And what about Saint-Brieuc itself ? The discreet town lies on the hills around a small estuary where the rivers Gouët and Gouédic meet. It is in two parts : the historic centre, which is very busy on Wednesday and Saturday mornings when the market takes place, and the harbour which has undergone a revival and buzzes with activity every weekend. The neighbouring town of Plérin, on the west bank of the estuary, has a lovely sea front esplanade along the long Plage des Rosaires beach, great to walk or jog along. You can also go sailing, windsurfing, kite-surfing and even paragliding here. And if you fancy a spot of seashore fishing, another beach, Martin plage, is a popular place to go digging for razor clams during spring tides !
Everyone will tell you not to forget the ‘bijou attractions’ inland from the coast. About 20km to the south, several charming villages are well worth visiting, including the character villages of Quintin and Moncontour, both steeped in medieval charm with a lake, castle, ramparts and narrow streets. During a recent visit to Moncontour with my partner we deliberately got lost and took great delight in coming across alleyways, ramparts, gateways, half-timbered houses, the view across the valley and the restaurant in the village centre.