Brittany in 2022

Old May 11th, 2020, 11:55 AM
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Brittany in 2022

While staying at home I'm doing some planning for a future trip. We (family with daughters 15 and 18 when we travel) are planning a 2022 trip to London and France. One part of our France trip is going to be Brittany. It looks like a great place to visit. It's a big area, and since we plan on heading to the Loire Valley after Brittany and the variety of things to do in the area, we are looking at St. Malo/Dinan/Dinard area for 4-5 days. Which of these (or other nearby) locations would you base yourself in for 4-5 days. We'd like to just stay in one place and avoid too much moving around. However, if there were good enough reasons or locations not to be missed we could certainly rearrange our time. Thanks for the help.
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Old May 11th, 2020, 01:21 PM
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Out of three, I've only been to Dinan, which is a lovely picturesque town. But it can be little boring to teenagers after a day or two. Maybe bigger city like St Malo with beach might be better for them.
I'm sure Mont St Michel is on your list. If so, you would want to spend a night nearby to see MSM lit up at night.
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Old May 11th, 2020, 02:11 PM
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Unlike many people, I"m not a big fan of St-Malo, and I'm not sure it would hold the attention of 2 teenage girls for 4-5 days. I like both Dinan and Dinard, but given a choice, I'd probably hole up in Vannes for the 4-5 days and make sure to visit Rennes (if it's finished with the rampant construction there).
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Old May 11th, 2020, 02:12 PM
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Belinda can help if she sees this. I have looked at apartments in the area and there are some very nice ones for a family. We want to take the ferry over to Jersey which they might enjoy.
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Old May 11th, 2020, 03:56 PM
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You will find some relatively recent trip reports for Brittany with a little searching. My report is at
The Peabody Papers 2019, Paris and Brittany, Unmapped
Better, you should look for posts by Stu Dudley, our ultimate France tourist, who will email you his detailed Brittany and Normandy itineraries.
As to St-Malo, we did base there for 3 nights, but it is infact a bit boring after half a day, so we only used it for having hotels convenient to good restaurants and a TGV direct to Paris across from the car rental return point. We did enjoy Vannes, which could have taken more time than we allotted to it.
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Old May 11th, 2020, 04:58 PM
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I'm not a big fan of St Malo either. It was mostly destroyed in WWII, and re-built. IMO the architecture isn't as interesting as other cities in Brittany. I don't think the area around St Malo is as nice as others in the Dinan/St Malo area. We've based near Dinan on 2 trips for 2 weeks each, near the Pink Rocks area for 2 weeks, near Pont Aven for 3 week, and near Vannes for 2 weeks.

Attached is my Normandy & Brittany itinerary

Stu Dudley
Attached Files
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Old May 11th, 2020, 11:37 PM
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The inland towns between the two coasts are also interesting:


And there's a large garden worth a visit:

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Old May 12th, 2020, 06:02 AM
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Michael, where are your photos from, especially the garden? You've been to so many parts of France. I always enjoy your photos.

rmoore, I'm not a fan of Saint Malo but if it's your kids' first visit, they probably will enjoy a few hours there. I think it's only after you're seen more of France that you realize that Saint Malo isn't that interesting.

Dinan has an old center with half-timbered houses. It doesn't seem as much like a tourist town as St Malo. At the foot of the hill runs the Rance river, with a towpath that goes on for miles, nice for biking or walking. Lehon is a charming village about half an hour from Dinan on foot.

The green Michelin guide describes a drive around the Rance which we took (in the wrong direction so not as simple as it might have been) and we enjoyed the scenery.

Mont Saint-Michel is iconic. Definitely visit, and try to get glimpses of it from afar when you're driving along the coast.





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Old May 12th, 2020, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Coquelicot View Post
Michael, where are your photos from, especially the garden? You've been to so many parts of France. I always enjoy your photos.

rmoore, I'm not a fan of Saint Malo but if it's your kids' first visit, they probably will enjoy a few hours there. I think it's only after you're seen more of France that you realize that Saint Malo isn't that interesting.

Dinan has an old center with half-timbered houses. It doesn't seem as much like a tourist town as St Malo. At the foot of the hill runs the Rance river, with a towpath that goes on for miles, nice for biking or walking. Lehon is a charming village about half an hour from Dinan on foot.

The green Michelin guide describes a drive around the Rance which we took (in the wrong direction so not as simple as it might have been) and we enjoyed the scenery.

Mont Saint-Michel is iconic. Definitely visit, and try to get glimpses of it from afar when you're driving along the coast.
All the photos are identified. The garden is the Parc Floral de Haute Bretagne. It can be googled where it is also called the Parc Botanique de Haute Bretagne.
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Old May 12th, 2020, 07:32 AM
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Thank you all for the informative replies. Thanks Stu for your detailed TR. And, Michael for the pics (Where exactly were these taken?). I know everyone has their favorites (or not favorite places), but I think that with the Mont, a visit to St Malo, a visit to Dinan, possibly Dinard we have enough to keep us busy for 4-5 days. We would take a day in each location perhaps?? to see as much as possible. I'm going to have to do some more research on Vannes. It looks like an amazing place to spend a few days. What do the rest of you think???? Possibly 2-3 days in the Dinan/St. Malo area and 2-3 in Vannes? It has been many years since I visited France as a single young man (think moving every other day, sleeping in hostels, etc), but now with a family it's a different kind of trip. I did not have the opportunity to see Brittany in my previous travels, and want to experience as much as possible without going too crazy on this trip. All help and replies are welcome.
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Old May 12th, 2020, 07:34 AM
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Posting at the same time Michael....thanks
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Old May 12th, 2020, 08:22 AM
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It will not take a full day to visit any of the villages you've mentioned.

