France off the Beaten Path: Pink Granite Coast to Vannes, Brittany – Part 10

The path less travelled in France produced stunning rural vistas, friendly locals, and a vibrant food and wine culture, far beyond our expectations.

Heidi and I hired an electric car at CDG airport in early spring 2022 and drove a six thousand kilometre ‘figure of eight’ around France. Despite moderate fitness levels we hiked and cycled many remote picturesque places. We also found rural and remote areas of France have much to offer serious foodies.

Off the Beaten Path: Nothing ‘ordinary’ to be found

Determined to take the path less travelled we discover stunning rural vistas, super friendly locals, and a vibrant food and wine culture in France, way beyond our expectations.

This is part 10 of a 12-part mini-series which follows our recent 12-week trip.

I invite you to join us and make some delightful discoveries.
You will find each part of this mini-series here.

Part 10: From the Pink Granite coast to Vannes in the south, Brittany

Brittany is a large region in the northwest of France. It is a diverse and popular peninsula with an often rugged and spectacular coastline, an interior full of vibrant towns and villages, and large numbers of prehistoric menhirs. During this leg of our trip, we stayed in 3 coastal locations, starting in the north and heading southwest along the coast.

A hidden gem

Perros Guirec is a beautiful seaside town in the heart of the stunning pink granite coast located on the north of the peninsula.

Comme d’habitude (As usual) we found a refuge from the hordes in a farm cottage just a 10-minute drive to the south, near the unknown and apparently uninteresting village of Pleumeur Bodou.

Astoundingly (or perhaps not in France), the village restaurant L’Escale Gourmande was an absolute foodie’s delight. Housed in a nondescript ‘strip mall’ in the small market square with some simple outdoor seating, we discovered perhaps the best seafood of our entire trip. Super fresh, simply cooked and washed down with local cider. The town is also home to a small but high-quality local farmers market which is well worth a visit.

Our accommodation just a few moments from the village was a rustic and comfortable cottage set in several acres of gardens. A really delightful hideaway after several hectic days of touring.

Accommodation: Cottage near Pleumeur-Bodou, France

Our tourist highlights included a morning cruise from Perros Guirec along the coast, an afternoon stroll along the surf beach and around the town, and the following day the highly recommended pink granite coast walk which starts from near the boat wharf at the end of the beach.


Pointe du Raz Walk

On the most westerly point of the peninsular is a remote and rugged coastline which includes the challenging but hugely rewarding Point du Van – Pointe du Raz walk. Spectacular, wild, windswept, and hauntingly beautiful. We started the walk from Point du Van in the north which is barren, remote, and with a small amount of designated parking. The walk itself is moderately difficult and most certainly requires good walking boots at a minimum. You will probably want to self-cater as there are no towns or shops along the way apart from a hotel restaurant located on a world-class surfing beach – Plage de la Baie des Trépassés – about halfway along the hike.

This walk was one of the many hiking highlights during our 12-week tour and for those who love the great outdoors, it is certainly an excellent and spectacular coastal option. The cliffs and rugged rock formations, the vast coastal panorama, and the descent to the only beach were memorable and exhilarating.

Pointe du Raz Beach

Food and wine


For the last few days of our Brittany tour, we stayed in a small coastal village called Séné, just a few minute’s drive from the walled medieval market (small) city of Vannes on the southwest coast. Vannes is a fascinating place for history buffs and foodies alike. It is certainly worth a full-day visit for les flâneurs. As is our want, we ensured we were in town for the weekly food market. Vannes has a very large and beautifully preserved old town, filled with cobbled lanes, half-timbered homes, and an infinite array of artisan shops. The market sprawls out from the main square through myriad lanes and in mid-June was home to many hundreds of stalls. It was a great market and highly recommended.

In a previous article, I mentioned the butter-drenched caramelised pastry specialty of Brittany called Kouign-Amann. In the main square, Boulangerie ‘Pâtisserie & Gourmandise Et Sucre Grain‘ had recently been voted to have produced the best Kouign-Amann in Brittany. We had to seek it out!

Making a very early start we headed directly to the famed pâtisserie, managed to beat the crowd, and secured a supply for our next few days. Who knows if they were the best or not, they were in any case simultaneously wonderful and life-threatening.


We had read that Brittany was the wettest region of France and our last 4 days in the south-west demonstrated that to be abundantly true. After we visited the Vannes market it proceeded to variously drizzle and bucket down constantly for most of our time in the region. Be advised, take a brolly to Brittany even in summer, and stock up on pastries just in case of long wet days at home.

Have you been to the area between the Pink Granite coast to Vannes in the south of Brittany? Let us know in the comments below.


About the Contributor

Craig Healey

I’m a not-quite-retired business & technology consultant with a passion for the great outdoors and an even greater passion for the wonderful food and wine of France. Each region has a rich gastronomic culture which is always a delight to discover and never fails to tantalise your taste buds.

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