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Brittany for one week

We are spending 6 nights in Brittany the end of April. I am looking for two places to spend three nights each and day trip to the sights from there. Given the distance that might not be possible. I may need to break into three stays for 2 nights or something along those lines. Any suggestions? (I will be coming from Paris and leaving from Brittany to Loire and back to Paris). My musts are Carnac, Cote de Granite Rose and MSM (surrounding towns). Any accommodation recommendations also. This is a frugal trip so anything you found clean and interesting for under 75E DBL would be great. FYI We have already done Normandy.
Thank you.

Posted by
107 posts

We are planning to visit in May of 2017 and decided we absolutely must see St Malo and the mearby Dinan. Unfortunately I suppose this is a bit far north for your trip.

St Malo does, however, have a shuttle bus from the Citadel area to MSM, which might be useful.

Posted by
7078 posts

Where you stay could depend a lot on if you will have a car or taking public transportation. If you have a car the day trips from your base will most likely be easier and faster and it makes it easier to find less expensive places to stay in lovely small towns or villages. If using public transportation then using a bit larger towns/cities as bases will make more sense.

Brittany in April will not be crowded with tourists so should not be hard to find affordable accommodations no matter where you stay. Rennes (or a smaller town/village around there) is a good central location for day trips to MSM, St Malo, Dinan, Fougeres, etc etc and it's a good transportation hub if using public transport.

At the other end of Brittany (the Cote de Granite Rose) somewhere between St Brieuc and Morlaix would be convenient for seeing the coast and also the smaller villages and the enclos paroissial (parish closes) with their 'calvaries' (sculptures of the crucifixion) that Brittany is famous for. This really only works with a car, as does the coastal area, because of a lack of public transport.

With only 6 days you may have to choose between the Cote de Granite Rose and Carnac or limit your stay on the Cote to 2 nights and then transfer to somewhere right around Carnac for 1 night and go from there to wherever in the Loire you are heading.

I will say that in April you may have to be prepared for cool damp weather especially along the coast.

If you're going to have a car I can give you a couple of places where I stayed. They were b&b's in, or near, small villages - one near Dol de Bretagne which was good for St Malo, MSM, Fougeres, and Dinan. The other was in Plougonven near Morlaix for the Cote de Granite Rose. Both were around €45-50/night for a single with breakfast. I saw Carnac on my way driving from Plougonven to my next destination which was near La Rochelle on the SW coast.

Posted by
531 posts

Sorry I should have said that. Yes we are going to have a car. I would appreciate your accommodation suggestions. We are from Seattle so that weather is fine with us. We'd rather have questionable weather than crowds.

Posted by
7078 posts

Renee, the place I stayed near Dol de Bretagne was just outside the small village of Roz Landrieux (http://www.manoirdelagrandemettrie.com/?lang=uk), this one I heard of from a recommendation here on the forum. The place I stayed near the Cote de Granite Rose was outside the village of Plougonven, not far from Morlaix. La Grange de Coatèlan, I could not find an English language website for this one but I booked it through booking.com so you can see it there, it's also on TA and on some b&b booking sites.

Both of these were very inexpensive and were unique places to stay in historic buildings, both in pretty rural areas, very quiet but not far from towns with restaurants. Both had excellent dinners they served to guests and the public (if I remember correctly). I loved both of them.

Posted by
784 posts

We stayed at Mt. St. Michel, which is recommended, then stayed three nights near Vannes and day tripped the southern coast from there. On another trip, we stayed in Dinan and daytripped as far west as Quimper.

Posted by
151 posts

Actually for 6 nights in Brittany, for the programme you mention, you could consider 2 or 3 bases (depending on the time you want to spend along the pink granite coast):
- 1 base to easily reach the north coast of Brittany, between Mont Saint Michel, Saint Malo and Dinan. Therefore you could stay in a town like Dol de Bretagne or Combourg. There are quite many B&B opportunities, "chambres d'hôtes" in French (for example in Combourg : http://visite.bretagne.free.fr/index.php/en/bed-and-breakfast.html ).
- you could discover the pink granite coast over the day and then drive to Carnac. But it would be a longer day, and if you want to enjoy a longer walk along the coast, you could stay 1 night there (for example in Ploumanach, Perros Guirec or Trégastel).
- 1 base around Carnac, Quiberon, Locmariaquer, depending on your wish to feel a sea resort or town atmosphere.

Posted by
12193 posts

There is a hostel near Cancale and an HI in Dinan. Normally I think you do as well or better getting a double from a small hotel. France may be the exception, hostels seem to offer a better deal even on private doubles.

Cancale is right on a bay. The people who run the place grow vegetables and keep chickens - it felt very 60's. It's friendly and they provide a good breakfast. There's a code on the door so you can always get in. I thought it was four numbers and couldn't get in. Fortunately, someone was outside having a cigarette and told me the first digit was an A not a 4.

