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The bay of Saint-Brieuc and Cap Frehel The tides at Saint-Brieuc go out an astonishing 7km, leaving the beach teeming with shellfish. Not surprisingly restaurants here are well known for their sea food, especially coquilles Saint-Jacques, one of the specialities of the bay. Port du Légué at the entry of the bay is home to grand ship owners houses. From here you can take a boat ride, enjoy the view from the cliffs and watch the wildlife, there are more than 112 species here at Brittany’s biggest nature reserve. Cap Frehel, about 50 minutes’ drive from Saint Brieuc and just 30 minutes from Saint Malo, is a wild, dramatic and unspoiled area. Imposing cliffs offer stunning views over the sea and it’s no surprise to discover that French visitors rate this one of the top places to visit in Brittany. Covered in colourful heathland, smothered in wildflowers and fauna, Cap Frehel lighthouse is one of the most powerful in France. The 14th century Fort La Latte, also known as the Chateau de Roche Goyon, is one of Brittany’s most famous castles. It’s very “Game of Thrones” – dramatically perched on the edge of the cliffs with sheer drops. It’s a bit of a hike to get to it and the steps leading into some of the viewing rooms aren’t good for those with mobility issues, but the views are stunning. Some eagle-eyed oldies may recognise the castle from the Film The Vikings (1958) starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis. Information: www.dinan-capfrehel.com; www.hotelscharmebretagne.com
Where to stay: Hotel Edgar in Saint Brieuc is in a former ship captains house in the inner town of Saint-Brieuc, about 4km from the sea. It’s a busy town with plenty of shops and some fine old houses and streets. At 5, rue Fardel you’ll see the Hotel des Ducs de Bretagne, where King James II of England hid after he lost his throne to William of Orange in 1688. and which makes a good base for exploring the area. This boutique 25 room hotel is a great base with a fabulous restaurant. I’d go here for the amazing food alone. Chef Sebastien David is from Le Bristol in Paris and his divine menu will have guests coming from miles around once word gets out. The menu is regional with pride of place going to local, fresh and seasonal products. The verbena ice cream was genius, the best ice cream I’ve ever had – and I’ve had a lot. The rooms are big and roomy with luxurious bathrooms. The hotel has undergone a room by room renovation with Farrow and Ball paints and stunning wallpaper by Arté of Belgium but keeping its original charm and bucket loads of comfort.
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