Visit the Channel Harbours
Located on the eastern tip of the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy, this delightfully picturesque town is an active shellfish port notable for its pot-fishing industry and its mussels, widely known as ‘Barfleur blonds’. It is also ideal for beautiful cruises along the Calvados coast or out to the Channel Islands. Local houses are made of dressed stone, some of them dating back to the 17th century. The
Gatteville lighthouse which overlooks the port is the second tallest in France.
With its fine Breton traditions, Paimpol is a charming port on the Côte d’Armor and the starting point for the superb little island of Bréhat (known for a variety of green beans called ‘coco’). Paimpol also boasts 16th-century houses and a sea-side abbey (Abbaye de Beauport). Above all, it was once the port of call for the Newfoundland fishing fleets (from the 15th century onward) and it is still reminiscent to that period with its wonderful sailing vessels moored alongside the modern yachts.
With its authentic setting, Tréguier
was home to the great 19th-century philosopher Ernest Renan. This port in the
Trégor-Goëlo area encapsulates all the wonderful features of Brittany. Nestled in the Jaudy estuary, the deep-water marina is influenced by tides and still boasts ancient architectural vestiges (from the 10th, 15th, and 17th centuries) including ship-builders’ half-timbered houses and a remarkable religious complex (Saint-Tugdual Cathedral with its 60-meter-high bell tower and cloister). Tréguier also boasts the tomb of a venerated Breton saint, Saint Yves. All
around are typical landscapes with strands (pebble beaches) where people
harvest algae to use as fertilizer or as a culinary ingredient.
In the same spirit, other coastal areas around France offer experiences worthwhile, including the Atlantic and the Mediterranean ports.