Dinan is a really nice place, kind of a long walk into the port area and further from the town center. The people who run it are very young familes and, again, really friendly.

Other than that I stayed in AirBnB's. I stayed in one in Vannes that was really nice, walking distance to the port and an easy drive to Carnac. This one was essentially a building to yourself (they had a room in there for their daughter but she's studying in England). I paid something like 45 a night. I imagine it's a little more for two people. I think they asked five additional euro for breakfast but I am normally on the road early every morning so didn't try it.

Posted by
2035 posts

In September 2015 we spent a few days at the Manoir de Rigourdaine. A modern facility, friendly and helpful owner. Ample car parking ( a car is a must for this hotel). Situated in a pastoral setting overlooking fields and river. Very convenient for visiting St Malo and Dinan; Cancale and MSM are within striking distance. I believe it is a RS recommended property. We spent one terrific day driving along the coast in the area around Cap Frehel. Safe travels.

I recommend you visit Pontivy, a town favored by the Napoleons and its design and many monuments depict their influence, not to mention the Nantes Brest Canal, bike and footpath that bisects the town. All this below is on a B&B or similar budget @45E. I stayed near center of town on the canal in a hostel and it was excellent; there is also a grand castle founded by the notable Rohan family, excellent restaurants with a variety of cuisines where I discovered a salad on a crepe with heated Chevre served with a divine vinaigrette and good hotels which offer bed and breakfast. Also, I highly recommend Josselin on this canal system too built by Napoleon I to avoid the British at sea, sort of a watery Autobahn. It has a magnificent castle right over the canal, surrounded by beautiful gardens, also associated with the Rohan family and home to the ancient queen of Brittany. Part of the ground floor is open to tourists who thereby sample its elegance and historical significance; the rest of the castle itself is a residence, so special that the Queen of England has stayed overnight there. I stayed in town in a very reasonable B&B, which turned out to be an exquisite, comfortable and homey manor house with a patio, lawn and garden in its rear that had to be 100' by 25'. There were 3 bedrooms, mine with a double bed, private bath and all the amenities one would expect in such a setting; another was similarly appointed but with a single canopied bed in addition to the double. The third bedroom came with a separate sitting room in addition to a bedroom. Breakfast is served in a large bright morning room on a table larger than most peoples' dining room table filled with what most anyone would want for breakfast, including breads, cereals hot and cold, fresh fruit and juices, milk, coffee, tea, and, I imagine most anything upon request. The town has many interesting buildings and beautiful parks. Not too far west is Carhaix, supposedly the birthplace of the Breton culture and the first capital of Brittany. Farther southwest is the current cultural capital of Brittany, Quimper. A small river that bisects the town has at least a dozen flowered footbridges in addition to ones for vehicular traffic. The center of Quimper has the original cathedral in Brittany with a spire that seems to have been inspired by the lace designs the area is famous for. Next to the cathedral is THE Breton museum full of antiquities that go back before Roman times and native furniture that existed before furniture became mass produced. Across the cathedral square is a major art museum that contains the work of Breton masters a well as of those displayed at Pont Aven. There is a big sprawling wonderful cafe at one corner of that large square. Deeper in the city center there is a fresh foods market and are shops galore. Any kind a accommodations are available and the gare has all kinds of transportation there, including TGV . Flowers will be blooming everywhere I've mentioned; so will rain showers, but not so much the showers in an area west of Quimper that fascinates me. There are menhirs, dolmins and alle couvers sprinkled everywhere, unlike at Carnac where the menhirs are all grouped together; a local map will locate them for you. There is an archaeological site at a small seaport that documented evidence of human occupation 200,000 years ago. Many dozen chapels rest at sites with springs that were once considered sacred to the Druids. Many of the legends associated with King Arthur originated here. Less than hour west from Quimper by bus is Audierne, a lovely and good size harbor port. It is a jumping off point to seacoast Cap Sizun and small towns and creperies I love or continue by another bus to Pont Croix (actually a 45 minute riverside walk away) where there is an ancient collegiate chapel whose spire was the model for the Quimper cathedral's one.

Posted by
50 posts

We spent two weeks in September driving around Brittany and previously 2 years ago in April as well. We take the train to Rennes from Paris. Great rental options right at the station and then go from there. It is so central to all of Brittany. I would suggest Frommer's 25 Great Drives in France and view the Brittany section. At that time of year you should not have problems with lodging reservations. We just used the IPad to search each night to find a place for the next day. That freedom gave us great opportunities to go at our own pace and see things we might have missed in planning from afar. The Frommer's guide (along with a Michelin road map) will help you start planning and you can see the small roads that connect great towns. That book, combined with regional tourist websites, should give you all you need. It means you might spend the night in many different places but you will see more of that area. Happy travels!

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you for the information. I, too, am planning 7 nights from late April to early May in Brittany landing in Rennes and departing from Nantes.