Where to best base our Brittany travels?

Jun 14th, 2019, 07:36 AM
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Where to best base our Brittany travels?

I've read the various threads re/ Brittany itineraries and looked at the photos and they have been so helpful! Can't wait for StuDudley to come back from his travels so I can read his notes! FrenchMystique and Gardyloo - you are awesome. We will be three ladies of a certain age coming to Brittany in Spring 2020 (or Fall 2020). Based on what I've read here, we will fly from Boston to Paris, take the train to Rennes and do an overnight there before picking up a rental car. If I survived getting out of the Edinburgh airport in a rental a few years back while construction was going on, I figure I can navigate Rennes! (Though I did go around one circle three times before I could figure out which exit to take. But at least I was laughing the whole time.) I love all the itineraries I've read and we'll try to a little bit of everything - visit some interior locations and seaside. Since we are not fans of staying a night here, two nights there, we want to pick two main bases - one north and one south. Do you all agree that Dinan and Concarneau or Pont Aven would make good bases? We will probably take 8 or 9 days to allow for travel time and will aim for rentals rather than hotels. It's early I know, but I love to read and plan. Thanks in advance for your advice!
noratravel is offline  
Jun 14th, 2019, 10:35 AM
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Rennes was an absolute mess when I was there last year, because they are building a new metro line and the train station was in shambles. This too shall pass. Once you get away from the station, no problem.

The towns you have mentioned are all quite small. If you are satisfied with small towns that roll in the sidewalk at 7pm (and close all the restaurants by 9pm), no problem. If you want to be out a bit more in the evening, you might want to be based in bigger cities.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 14th, 2019, 12:20 PM
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Thanks! Duly noted.
noratravel is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 06:21 AM
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Saint Malo on the north coast, or Quimper / Vannes on the south coast could be good bases as well if you look for some larger places. But Dinan and Concarneau are pleasant too in spring.
shamouel is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 08:20 AM
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I would try to pick up a car in St. Malo versus Rennes -for the reason kerouac mentioned and I find it just hard in general as a city for cars, and I would prefer to maybe not even get a car coming into St Malo and just basing there until you need/want a car to travel to base 2. This also avoids driving just coming off a transatlantic flight. For us, Dinan is too small. Near St Malo (if that is too big) we love Dinard. It has a great market lots more restaurants but isn't quite as big a city as St Malo. If you arrive at St. Malo you can either take a cab to Dinard (only 8 miles) or if you decide to get the car at St Malo then you only have a short distance to drive.

I agree with shamouel that Vannes would be a great southernly base. Quimper or even Brest are good if you want to explore the far reaches but they can be slow driving coming and going.
jpie is online now  
Jun 15th, 2019, 08:26 AM
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We returned an Avis car to their Quimper office, which is next door to the train station (from which there's direct TGV service to Paris.) It couldn't have been more convenient.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 15th, 2019, 08:55 AM
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Also, I am probably pointing out the obvious, but you will likely have more choice of direct/no change trains if you leave and return to Montparnasse than CDG. You don't mention wanting to spend any time in Paris but sometimes given flight schedules and rail schedules it may work out better to use Montparnasse. Otherwise, places like St. Malo, Quimper etc. may have you changing in Rennes to get to CDG.
jpie is online now  
Jun 15th, 2019, 09:37 AM
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Last fall, we spent two nights in Dinan and loved it. Our short visit included Normandy and a base in Bayeux, also a great choice for us. Here is our trip report if interested: Brittany/Normandy/D-Day 4 nights. October
whitehall is online now  
Jun 15th, 2019, 11:59 AM
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For me, Dinan is too small (but lovely), St-Malo is too crowded and popular, and Dinard is just right. Vannes is also a big favorite of mine.
StCirq is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 06:41 PM
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Thanks all for the advice! Will look at train options and explore Dinard & Vannes. I like the idea of coming into St Malo by train. I thought I read earlier that getting to Montparnesse from CDG was difficult? Oh so much to explore.
noratravel is offline  
Jun 15th, 2019, 08:38 PM
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Getting to Montparnasse is not really difficult from CDG especially now that the taxis have a set price from airports to the left bank of €55 I would probably just take a taxi if you decide to leave from there.

In Dinard we like the little "suburb" of St Enogat which is less busy than right in town and easier to park. There is a fancy Novotel Thalasso there but also a very simple hotel like the Hôtel Améthyste near the beach. Take a look at those at least for location and that might give you an idea of some locations that are near Dinard but not right in the center (easier to park).


jpie is online now  
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