Côtes d’Armor with fishing ports full of character, wonderful sandy beaches and a dramatic rocky coastline, this department is a popular holiday destination. Overlooking the River Rance, Dinan with its ramparts and gateways has exceptional examples of corbelled and half- timbered 15/16th century houses, a belfry, churches and a convent. Further west, Saint-Cast le Guildo has seven sandy beaches whilst the bustling town of Pléneuf-Val-André marks the end of the Emerald Coast combining fantastic beaches and enjoyable cliff top walks with a vibrant Tuesday market, a marina and charming scallop fishing harbour. Verdelet Isle is a bird sanctuary and nearby is a beautiful 18-hole golf course.
Inland Lamballe is known for its national stud. Saint-Brieuc, founded by a welsh monk, is the main town of the Côtes d’Armor and hosts the ‘Jazz dans les feuilles’ in September. The Cathedral is impressive as are the old renaissance and medieval houses in the centre. The River Trieux meanders through Guingamp, founded in the 10th century. Of three original castles, only three towers lowered to rampart level by Richelieu, remain. The renaissance style Plomée fountain is superb. The city has the Saint Loup festival in August and the annual pardon on the first Saturday in July when pilgrims flock to the ‘black virgin’ on the porch of the beautiful gothic style Basilica of Notre-Dame de Bon Secours.
To the north, Pontrieux, named for its bridge over the River Trieux, is a charming small historical town with approximately fifty wash houses on the river banks. Plouha has the highest cliffs in Brittany and views include small offshore islands sheltering many seabirds. Paimpol with its oyster beds, once a centre for Icelandic cod fishing, has some attractive old 16th century houses in the old quarter. From the harbour, still the hub of activity, you can visit the attractive island of Bréhat, 10 minutes away. The spa town of Perros-Guirec, classic of the pink granite coast, has three vast beaches, two marinas, a casino, thalassotherapy and a wax museum. Leisure activities include excursions to the seven islands archipelago with over 18,000 pairs of birds including gannets, puffins and razorbills.
Inland, Tréguier with its cathedral, magnificent cloister and half-timbered houses hosts the annual pardon in honour of Saint Yves, patron saint of lawyers. A museum chronicles the life of the writer, Ernest Renan, who was born here. The capital of Trégor, Lannion is a technological centre on the River Léguer, where canoeists train. It has a superb 16/17th century templar church and lovely riverside walks and a good market every Thursday. At Warenghem a distillery produces Breton Whisky. Pleumur-Bodou has the Cosmopolis centre, a scientific and historic leisure park and the huge Radôme bubble is a telecommunications museum. Gastronomic delights reflect the diversity of the terrain and include freshly fished ‘Coquille Saint- Jacques’, oysters and fruits de mer, wonderful crisp buckwheat pancakes, fresh fruit and vegetables and local charcuterie.