Western France Guide
It’s time for a return visit to the coast of western France but this time photographing French cuisine, its culture, and places of interest for tourism.
The trip started in September when we arrived at Saint-Malo, which is a fully walled city, Fort national just outside the city walls, it was built to protect the city from privateers. The city was founded in the 12th century on a close rocky island. It is worth exploring the many shops and cafes inside the city walls, and accommodation is very easy to find as their hotels both inside the city and on the mainland. Parking can be a problem and yet might have a long walk to your hotel.
Mont Saint Michel
Mont Saint Michel is one of the most famous and visited places in France: the stunning Mont Saint Michel island topped by its fabulous medieval abbey! Located at the frontier between Brittany and Normandy, the Mont Saint Michel is one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights and inspires awe in every visitor and pilgrim. It stands in the heart of a wide bay invaded by the highest tides in Europe. The ramparts at the base of the island were built to keep English forces out
Access to Mont Saint Michel is controlled by restricting access by cars and buses to Abbey. to get to the Abbey you either walk or catch the free shuttle bus.
Dinan is a fortified French city dating back to the middle ages, with its timber-framed architecture, cafes serving traditional dishes, and is full of medieval history, with a 13th-century castle and ramparts that encircle this well-preserved sanctuary where time has stood still.
You can explore through Dinan’s narrow cobbled streets, lined with pretty half-timber houses, and discover the Flamboyant Gothic St Malo church, the Basilica of St Saveur, and the 40m high Tour de l’Horloge (clock tower). Climb the 158 steps to the top for some fantastic views of the town and surrounding area
Quimper has quite a large historic centre and plenty to explore – a visit is recommended when you are in this part of Finistère. Your visit will almost certainly start in the large square in front of the cathedral, Place Saint-Corentin: this is the eastern end of the old town and within easy reach of all the most important attractions.
Most of the historic centre is pedestrianized making it very pleasant and safe to explore. You can walk down cobbled streets and paved squares in the historic old town, there also some very nice walks along the River Odet waterfront. Explore its cobbled streets and paved squares in the old town to the north of the River Odet
The walled town of Concarneau in the medieval Ville Close was the next stop; when you go through the main entrance, you will find many attractions, tourist shops, clothes shops, and restaurants, Concarneau port is also France’s third most important fishing port.
The Ville Close de Concarneau was the location for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter movie, so Diagon Alley is real with its ancient narrow streets and shops.
If you drive into Concarneau along the coast road it is easy to park next to the beach rather than in the town; you can then walk into town past the sea museum which is worth a visit.
Carnac stones is a megalithic site of ancient rocks around the village of Carnac in Brittany, great for landscape photography but keep in mind the opening hours, opens late and closes early, and it is still worth a visit.
The Carnac Stones consist of both single and rows of standing stones and stone circles. The leading group of stone alignments involves 12 converging rows of standing stones stretching more than a kilometer, many of these stones are 4m high and weigh 3.5 Tons.
La Rochelle has been a centre for fishing since the 12th century, with it’s famous Vieux Port (old harbour), with lots of cafes to relax in and enjoy French cuisine.
The port is Protected by the Chaîne tower and the Saint-Nicolas tower, After a walk on the quays, the visitor is invited to go along the beautiful narrow streets of the old town. It is packed with interesting mansions, Renaissance residences, and old timber-framed houses.
The main Renaissance building of the town hall dates from the 15th and the 16th centuries and boasts a surrounding wall of Flamboyant Gothic style.
The seaside town of Arcachon has four districts that get their names after the four seasons are indeed a spectacle to behold. Expectedly, these locations inspired my France travel photography. Interestingly, the winter town is celebrated for its relaxing and therapeutic atmosphere from the pine trees and has Royal connections; Queen Victoria’s daughter recuperated there after an accident in Canada. She made a full recovery and lived to 92.
The first stage of France’s West Coat Tour is now complete, but there is more to come, do I move onto the wine country of the Loire Valley or go to the Camargue.