria. 

 It was the first time in my life where I was on a beach and I couldn’t actually see the end of it.

However, the thing that I loved the most was the kindness of the people. I often heard of the welcoming spirit of Britons, but seeing it was a whole different story. The interest in chatting with you, learning where you are from, where you are going and offering lots of ideas of what you could see (as well as the fresh fish they just caught) was something that made this place even more special.

Saint-Malo

After our little stop at Place Cherrueix, it was time to go to Saint-Malo, one of the most popular destinations here. The story of this Gallo-Roman Port is quite interesting, it was actually from here that in the 16th century Jacques Cartier set off  to discover Canada and the fishing fleets reached Newfoundland. 

Once you arrive, the first thing you should do is a tour of the walls, which will lead you from the bastion to the tower. On one side you have the pretty cosy streets and on the other the stunning beaches and clear blue water for as far as you can see. As always, I couldn’t stop myself from going down to the beach to enjoy the beautiful water and taking in as much sun as possible.

A view from Saint-Malo. Photo by: Marta Montanari.

Inside the walls there is so much to see. Most of the houses were rebuilt after a bombing that took place in 1944, the streets hosts many small restaurants and cafeterias as well as unique boutiques of talented designers and handmade products.

Although I didn’t get the chance, if you get here at the right time you can even go to Petit Bé fort, which can be accessed on foot when the tide is low.

Cancale

Arriving to Cancale was like the cherry on the cake at the end of a beautiful day. 

The walk downhill from the main square lead you to the port, all the narrow streets have lovely little stores, offering the typical products of the region like biscuits and candies as well as many artists’ creations. 

Once you get to the marina, the sunset will highlight all the beautiful details of the coastline and while enjoying the view, you should definitely get something to eat. In fact, already in Roman times Cancale was famous because of its oyster and it became the supplier for the royal court.

To this day, people from all over the places come here to taste the famous Cancale oysters, which take their typical taste from the plankton in Mont Saint-Michel bay. When the tide is low it’s possible to see the patterns of oyster farms.

Cancale oysters farm. Photo by: Marta Montanari.
Cap Frehel ‑ Fort La Latte

Last but not least, Cap Frehel Cliffs is a must visit. It was our final destination during this trip and although we didn’t have the time for a full walk to Fort La Latte, I still absolutely loved the sight.

70 meters over the sea, the cliffs offer possibly one of the most beautiful views of the area. On one side you can see the marvelous shades of blue of the sea and on the other a variety of colorful plants and flowers. At the right moment of the year (usually between spring and summer) the yellow of the gorse, the pink of the sea thrift and the purple of the heathers,all mixed together in a pretty magical way. If you love animals, the area also hosts many species of seabirds whose nests are all around and it’s perfect for birdwatching.

These are only a handful of places you should absolutely go if you are in the area, but Brittany has so much more to offer! If like me you only have a limited amount of days for your holiday, these destinations are a good way to start. From getting lost more time than we could expected in the middle of cornfields, ending up meeting cute farm animals and crossing some majestic bridges, every bit of the drive was worth the effort and I can honestly say I can’t wait to go back!

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    Marta is originally from Rome, where she studied for her BA in Political Science and International Relations. She then moved to London, and later to Wales, where she graduated with a Masters in International Journalism from Cardiff University. Marta has also lived in Brussels, working for the European Parliament's research service. She is passionate about writing, travel, photography, surf and badminton.

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