We are in Cap Fréhel, the last of our stops in Brittany for this season. We’d first made a visit here last year on a day trip from Rennes, seeking relief from a heat wave. What a glorious escape that was. The bracing morning mist had hovered over the heathery hills, the ocean barely perceptible below, to lift with clear sunshine and a refreshing breeze by noon. Inland, the hamlets of granite Breton houses with blue shutters and hollyhocks growing madly in every crevice emanated cool calm.
So we had to return. And it turns out last August was exceptionally hot, and this year it has been exceptionally cloudy and rainy.
Nevertheless, we’ve had enough lovely weather to spend a lot of time walking on those heathery hills. On the inclement days, we’ve visited historic towns like Lamballe and Moncontour. We drove to Rennes, our old haunt from last summer, and saw our friends Ruth and John. And now the weather forecast is in the 70s F and sunny for days on end.
This part of Brittany, the Cote d’Armor, is significantly more popular than the more remote Crozon Peninsula and southern Finistere regions. Parisians occupy the Belle Epoque resort towns of St. Lunaire and Saint Briac sur Mer (you can tell they are Parisians because unlike the Bretons they don’t greet you with a civil “bonjour”). August is also peak season, which accounts for local beach parking lots being full by mid-morning. We don’t find the tourist presence overwhelming, however. Compared to even Cannon Beach in Oregon, it’s pretty quiet around here.
Mornings I am often on the Sentier des Douaniers, part of the afore-mentioned GR34 path along the entire Breton coast. It’s a couple of minutes’ walk from our rental, and it takes me to the remnants of one of the old quarries that hauled out the Grès Rose stone, responsible for the pinkish hue of the area houses.
Generally speaking, we daily visit a point of interest then stop by a market and a café before coming home for a late lunch and down time before our late afternoon picturesque walk. Yesterday was hot — 76F — enough for a long day at the beach in my wetsuit getting tossed by the waves.
If that’s not enough, there’s always the option of an evening drive down back roads and a stop at the local microbrewery.
It’s difficult to imagine having had a more perfect summer in France.