Dinan & Vannes are just 2 1/2 hrs apart - and you could visit Josselin on the way to Vannes. I will post links to my wife's Shutterfly books with photos of the Dinan area and also Vannes - as soon as she gets back from the grocery.

Stu Dudley
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Old May 12th, 2020, 10:19 AM
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Vannes, & Pont Aven/Concarneau
Click "Full Screen"
https://stududley.shutterfly.com/58

Normandy, & Brittany around Dinan
https://stududley.shutterfly.com/56

Gardens of Champ de Bataille, Chateau Maintenon, and Mont St Michel
https://stududley.shutterfly.com/57

IMO, 3-4 full days (4-5 nights) is the minimum in each area. We typically spend 2 weeks in a single area before we move on.

Stu Dudley




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Old May 12th, 2020, 10:42 AM
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To add to the identification issue. My pictures are generally labeled, and they also are geotagged, giving their specific location.
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Old May 12th, 2020, 11:20 AM
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Thank you both. Stu, the pics are great! However, a family of 4 from California on two teachers' salaries will not allow us to spend that much time in one area as this is a one time family trip. We're planning about a 3 1/2 week trip with about 2 of those weeks divided between London and Paris. We have about 10 days to see other parts of France. I'm thinking about dividing that time between the Loire Valley and Brittany. Maybe we could divide or Brittany time between the Dinan/St. Malo area and Vannes. Do you experts think that 3 days in each area is enough to get an decent overview? I know that a week or more in each wouldn't be enough but, like I said, this is a one time trip and we won't have the luxury of taking that much time with the number of places we want to see. Thanks again for the replies. -Robert
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Old May 12th, 2020, 12:06 PM
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Now you are getting into trip logistics. I assume you will be using a rental car in France, ending in Paris. It's too early to do any concrete planning, but here are a few things you should consider.

Instead of saying "We will stay here three nights" and then figuring out what to do, decide the things you want to do, then assign the days.

How will you get from London to Brittany/Loire? How will you handle closure days? We found Brittany a bit of a problem Sunday and Monday. Will the chateau you want to see as you traverse the Loire region be open the day you pass through? Will you want to see a sound and light display or a night tour? Be sure you are where it will be on that day. Even the opening hours for rental car agencies can affect your planning.

Of course, you have a year to plan, so you probably will be able to handle this.
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Old May 12th, 2020, 12:17 PM
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We are retired (IT industry) Californians with 0 kids - so we have lots of time to travel.

I think 3 full days in the Dinan & Vannes areas would be fine. Visit Josselin on the way from Dinan to Vannes so that the 2 3/4 hr drive could be broken up with a worthwhile "event". I think tours of the chateau at Josselin only happen in the afternoon - so plan accordingly. The town is worth visiting also. Don't miss the thatched cottages near Vannes - it will be a nice break from the cross timbered houses in Vannes & around Dinan. The farmer's market in Vannes is quite nice (see my itinerary for details). The one in Dinan is also worth a visit.. Read & re-read the paragraph titled Remember, which warns about visiting cities on Sundays & Mondays when many shops are closed. Most in Vannes will be closed, and I guess in Dinan also.

Make sure you REALLY like chateaux before you spend time in the Loire that you could have been spent somewhere else. It is a 3 3/4 hr drive from Vannes to Amboise. We love Chateaux (spent over 8 weeks in the Loire), but the countryside and cities there are not as interesting, IMO, as they are in Brittany (except for Chinon).

Gardens of Villandry and Chambord
https://stududley.shutterfly.com/27


Chateaux east of Chinon. Starts half-way through the book
https://stududley.shutterfly.com/24

Stu Dudley
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Old May 13th, 2020, 02:23 PM
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Thank you for the continued help.
AJ - Yes, we will have a car in France. We're thinking of taking the ferry from England. I was not aware about closures on Sun/Mon. Thank you for pointing that out.
Stu - Someday when we retire, I hope we have the time and finances to travel to Europe more often. Once again, thank you for sharing your wonderful photo books. What do you think of Amboise as a base for exploring the chateaux?
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Old May 13th, 2020, 02:53 PM
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Amboise would be a good choice if you want to stay in a city. We've stayed in Chenonceaux at Auberge du Bon Laboureur a couple of times.
https://www.bonlaboureur.com/en/loire-valley-hotels
The trick to visiting the top/crowded chateaux is to get there when they first open in the morning. Bon Laboureur is a short walk from Ch Chenonceau. Ch. Amboise does not get as crowded as Chenonceau.

Stu Dudley

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Old May 14th, 2020, 07:24 AM
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I'm going to add that I totally agree with him about the Loire. I live in France and take immeasurable pleasure in its beauty, but the Loire is a huge MEH for me. I can go 5 minutes down the road and find better scenery and food and wine than anywhere in the Loire. In fact, I don't have to go beyond my mailbox. The Loire is scenically stupendous if you've only got Brooklyn to compare it to.

Bon Laboureur is a good choice.
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