FRANCE BRITTANY COTES D'AMOR Le phare du port de BinicCôtes d’Amor is a department in northern Brittany, which peeks into the English Channel, bolstered by Finistére,  Morbihan and Ille-et-Vilaine. Its name refers to “the sea” in Breton- a direct translation of its Roman name Armorica, which was given, due to its coastal location. Far from a metropolis, Côtes d’Amor comprises of a large stretch of coastland as well as a significant chunk of pastoral land. It is entices visitors with its lively ports, interesting seaside rocks, castles and forests.










CÔTES-D'ARMOR:    1. Paimpol   2.  St-Brieuc   3.  Dinan 

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Paimpol (pop 7,900) is pronounced Pempoull in Breton. Upon entering the port town, you can immediately sight a number of white-striped jumpsuits (especially near the harbour), worn as homage to the rich maritime tradition of the town. Paimpol is home to a working fishing harbour which is however, increasingly being populated by pleasure vessels. Its long maritime tradition dates back to the days when it functioned as a house port of the Icelandic fishery. Therefore, the town continues telling the tales of lost seaman who bravely set sail to the Iceland seas for several months. Such seafaring tradition has allowed Paimpol to concoct rather delicious seafood dishes, which are ready to be savoured in any one of the many restaurants that are scattered around town.  

The town centre is located south of the two harbours near the cobble-stoned, place du Martray. Paimpol’s famous street marketplace also stretches from here to place Gambetta. Further down south, pass Avenue du Général de Gaulle lie the bus and train stations.

Every even-numbered year, in August, Paimpol celebrates the Festival du Chant de Marin [www.paimpol-2009.com] – a folk festival that keeps the sea shanties and Breton dances alive.

The town displays its heritage in the excellent Musée de la Mer (Sea Museum) [rue de Labenne, +33 296220219 www.museemerpaimpol.com ad/ch €4.70/2] and the Musée du Costume Breton (Breton traditional costumes Museum) [rue Raymond Pellier, +33 296220219].

If you head east, further down the coastline, you can get to the Abbaye de Beauport [Agrab – Kérity +33 296551850 www.abbaye-beauport.com ad/ch €5.50/1.50] – a 13th century Anglo-Norman Gothic abbey that faces the sea.

Many visitors also use Paimpol as a base to explore the nearby Île-de-Bréhat- a quiet, Mediterranean-looking island.


PAIMPOL:   1. Tourist office  2. Musée de la Mer  3.  Abbaye de Beauport  4. Île-de-Bréhat (outside map limits, scroll north)

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St-Brieuc (pop 46,000) was named after a Welsh monk who evangelised the area in the 6th century. A significant number of its locals left France for Canada later on, naming a town in Saskatchewan, St-Brieuc, in memory of this place.

The town is located on a plateau between the Emerald Coast and the Pink Granite Coast, with two rivers running through it. It still houses many old homes especially along rue Fardel, rue Quinquaine and rue du Gouët. However, its most prominent building is the St-Étienne Cathedral [Place du Général de Gaulle]- an ancient chapel that is framed by 2 towers, housing striking stain-glass paintings and the tomb of St Guillaume, who died in 1238.  


ST-BRIEUC:   1. Tourist office  2.  Train station  3.  St-Étienne Cathedral 

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Dinan (pop. 11,200) is a charming, walled town with a well-preserved Medieval flavour. Sitting high up on the hills of the River Rance, the town presents visitors with sweeping views of the surrounding green landscape that embraces its timbre-framed buildings and stones residences.

The old walled town sits in the centre, with rue du Jerzual leading into the port at the northeast, while the bus and train stations are located in the northwest, at place 11-Novembre.

The walled town of Dinan is a medieval ‘headquarters’. The heart of the town is denoted by the timbre-framed houses that line the streets of place des Cordelies and place des Merciers. This largely pedestrianised area, houses a number of monuments situated within close proximity of each other. South of this area lies a 15th century clock tower, named Tour de I’Horloge. This ancient structure chimes every quarter hour and has opened its balcony doors to visitors who wish to see the old gears in motion.

If you head east of the tower you will find the Basilique St Sauveur  [19 Place Saint-Sauveur, +33 296853020 ] – an old church that has been built across the centuries, sporting various architectural styles, from its nine Gothic chapels to its Romanesque porch. The church’s centograph is said to house the heart of Bertrand du Guesclin, a Breton warrior who later became a Constable of France, reputed for fighting to expel the English (whom he harboured deep hatred for) from these lands.

FRANCE ILLE-DE-VILAINE DinanIronically enough, the pretty plot of land that lies beside this church, is named – Jardins Anglais (English Gardens). This small park was once a cemetery and it lies on the way to the 13th century Tour Ste Catherine, which offers great views of the port that lies at its north-eastern side. A pleasant stretch of antique shops on cobbled streets leads you in from the tower, into Vieux Pont -an old bridge that makes its way to the Dinan port.

Lying southwest of the town, is the ruins of the Château de Dinan [Rue du Château, +33 296394520 ]. This handsome 14th century castle, like the St-Sauveur Church, houses an eclectic mix of architectural styles as well. The castle is now the holding place of the Dinan History Museum [ad/ch €5.35/1.70] which showcases exhibits regarding the town’s history, dating back to the prehistoric period. 

While medieval sight-seeing is a ‘must-do’ in Dinan, many also opt for boat trip along the River Rance, which is held annually from May-September. This idle journey allows tourists to soak up the peaceful sight of the rolling hills which are crowned with stone buildings.

Every even numbered year, in July, Dinan is flooded with tourists from all over the world waiting to partake in the merriment that is the Fête de Ramparts [www.fete-remparts-dinan.com/] brings. This 2-day festival celebrates the medieval times in Dinan’s history, with grand costume parades.

DINAN1.  Place des Merciers  2. place des Cordliers

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  CÔTES-D'ARMOR:    1. Paimpol   2.  St-Brieuc   3.  Dinan  

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