Dates of the trip: from 27 October to 3 November 2000.
Hotel "Climat de France" at Dinard, near the Rance
barrage, close to Saint-Malo. The hotel is very pleasant and ideally located
both for touristic and ornithological sites.
If you want to go directly to the list of birds I saw, click here.
Touristic sites :
The following sites have been classified geographically from the
East to the West so as to make them easier to find on a map.
- Fougères: This little town, surrounded with walls and located inland, is
worth a visit for its castle, the Saint-Leonard church and its beautiful park.
- Mont-Saint-Michel: What is the use of presenting such a famous site? Still,
I was somehow disappointed by the mercantile aspect of this place which used
to be so pleasant a few score years ago. The omelette of the Mere Poulard
is still as expensive and the keepsakes you can buy there are the worst you
can find as far as good taste is concerned. Nevertheless, the churches are
still very nice. I suggest Saint-Michel and Joan of Arc, whose statues you
can see on the Mont drive those hawkers out of this prestigious place.
- Rennes: Inland. The Brittany Parliament, whose roof burnt during the night
of 4 to 5 February, has been renovated and you can again admire its superb
ceilings. Rennes is a modern city where large buildings stand along old colourful
half-timbered houses. Of course, as almost everywhere in Brittany, you will
see a lot of churches. We especially liked the Basilique Saint-Aubin and its
elaborately ornated main altar and also Saint-Melaine, a church adorned with
a beautiful wrought-iron gate, a big copper dome and a huge statue of the
Virgin Mary. The Romanesque Basilique Saint-Sauveur has a nice wooden pulpit
and modern stained-glass windows. We did not have the opportunity to visit
the Saint-Pierre Cathedral, which was closed on that day. The Art Nouveau
buildings around the Place Hoche reminded us that we come from Lorraine. The
Palais du Commerce, another impressive building, made us think of the Château
de Versailles, although it is much smaller.
- Cancale: Seeing the people work in the oysterbeds is something.
- La Pointe du Groin: This is where, every four years, the Rum Race starts.
Pointe du Groin
- Saint-Malo: Who does not know this wall-surrounded city? We went to the
tomb of French writer Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand which is located on the
Isle of the Grand Be and not on that of the Petit Be as it is indicated in
some touristic guides. If you are keen on monuments, go to the Saint-Vincent
Cathedral. The rose window is gorgeous just like the bronze altar designed
by Arcabas. Jacques Cartier is also buried in this church.
- Dinan: Inland. This is a very picturesque town with its old half-timbered
houses and its bridge on the river Rance. The view from the walls is breath-taking.
You should not miss the house where Auguste Pavie (1847-1925) was born. He
was an explorer, a minister and ambassador in Laos and Cambodia. In the Rue
de la Mittrie, you will find the house where Théodore Botrel, the famous club
singer who composed the Paimpolaise was born. The 12th century Saint-Sauveur
church is beautifully decorated and is worth a visit if only to see the stained-glass
windows and the tomb of Du Guesclin. You will no doubt like the narrow and
steep Rue du Jerzual, with its rows of 16th-century houses and also the Hotel
Beaumanoir with its inner yard and iron gate, the Portail aux Dauphins.
- Dinard: A pleasant and very elegant town, the home of a thalassotherapy
spa. Do go to the Pointe de la Malouine to have a look at the splendid villas
whose yesteryear charm is so attractive. This is the place where the brothers
Lumière shot the first colour film in 1877.
- Saint-Lunaire: Do not miss the Pointe du Decolle and its attractive villas
with a view on Cape Frehel. Just like me, you would probably like to live
there for some time.
- Saint-Jacut-de-la-mer: Brittany is a devout Roman Catholic province and
you will have guessed it from the names of some of the cities and the numerous
churches which are all worth visiting. The granite one in Saint-Jacut is picturesque
with its bell-tower supported with flying-buttresses. From there, go for a
walk to the Pointe du Chevet, which is also called Pointe du Chef de l'Isle.
You can roam on the Ebiens beach at low tide and visit small islets.
- Fort La Latte or Chateau de la Roche Goyon: It was built from the 14th
to the 17th century way out at the end of the pink granite peninsula. You
feel like owning such a castle when you look at the sea.
- Sables-d'Or-les-Pins: As you might have guessed from the name of this town,
a beautiful beach and a lot of pines.
- La Ville-Berneuf and Caroual: For sun yachting lovers.
- Le Pléneuf-Val-André: A tidy little town proud of its beautiful beach and
Ornithological sites :
As with the touristic sites, the places below have been classified
geographically from the East to the West.
- Mont-Saint-Michel: Huge numbers of birds which are unfortunately very
difficult to see because the bay is very large and you should on no account
enter it if you are not familiar with the place. I do insist that the risks
of drowning are real especially if you do not know the times of the tide.
A spotting scope is a must. We were disappointed with the site because the
weather was foggy and it was raining when we went there.
- Cancale and le Grand Porcon: Several waders on the beach.
- Pointe de Groin: For seawatchers.
- Ile Besnard, near Saint-Malo. In the sand dunes. Look for the Camping des
- Dinard : We went to La Garde Guerin where you can ramble in the gorse moor.
- Saint-Jacut-de-la-mer: Between Saint-Cast and Dinard. You can stop your
car at different places along this peninsula, driving through the Pointe du
Chevet. A good spot for waders and Brent Geese.
- Baie de la Fresnaye, east of Port-le-Duc: Numerous waders and gulls.
- Cap Frehel: This place is a must. Take a walk in the picturesque moor as
far as the cape itself.
- Le Pleneuf-Val-Andre: Facing the Verdelet islet, you will find the Edmond
Trani ornithological reserve.
List of species observed.
I did not make a complete list of the species I observed, which
explains why very common birds are missing.