Autumn Trip to Brittany.

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As usual at the end of September, I take myself off in the Panther to explore a part of France where I've never been before. This year I decided to take a look at the St. Malo, Dinard, Dinan area and also take in St. Michael's Mount, which is just over the border in Normandy. I stayed in a small village in the Rance Valley, which was 5 kms from Dinan. The distance from Calais was 318 miles, 140 miles further than the distance we travelled to Villerville for the Honfleur trip, but by using the autoroutes and "pressing on a bit" the return journey to Calais only took 5 hours 10 minutes. I left the hotel at 9:30 and caught the 15:00 tunnel train. That included a half hour stop, so the journey's not too odious.

The medieval towns of Dinan, Fourgeres, and Vitre were well worth the visit and in spite of the tourists Mont St Michael is a must. I would not want to go to any of these places at a more popular time though. However, the feature of the region that I enjoyed most was the valley of the Rance estuary.

I've identified several suitable hotels for a future Panther trip, should anyone be interested. It seems quite a long way from Calais for a five day trip, but if you compare travelling time rather than mileage to the Vianden and Nurburg trips, it's not too bad and by comparison the motoring is easier. At first glance the the ferries from Plymouth or Portsmouth to St Malo look attractive, but unfortunately they are more expensive and take more time. The overnight sailings would be ideal but they are even more expensive. Here's a few pictures to whet your appetite.

Approaching Mont St. Michael

What a sight!

Left of the causeway - coaches park here when the tide is out

The roofs belong to shops and restaurants within the walls

It was raining! in Dinan

Typical Dinan street 


The original bridge over the Rance in Dinan port

Dinan Port - many quayside restaurants

New "Best Western Hotel" nice place to stay but not cheap

Another view of Dinan port

Combourg Chateau 24 kms from Dinan

The formidable walls of Fourgeres Chateau

The mighty ramparts of St. Malo

View of the Rance river

Another aspect of the same spot

Further down river

Locks and barrages control the flow

View from a hotel on the banks of the Rance - only 6 rooms though!

Another view from the same spot - it was getting quite late when this was taken, so poor light 

Another view from the same hotel's terrace

My favourite medieval town - Vitre

Now that's what you call a castle! - sorry chateau

It's an Auberge - but not for us I think in spite of the van outside

Beautiful old cobbled streets of higgledy-piggledy houses

More of the same

and yet more

I'll say it again - that's a chateau!


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