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Fort La Latte

What is the rout to Fort La Latte from St Malo? Will we have time to stop if this is our day: Start at Caen, drive to St Malo, stopping at Mont St Michel on the way; stop in St Malo probably just for lunch and a quick look around (probably no more than 3 hours), drive to Fort La Latte, head to Dinan nad spend the night in Dinan. Departure time from Caen will probably be no later than 8:00 am.

Posted by
620 posts

No, that's too much. Go to the Sculptured Rocks instead. It is en route and lovely. I liked Forte La Latte a bunch, but Given your busy day, I would prefer spending my evening in Dinan or Lehon.

Posted by
12172 posts

If you leave Caen very early, like 6am, you could get to MSM before the crowds. Your walk up the main street will be relatively uncrowded. I'd go up the main street, visit the Abbey, then come back down by the ramparts to avoid the crowded main street. I can't imagine spending less than three to four hours there.

From MSM to Saint-Malo isn't too far. I'd say about 1 1/2 hours by the time you get parked. Picking a place for lunch might be interesting. The whole town is shops and restaurants. The highlights for me were the beach and walls. I didn't allow time to visit the museum. French are somewhat picky on meal times but that shouldn't be as prevalent in the more touristy places. There is a creperie on the wall overlooking the sea that I enjoyed. I think you could eat there anytime. I believe it's Le Corps de Garde (maybe a restaurant, I know I had a crepe). The food was decent and the building itself was interesting.

I liked Ft. La Latte a lot but drove from Dinan. Drive like you are going to Dinard, then continue along the coast (actually the main road near the coast, the coastline is too rugged to follow). It's a little over an hour. The place has been used for different things over the years but still has the medieval charm I like. The views over the sea are pretty amazing looking too. If you want, you can climb to the very top where the Bretton flag flies. There will be visitors but it's doesn't seem to be overrun like MSM and Saint-Malo.

As others have said this is a big day with a lot of sights at a fast pace. I consider myself a fairly fast paced traveler but this is more than I would try to accomplish in one day.

Posted by
116 posts

Thanks for your replies. On the day in question, we'll just play it by ear, but it does sound like it's too much for one day. We are spending the night in Dinan, so we can always take time during the morning to explore there. Maybe we should skip St Malo? I really, really want to visit, but this Fort just seems really cool (something that may be more suited for us). I'm afraid we'll get to St Malo and spend our time parking and looking for food that we won't really see anything. But, we have to eat sometime, and that seems like a great spot. So, what would you do- skip St Malo or skip Fort La Latte?

My biggest frustration is finding so many things so close to where we are that I will feel a little cheated if we don't go... but I totally understand there being too much in one day.

Posted by
1828 posts

We really enjoyed St. Malo and wished we had chosen it for an overnight instead of sleepy little Dinan which we thought RS over-hyped. Dinan is like "York-lite," if you have ever visited York. When we visited St. Malo we parked at a huge lot just to the west of the town and walked into the walled area. St. Malo felt full of energy and cheer.

You could visit Dinan and Fort La Latte the next day, either overnighting in Dinan or continuing on to your next destination. Although we visited the fort I had no memory of it until you mentioned it! However I do remember visiting a beautiful ruined abbey in that area, Beaufort Abbey.

We thought Carnac was the best part of Brittany, but it's in the opposite corner of Brittany from St. Malo.

Posted by
116 posts

Hmm... visiting Fort La Latte the next morning is a good idea. My only concern is we have to be in Bordeaux by 7pm (from what I can tell it's a 5-6 hour drive, so theoretically, we could leave Dinan by noon and still get there in time to return the car). We are staying in the city center in Dinan, and I really just want to stay in a quaint French village- no real plans to visit anything. I should also mention that we love long road trips-- 10 hours on the road is nothing to us :)

Posted by
620 posts

I would not advise driving from Dinan to the Fort and then to Bordeuax.

I probably enjoyed Fort la Latte more than San Malo, even in the pouring rain. Skipping San Malo wouldn't be the worst thing. I strongly prefer Dinan to San Malo.

Posted by
116 posts

Interesting- I received an email about a reply but I don't see it on the forum now. Anyway, I"m happy to answer that disappearing comment (it questioned why we are going to Bordeaux): We are starting our trip in London, but our final destination is San Sebastian, Spain to visit friends and drop my daughter off for a study abroad. Since we wanted to see Normandy and Brittany, we decided to rent a car at Caen and drive to Bordeaux and drop it off (by the airport). So, we need to return the car by 7:00 pm. My plan right now is to figure out how to get from the hotel by the airport to the train station (taxi may be best- there are four of us) and take the train to St Emilion for the day. We will need to take a train to Hendaye later that same day, but our time can be flexible (my friend is going to check us into the hotel, so we don't have to be in Hendaye until 10pm or so). Our friend will pick us up at Hendaye.

