Forest Row Bike Club

FRBC tour of Brittany June 2009


A full size version of this map can be found here.


This is the intended itinerary. Nothing is booked as yet so alterations may be made if accomodation is unavailable or if anyone has better ideas!

Thursday 4th June:

Depart from Portsmouth at 8:30pm on the Brittany Ferries crossing to St Malo.

Friday 5th June:
St MaloArrive at St Malo at 8:15 and cycle 42 miles to Sables-d'Or-les-Pins. Leaving St Malo, the road crosses the Rance along the top of the World's first tidal power dam, built in 1966. The route continues on through Dinard, a former fishing village that wouldn't look out of place on the Cote d'Azur, with it's casinos and spacious shaded villas. Indeed a number of Picasso's most famous pictures which look quintessentially Mediteranean were painted on the main beach here during the artist's annual visits. We then continue west along the Emerald coast through a number of small seaside towns, Saint Lunaire, Saint Briac sur Mer, Saint Jaguel, Saint Brigitte and past sandy beaches until we get to Saint Cast le Guildo where we could stop for lunch. After Lunch we continue along the coast past the Fort La Latte, a famous and very picturesque medieval castle much used in films.Cap Fréhel Then on to Cap Fréhel where we can make a short detour to see the famous headland and perhaps take tea at the café. It is then just a few more miles through Pléhérel-Plage-Vieux-Bourg to Sables-d'Or-les-Pins Sables-d'Or-les-Pinswhere we stay at the Hotel de Diane. Sables-d'Or-les-Pins is a French Seaside resort, it was created in 1921 and is known for its 3km long beach located along a spit and its dunes. Roland Brouard, the initiator of the project, intended to create a competitor to resorts like Deauville and La Baule, but in 1929, as a consequence of the Great Depression, the development of the resort stopped. After World War II, Sables d'Or became a quiet family beach.
Saturday 6th June:
ErquyCycle 42 miles to Saint-Quay-Portrieux. The route continues along the Emerald Coast through Erquy, a busy fishing port particularly noted for it's scallops. Here the perfect crescent of beach curves through more than 180 degrees. At low tide, the sea disappears way beyond the harbour entrance, leaving gentle ripples of paddling sand. Pointe de Pleneuf-Val-AndreEquipped with suitable boots, you can walk right across its mouth, from the grassy wooded headland on the left side over to the picturesque little lighthouse at the end of the jetty on the right. Next is Pleneuf-Val-André, another popular seaside town, the last of any size on our route round the bay of St-Brieuc for a while. From Val-André we go through La Cotentin, Jospinet, Morieux and Hillion before turning north to skirt St-Brieuc on the coastal side.Saint-Quay-Portrieux Here we cross the river Gouët and continue north to Binic. In the mid nineteenth century this was one of the busiest ports in France, but these days it's simply an attractive though minor tourist resort with a lucrative sideline of selling mud from the river Ic for fertilizer. From here it is only about 5 miles through Etables-sur-Mer to Saint-Quay-Portrieux, where we stay at the Hotel Le Gerbot Davoine. St Quay like most of the towns around mixes tourism and fishing. The fishing fleet has about 10 offshore and 60 inshore boats catching Turbot,Sea Bass and shellfish rising to 100 boats in the scallop season.
Sunday 7th June, with rest day Monday 8th June:
La chapelle de Kermaria an Iskuit (XIII siècle)Cycle 44 miles to Ploumanach. From St-Quay-Portrieux we turn inland through Plouha, this was traditionally the border between French speaking Upper Brittany and Breton speaking Lower Brittany. As a general indication you can tell which language used to be spoken in a particular area by its place names.Temple at LanleffThus, from here on west there is a preponderance of names beginning wth the Breton Plou (Parish), Trez (sand or beach), Ker (town) or Penn (head). Just a couple of miles further west we come to the village of Kermaria-an-Isquit. A steady stream of visitors come here in summer to see the thirteenth century chapel and the extraordinary Dance of Death, one of the most striking French medieval images. The Dance of Death is no delicate miniature. This huge series of frescoes - depicting Ankou, the skeletal death figure and leading representatives of all social classes of the Danse Macabre - covers the arcades all round the chapel. Painted at the end of the fifteenth century they were whitewashed over, not to be rediscovered until 1856. Unfortunately parts of the work are now missing and in others the original colours have faded, however the work still makes an impact. A few miles further again brings Steam engine at Pontrieuxus to the village of Lanleff with its quasi roman temple (probably the remains of an eleventh century church). From Lanleff we continue on to Pontrieux. This is an inland port at the head of the estuary of the river Trieux, it owes it's origin to the earlier village of Chateaulin-Trieux about 2km upstream which was just a few cottages surrounding the fortress of the Counts of Penthievre. Cathédrale St Tugdual, TreguierThe village was successively plundered, burned and rebuilt on the shores of the Trieux, which were connected by a bridge, hence it's current name. It is now a charming, prosperous historical town connected by a steam railway to Paimpol. We now ride nortwards