Brittany With Kids: Saint Malo and Dinan

brittany-with-kids

Early November, our family visited the Brittany (or Bretagne in French or Breizh in Breton) region of France. We decided we would go for a long weekend and would start our visit in Saint-Malo.

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The city walls next to the ocean. Check out how pretty that ocean looks!

Just a warning, this post is going to be fairly picture heavy… There’s a chance that Brittany is one of the most beautiful regions in France. We especially loved seeing the ocean again!

Our trip was far from perfect though; there was a good amount of rain with our visit being in November and some things were closed for the off-season. Overall though, it was great and I’d love to go back to the region again someday!

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So excited to be at the beach

Saint-Malo

The drive from Paris to Saint-Malo is supposed to be 4 hours but I think it took us about 5 once we factored in stopping for dinner. We left on a Wednesday afternoon (during naptime) and the drive was beautiful.

We stayed at Hotel Ajoncs d’Or inside the old city walls for 2 nights. The hotel was seriously amazing. The staff was super friendly and our room was perfect for our family. It had a nice double bed for Aaron and I, a single bed for London, and plenty of space to set up Adeline’s travel crib.

On Thursday, we woke up to pouring rain. We had a fantastic breakfast with crepes, fruit, fresh bread, eggs, and hot chocolate at the hotel and then headed out into the rain. Originally, we had wanted to spend our morning between the Maritime Museum and the beach but the weather was so finicky that by the time we made it over to the museum, it was closing for lunch. We figured we would try and go back the next day and headed down to the ocean instead.

We had a great time finding seashells and the girls loved splashing in the {empty} tidepools.

That afternoon, we drove to Fort la Latte, a fort almost an hour away situated on some beautiful cliffs with a nearby lighthouse.

The fort was built in the mid 1300’s and offers a clear view of the English Channel and Brittany’s Emerald Coast.

Unfortunately, the off season hours got us again. During the low season, the fort is only open on Saturday, Sundays, and public holidays. Luckily, there was a nice hiking trail nearby that we had talked about going on anyway depending on time and the weather. The rain had stopped so we decided to make the best of it and go for a nice walk. The hike took us along the coast within viewing of the fort and also the lighthouse on the next cliff over. We were able to walk all the way down to the gates of the castle and got to at least see the outside.

The whole hike had gorgeous views. It was really beautiful and I’m so glad the rain stopped long enough for us to enjoy this. Afterwards, we drove over to the lighthouse (about a 10 minute drive), but by then it was pouring and everyone was tired so we admired it from our car before heading back to Saint-Malo.

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We saw a rainbow on our way back! How pretty is that?!

Our second day in Saint Malo started off very well with nice weather and a walk on the city’s ramparts. The views were fantastic from up there and it was a nice, safe place for our girls to run around.

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Checking out the carousel from the city walls. 

Saint-Malo had an interesting past of French privateers and even pirates, and we were interested in learning more at the museum that morning. But again, we were out of luck as the museum was closed for the holiday (Armistice Day).

So instead, we headed back down to the beach to play (which honestly is what our girls most wanted to do anyway).

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Lots of splashing. Good thing we got our littlest rainboots right before our trip!

We found plenty more seashells and had a lot of fun just being near the ocean. Even though it was cold and cloudy, it was still enjoyable. It was hard to convince the girls to leave when we finally had to go.

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…And more splashing

We then checked out of our hotel and headed to Dinan, a small village nearby on the Rance river. During the summer, one can take a ferry from Saint Malo to Dinan going up the river. By car, Dinan was about 40 minutes away.

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Dinan

We had a very nice lunch at a creperie and then took the girls for a walk through the medieval part of town with all the charming half-timbered houses. We walked all the way down to the river and then back up again and just enjoyed the nice weather and quaint town.

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The last thing we did that afternoon before heading to our next place in Vannes, was touring the city’s castle. It was a pretty cool castle and offered fantastic views of the city from the top of it.

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View from the top of the castle

Some Final Thoughts:

  • Visiting in November was less crowded, cheaper, and very beautiful, although also very wet.
  • Going in the off-season definitely should have included more planning on our end as far as what would still be open and when.
  • Mont Saint Michel is only an hour away. We were lucky enough to visit it our first summer here, but it would definitely be a great day trip from Saint-Malo as well.
  • Saint Malo seems like a great homebase for exploring Northern Brittany. Given the opportunity, we would love to visit again in the Spring or Summer!

 

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3 thoughts on “Brittany With Kids: Saint Malo and Dinan

  1. This place is gorgeous! You caught such stunning views, and your kids really look like they’re loving all of the adventures. Well, I’m sure water splashing helps. Your pictures are stunning as always 🙂

    Like

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