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2 wks in Brittany, France - Off-The Beaten Path (in other words, not in RS's Guidebooks)

I will be staying in a town about 7 kms from St. Malo for two - three weeks next summer in a home exchange. The name of the town is Saint Meloir des Ondes. Is anyone familiar with that town? I am familiar with all the places in Brittany and Normandy in Rick Steves guidebooks, but since I will be based in Brittany for weeks, instead of days, I will want to visit interesting non-touristed villages and cities as well. So if anyone out there knows Brittany really well and can offer that type of information, I would appreciate it. We will also be traveling with another family who is very physically active, so anything that hikers or bikers would really enjoy is of interest too.

Posted by
6322 posts

I agree about the Michelin guide to Brittany - that and the website: http://www.brittanytourism.com/ were my main sources of information when I went two years ago. I stayed at a country manor hotel outside of Roz Landrieux near Dol-de-Bretagne (about 10 miles from where you're staying) for 5 days. I'm assuming you will have a car to explore Brittany as it's the best way to get around. I don't remember what RS covers for Brittany other than St Malo (which I loved) and Dinan (also definitely worth visiting). Some of the other places I enjoyed were:

Cap Frehel - stunning rugged coastline scenery, great hiking opportunities, a lighthouse, nearby beaches.

Ile de Brehat - 10 minute ferry ride from Arcouest, bike rentals near the dock, good hiking and biking trails, two lighthouses, a chapel, a ruined mill, lovely scenery.

Josselin - castle (very photogenic), basilica, great Saturday market.

Fougeres - another fine castle and very pretty town, also has a Saturday market.

Dol-de-Bretagne - interesting cathedral (architecture from several different periods).

Roz Landrieux - outside of town there is a large solitary menhir (standing stone) if you're interested in megalithic sites.

In the summer some of these places will have crowds of tourists (mostly British and other European tourists, not so many Americans) but nothing like the crowds at places like Mont St Michel or Paris (for example). I was there in July and didn't find it horrid. The natural areas along the coast were my main interest and they were far less crowded than the cities.

Posted by
9110 posts

Actually, that menhir (Champ Dolent) is just south of Dol where the road forks on the outskirts. It's the largest one in the country.

There's a few smaller ones down at Carnac in the alignment. Few = 3000 +.

Posted by
6322 posts

Thanks Ed for the clarification about the menhir - it was awesome.

Posted by
9110 posts

Denada. Next to Bets, I are the rock expert.

If you're idly curious, there are more than a thousand stone circles (excluding hut circles and cairn circles) scattered among Great Britain, Ireland, and Brittany. Aberdeenshire alone has more than a hundred.

Posted by
694 posts

Sorry for the delay in responding. Thanks for all the helpful comments. I have read and printed them out! I will have a car for the two weeks; my husband loves rock formations; and I will be sure to research all of your suggestions!

Posted by
186 posts

It sounds like a great trip, Kerry. If you haven't already read it, do read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Much of this wonderful historical novel is set in San Malo.