Posted by
116 posts

So, after this thread, I am not going to rule out Fort La Latte, but I will plan on us not going out of our way to visit it. If time allows (which it sounds like it may not), then we may consider it. But, I see the wisdom in spending a lot more time in St Malo and Dinan. I'm considering changing hotels so we can stay in St Malo, walk on the beach, etc and just stopping in Dinan for a look aroud. Thanks so much for your responses. It KILLS me that we don't have another day, but oh well. Thanks!

Posted by
12172 posts

I like St. Malo. I'd want to be there at low tide and walk out to the small fortifications that become islands at high tide. I wish I had allowed time for the museum.

I spent two nights in Dinan. I don't think it's anything like York but it's a great town. There is a very old medieval center and a newer port area down on the river, both are worth spending some time looking around. I was there in September and it was quiet. I get the feeling, however, that it's packed in tourist season.

Posted by
735 posts

If everything you want to see is on the Britany / Normandy boarder, why are you hiring from Caen? I take it you are going from London to Paris? I suggest you take the train to Renne even straight to St Malo and hire your car from there. It will be a lot more relaxing, and yes I am another vote for St Malo, its a brilliant little town, beautiful.

Posted by
116 posts

We are spending two nights in Caen- taking a day to see WW2 sights. So, it makes more sense to rent a car from Caen. It didn't make sense to me to have the car only in Normandy/Brittany, since it appears the train would take us from Rennes back to Paris before going to Hendaye, so we are keeping it and driving down to Bordeaux (we'll take the train to Hendaye from Bordeaux). I feel that maximizes our time, and since there are four of us, is probably cheaper than the train.

We only have 4 days in France, so our plan is to basically skip Paris (we are only there to change train stations), spend two nights in Caen, one night in Dinan and one night in Bordeax.

Posted by
735 posts

Oh that makes more sense. But here is a thought, why not get a train to Saint Lo (one change ), close to Utah and Omaha beaches. It says there are 3 hire car firms there. Then its a shorter drive down to Mont Saint Michael the next day. Also it looks like there are trains from St Lo to Avranches close to MSM. Am pretty certain that there are no direct fast roads between Caen and MSM, where as the drive from St Malo to Bordeaux looks like most of it is on fast roads. Just an idea, and do make time to just sit and smell the roses!

Posted by
116 posts

That would be a good idea, but I can't really get out of our accomodations in Caen, and we are going through Enterprise (my husband gets a discount), so I feel like this way is easier. It know it will make for a longer day getting to MSM (Michelin says it's an hour drive-- I'm going to count on 2 hours), but if we take Fort La Latte out of our day, we should have a good amount of time in St Malo and MSM (we'll save most of Dinan for the next morning-- I don't want to go to museums, etc there-- I just want to experience a medieval town. We'll mostly go for an hour walk). It's still too tight of an itinerary, but I guess I"ll have to make the best out of it (my husband wanted to be gone for 3 weeks, but the airfare and the fact I know he'd go nuts being away for 3 weeks dictated my decision to not allow enough time for France).

Posted by
735 posts

No worries, kust an idea and totally agree definitely not one hours drive!

Posted by
735 posts

No worries, kust an idea and totally agree definitely not one hours drive!

Posted by
116 posts

I'm at the point in planning where I am just fine-tuning everything... so consequently, I'm questioning every decision! haha It does really help me to get input. I need to stop over-thinking it and just go with it. If we make mistakes, well, we'll chalk it up to a good lesson. I'm pretty sure something will go wrong and I'm convinced we'll get lost-- but honestly, I can't imagine a better experience than getting lost in the countryside of France :) It would be just like the movies! (but I don't want to run out of gas or food- hahahaha)

Posted by
14172 posts

I agree with Brad's thought on staying in Saint-Malo long enough to see the tide change and being able to walk out to the 3 islets that can be reached at low tide. I really connected with Saint-Malo moreso than Mont Saint-Michel. I'm probably one of the few that thinks MSM is better from a distance BUT I wouldn't know that if I hadn't been a couple of times, lol!

BTW, if you are driving along the coast and stop at Cancale (oysters) you can see MSM in the distance.