We have 1 week in July 2023 to travel in Brittany before starting our trip in Paris. Considering St Malo and Ploumanach. . Any recommendations for sites to visit, sweet hotels and B&Bs would be appreciated.
I haven't been to the Ploumanach area, but I enjoyed seeing Dinard, Dinan, Rennes, Fougeres and Vitre, all of which are at least a bit closer to St-Malo. Many folks like St-Malo, but I found its historic center so swamped by visitors that I didn't want to spend much time there.
Our neighbours aid they wanted to see Brittany and we thought they meant Britney Spears. We had a very strange conversation which included us querying why they would fly to Las Vegas via Paris and them looking at us like we were mad when we said they might need to book show tickets months in advance.
We were in that area last summer. I don't know what kinds of things you like, but Cairn de Bernanez (on the coast, north of Morlaix) is the largest megalithic burial chamber in all of Europe, said to be the 2nd oldest monument in the world, only a little younger than the Tower of Jericho. It's a little over an hour away from Ploumanac'h by car.
We didn't get to visit Abbaye de Beauport (near Paimpol), but think it would be worth a visit. We were a group of 4 and had already used up a lot of time that day on other choices, so we skipped it. The Abbaye is a preserved monastery & gardens on a medieval site, with imposing Gothic remains & sea views. It's less than an hour away from Ploumanac'h by car.
In 2019, we ended our trip with a few nights in Saint-Malo. A great place for walkers and eaters. La Maison des Armateurs was an excellent value for money.
I was lucky enough to visit Perros-Guirec/Ploumanac'h and St Malo in May 2019 and it remains one of my all time favourite trips.
Perros-Guirec was the highlight. I was travelling with my mother and we were there without a car, focused on relaxing and walking various bits of the GR34 trail (with the help of a local taxi driver to get to the most distant starting point). I would have loved to visit Île-de-Bréhat but we were there out of season so there was no direct boat connection running.
We stayed at Villa les Hydrangeas (https://www.villaleshydrangeas.bzh/en/) and had the "Northern Gannet" room with it's own private terrace. With amazing weather, it was the perfect place to sit out after our long days walking for a drink or to enjoy the view. The hosts gave us plates when we asked so we even had a few picnic suppers up there (this was before the hotel had its own restaurant). The hotel dining room has gorgeous views and a great array of dishes to choose from each morning for breakfast. If you want to visit the local beaches, they will also give you beach towels and it's a short walk downhill to lovely Trestrignel.
The coastal walk (along the GR34 trail) to Plomanac'h is not to be missed and there are many delicious galette places to keep you well-fueled for your adventures!
Dinner at La Crémaillère was absolutely delicious and Basilico had wonderful pizzas and pastas for a change.
In comparison, St Malo was interesting but felt very crowded and touristy. We visited Dinan (by bus - very easy) and enjoyed our day there, especially the walk along the river to Lehon. I thoroughly enjoyed talking the boat from St Malo to Dinard and then walking back along the GR34 path, as well as other coastal walks in the area. There are many old bunkers and forts nearby - with a car, I would have loved to have visited Fort la Latte.
We stayed at a nice AirBnB within the city walls of St Malo, which was perfect: https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/2456009
I spent 4 nights in each place, which was a good length of visit but if I were doing it again I would skip St Malo or at least reduce the time and focus on Perros-Guirec, especially if I were going in summer with the expectation of good weather when I could plan to relax more at the beach.
Here are a few photos from both places:
Whatever you choose, you can't go wrong with Brittany! Have a wonderful trip.
I would have loved to visit Île-de-Bréhat but we were there out of season so there was no direct boat connection running.
Sorry that you missed Ile de Brehat as it was the highlight of my trip to Brittany, well one of them anyway. I was there in July and taking the ferry out to the island was wonderful on an otherwise hot day. The flowers everywhere on the island were amazing and the hike across the island and out to the Paon lighthouse was one of my favorite experiences in France. I do love car-free islands where hiking and biking are the way to get around.
The other two highlights for me in Brittany were 1. Carnac and the stone alignments, they really blew my mind. I found that whole experience much more interesting than Stonehenge or some of the other megalithic sites I have seen in the British Isles and Ireland, and 2. the town and castle at Josselin, one of the prettiest places I visited in France.
I loved all of Brittany. I spent 12 days there in 3 different areas. Brittany is so large and so varied it would take months to explore all of it.
Thank you so much. A great help.