part one - cancale to mont saint michel

 

 

I travel logo

For Mobile Home or Camping Breaks

contact

  I. Travel

 01534 631390

your Channel Islands French Connection

www.itravel.co.je

 

 

 

This must be one of the most scenic of drives with so much beauty, history and tradition that we cannot even attempt to describe it all.  This impressive  expanse of coast can be easily negotiated by car.  The actual bay area would appear to start with Cancale but certain people would include Saint Malo, followed by Saint Columb as the starting point.

 

For really leisurely travel you can also travel around the bay on horseback see http://www.randocheval.com/Programmes/ch103-bretagne.htm

Cancale

 

The fishing port of Cancale is famous for its multitude of restaurants serving local oysters, fruits de mer  and angoustines, crabs and lobsters.. The town is visited by people from all over France who delight in the seafood on offer.  The town of Cancale descends a hill from the town centre with its church and square with beautiful bronze statue of oyster workers which is a part of an impressive fountain.  The port and seafront is extensive and has countless restaurants!  Cancale has had for many years a thriving oyster producing industry and the beds run along the shore.  Visit the Oyster Museum to find out the story of Cancale and  the oyster.

Cancale

Saint Meloir des Ondes

 

This beautiful little town stretches from inland out to the water. One of its attractions is the the glassworks and studio of Martine Durand Gasselin. Martine's range of beautiful glass ornaments glasses, vases, paperweights etc is extensive.  The colours are stunning.

 

Martine - trained in locations such as Copenhagen and Sweden - knows her craft thoroughly and has exhibited in major exhibitions in Europe and such far away places as Japan.   Her work was on show during  the Victor Hugo Bicenteniary and Liberation Day in Guernsey. She now employs several other "Verriers" - Glass Makers - to assist in producing the beautiful and original glass pieces she sells.

 

Apart from admiring the glass, you can actually participate and learn the art of glass blowing with "stages" courses available from aa quarter of an hour to  a full hour.  

There are also longer courses. 

 

The apprentice has the fun of shaping ornaments and actually blowing the glass - all under the supervision of the Glass Blower pictured here.    

 

To find out more about Martine go to http://www.idverre.net/durand-gasselin/  

  

Many Channel Islanders know about Karting des Nielles which is actually situated fairly close to Saint Benoit des Ondes but comes under the St Meloir des Ondes area.

 

The Go Kart Club offers a full sized track for adults, quad biking and a children's kart and quad bike track. This is great fun for the family and the children whiz around with confidence quite quickly. 

Glass being blown

Some of Martine Durrand Gasselin's beautiful glass

Saint Benoit des Ondes

 

This pretty village is very close to Saint Meloir and overlooks the bay area and the sand dunes which stretch for miles and are reminiscent of St. Ouen's Bay in Jersey but on a huge scale.

 

Hirel

 

Continuing around the day Hirel has a wonderful sandy beach.  In common with the next town around the bay it has thatched cottages - a particularly beautiful example of one is on the right.  This town has a busy cockle industry.

 

Les Viviers sur Mer

 

Again this town borders the long stretch of sandy beach.  Les Viviers sur Mer has a busy  fish business,  mussels being farmed in abundance.  Each year the area holds a mussel festival held on the last weekend in July when masses of mussels are consumed and there is a variety of entertainment.

Turn inland through the town and going towards Mont Dol you will be  see more thatched cottages and there is almost an English Village feel with a stream with water lilies growing in the water.

Visit La Maison de la Baie which is devoted to the history of the area.

 

 

Thatched cottage

Cherrueix 

describes itself as "Capitale de Chars à Voille" and along with Hirel the beach is alive with action and the colours of the Sand Yacht sails. When it says Sand Yacht Capital it means what it says and is famous throughout the world. 

The Cherrueix Grand Prix attracts contestants from everywhere.

The beach side area of the town is charming with thatched cottages and beachside restaurant plus a children's beachside play area.

Cherruix beach

Mont Dol

 

Travelling along the bay from Les Viviers sur Mer and Cherrueix you will see Mont Dol towering on the inland side as Mont Saint Michel stands out in the distance on the sea side.

 

To reach this spectacular village  means going slightly inland. 

 

The village is at the foot of the Mont Dol which was historically the site of a battle between the Devil and Saint Michael. It is worth driving up to the summit as the views are spectacular. You will also be rewarded by seeing the Capelle Notre-Dame de l’Espérance, la Tour Notre-Dame, pictured right and and an old mill.  There is also le rocher des " griffes du Diable "which means the rock formation which it is said was made by the Devil's claw mark during his fight with St Michael. It is possible to climb to the top of La Tour Notre-Dame and enjoy the views of the bay and far off Mont Saint Michel.

 

Mont Dol street

Saint Broladre

 

This little village has an area that is unique in Europe and is the equivalent of an European corral reef although it is not made of corral and is visible on extremely low tides.  The saint to whom the village is dedicated and named from is St Brelade! 

 

 

Saint Marcan

 

Apart from being another delightful village, Saint Marcan has its own attraction - Le Petit Mont Saint Michel.  This is a miniature version of the original and can be seen whilst walking along a cliff top walking area. There are other attractions at the venue including pedal cars,  bouncy castles, trampolines and other games.  There are also "fun bikes" to ride such as penny-farthings. Le Petit Mont Saint Michel  is open at weekends and public holidays during April,  May, June and September and open every day in July and August.

 

 

Roz sur Couesnon

 

The Couesnon is the river that runs through the immediate are and which feeds a number of canals.

The town descends a hill with the town centre at the top.  There is a garden with a view (Panorama) with amazing views such as that left taken from Roz sur Couesnon which shows Mont Saint Michel in the distance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roz sur Couesnon view of Mont Saint Michel from Panorama

Saint Georges de Gréhaigne

 

 

The town is the site of the Grotte de Notre Dame de la Liberation. 

The grotto was built as a replica of the grotto at Lourdes. We gather that this was built in 1947 as the locals had committed themselves to this should they escape the consequences of the battle between the Americans and Germans.

 

 

 

 

 

Grotte de Notre Dame de la Liberation

Pontorson

 

is in  Normandy and  is really a town as opposed to the villages that make up the bay between Cancalle and Pontorson. 

 

Full of shops and restaurants, the town has much to offer to the shopper.  There are numerous restaurants.

 

Entering Pontorson from the western entrance of the Route de la Baie means crossing the River Couesnon, pictured right. 

 

 

 

 

The bridge over the Couesnon

Mont St Michel

 

The famous Mont Saint Michel is on the coast and is the focal point of the bay. The nearby town has a huge number of hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions which commence with a  Reptile Farm so there is plenty to do apart from climbing up to the top of Mont Saint Michel. The climb is well worth while and the little streets going up to the top are magical and the views from Mont St. Michel are amazing.  It is a busy place with shops and restaurants inside its walls.  Work is being undertaken to return the Mount to its original state  -  totally surrounded with water and no causeway.

 

 

 

Le Mont Saint Michel

 

Alligator at Alligator BayOn the way to Mont St Michel stop off so that the children can visit Alligator Bay.

Not as horrific as you would suppose!  Apart from the alligators, be amused by the giant tortoises and the many reptiles which can be viewed in the reptile house - sometimes from inside their tanks! 

 

Lizard