to Tréguier on the estuary of the river Jaudy, dating back to 531ad when the Welsh monk Tugdual's nephew Brieuc founded a monastary here, the town still has many fascinating old buildings including the cathedral of St Tugdual. This dates from the 11th century, when the hastings tower was built, most of the rest of the building is 14th century and the last major change was in 1785 after the original bell tower's demise due to the weight of it's lead roof and lightening strike. The new spire, Le Clocher du Diable, decorated with symbols of the four suits of cards, was financed by Louis XVIth after a big gambling win. It was only completed after several attempts and legend has it that it gained it's name because the local clergy, discouraged by the difficulties encountered in construction, accepted the help of the devil in exchange for the souls of the dead parishioners.Ploumanac'h We now turn west again and pick up the Granite coast at Nantouar before riding through Perros-Guirrec to Ploumanac'h where we stay at the Hotel Saint Guirec et de la Plage. Ploumanac'h is mainly a tourist resort, the guidebook says 'few places on earth can offer such enchantment for kids' and even those on the second time around cannot fail to be enchanted by the fantastic pink granite rock formations.
Tuesday 9th June
l'église Brelevenez à LannionCycle for 46 miles to Lanvollon. We set out westward following the coastline round through Trégastel and Trebeurden to Beg Léguer where we finally leave the coast to return to St Malo via an inland route. The first town along the way is Lannion, this is an historic city with streets of medieval housing and a couple of interesting old churches, which is now also the centre of a high tech telecommunications industry. Maybe those with excess energy can climb the 142 granite steps to the twelfth century Templar Église de Brélévenez whileLanvollon the rest of us have a coffee! From lannion we take to more minor roads to Lanvollon passing through villages of little note, only Rospez has a claim to fame as the place Royal court of Lannion took refuge in 1521 to avoid the plague. Lanvollon is a small market town well known for its big flea market held in late June and August, we stay at the Ad Nevez Lucotel
Wednesday 10th June:
Chateaux de QuintinCycle 41 miles to Lamballe. The route now takes us south through Plélo to Quintin,which like Pontrieux and Tréguier is one of the 'small cities of character'. Situated between Armor and Argoat, in the heart of the lovely “Le Gouët" river valley, it is an ancient fortified town and centre of the Marian cult, it boasts thirteen classified historic monuments and an architecturally rich urban heritage which is principally the legacy of two centuries of prosperity arising from the manufacture of Brittany hemp textiles. We now turn east through LamballeQuessoy to Lamballe where we stay at the Hotel La Tour des Arc'hants. Lamballe is a fine old market town crammed into a narrow valley beside a broad river, dominated by a church high up on battlement walls. It's most famous citizen was the Princess de Lamballe, a lady in waiting to Marie Antoinette, who was guillotined in 1792. Lamballe's picturesque main square, the place du Matray, holds a handful of impressive fourteenth century half timbered buildings, the grandest of which , the Maison du Bourreau was the home of the town's public executioner.
Thursday 11 th June:
Chateau de la HunaudayeCycle 48 miles to St Malo. We leave Lamballe going Jugon les Lacseastward through La Poterie and St Aubin and soon come to the Chateau de la Hunaudaye. This castle was originally built in the 12th century but was destroyed in the Breton wars of succession (1341-1364), the rebuilding occupied all of the 15th century. From here the road takes us south to Jugon Les Lacs another of the 'small cities of character'. This attractive town was of major strategic importance in the Breton wars of succession and its castle (dismantled by the Cardinal de Richleau in 1616) changed hands many times. From Jugon we wander throught the breton countryside north easterly through Pleurtuit and then we recross the Rance back to St Malo where we stay at the Hotel de la Porte Saint Pierre. Walled and built with the same grey granite stone as Mont St-Michel, St-Malo was originally in the Middle Ages a fortified island at the mouth of the Rance, controlling not only the estuary but the open sea beyond. The promontory fort of Alet, south of the modern centre in what's now the St-Servan district, commanded approaches to the Rance even before the Romans, but modern St-Malo traces its origins to a monastic settlement founded by saints Aaron and Brendan Citadelle Saint Maloearly in the sixth century. In later centuries it became notorious as the home of a fierce breed of pirate-mariners, who were never quite under anybody's control but their own; for four years from 1590, St-Malo even declared itself to be an independent republic. The corsaires of St-Malo not only forced English ships passing up the Channel to pay tribute, but also brought wealth from further afield. Jacques Cartier, who colonized Canada, lived in and sailed from St-Malo, as did the first colonists to settle the Falklands - hence the islands' Argentinian name, Las Malvinas, from the French Malouins.
Friday 12th June:
Catch the return ferry to Portsmouth, depart 10:30am arrive 6:15pm

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