A quiet afternoon at Cap Frehel


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Europe » France » Brittany » Frehel
August 31st 2013
Published: September 6th 2013
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We think we have overcome the hard bed and roll together fairly successfully getting a better night’s sleep.

This morning was a bit overcast with a misty look about the day but promise of better to come as the day wears on.

The plan today was to travel a much shorter distance by car out to the coast again after spending some time taking in the old city area of Dinan.

We had a challenge before we could leave the apartment this morning though and even Gretchen’s DIY skills couldn’t overcome the problem with the warped front door. For the last two nights we have had to push the settee across in front of the door because we couldn’t get the door to lock and in fact it was only just closed on the latch.

We knocked on Elisabeth’s door to see if she could give us some ideas of how to get the door to close but there was no one home so we decided to go out and hope everything would be still there when we get home.

Heading out we found a car park and started following the walking tour route of the old city which was included in the book our daughter Erin had given to us listing back country drives of France. This led us into a maze of narrow cobbled streets with half timbered buildings dating back to medieval times. Some of the buildings didn’t appear to have completely straight sides but that added to the charm of the area. All of the buildings were being used primarily for shops on the street level and living accommodation on the upper levels.

The route took us to the edge of the fortified wall of the city and the Jardin Anglais or English Garden where the view down to the port on the River Rance was panoramic. Although Dinan is about 20 odd kilometres from the sea it is navigable and there was a number of small boats and yachts moored or tied up below where we were standing.

Retracing our steps partially we came to the Dinan Basilica which was commenced in the 11th century but with a number of additions after that period. Interestingly the church was used to store hay after the French Revolution and was only restored to being a church in 1800.

The road down to the river, that we had looked over from the city walls, was steep and part way down we had a sudden thought that having come all the way down to take a look at the port close up would mean that we would have to climb back up again and we hoped there might be another route less steep for the return journey.



With very little flow in the murky water of the River Rance the bridge crossing to the residential side of the area made good reflections in the water, although with the sun not shining because of the overcast sky it would have looked better with the sun out.

We did find another route back up to the town and this was via Rue de Jerzual, a medieval cobbled street with buildings to match. The surface wasn’t that easy to walk on but at least it wasn’t as steep as the road would have been in getting back to the town.

It had been a worthwhile couple of hours and after we had seen all that was on the walking tour in the book we walked back to the car and set a route for Cap Frehel. The roads took us through more rural French countryside and small villages and eventually we ignored the GPS so that we got to go where we wanted to be which was again following a route from the Back roads book that we had used in Dinan.

Brittany is home to mussels, scallops and oysters and we had a desire to buy some oysters to cook for dinner if we could find a shop that sold them out of their shell. We thought by taking this trip out to the cape there should be some opportunities as we pass through some of the villages. However we were disappointed as the only shop we found was closed when we passed by and wasn’t going to reopen until 4.30pm by which time we would probably be home.

There was a slight breeze blowing as we reached the cape where we found a park on the side of the road and had a boot lunch while watching a small fleet of yachts sailing along the coast in a westerly direction.

With a tasty lunch finished we set off on a path that ran along the cliff face above a rocky coastline. The path wandered its way through a cover of heather and gorse! Yes, gorse, that terrible English plant bought to NZ to create hedges on farms. Except here it was only growing about 6 or 9 inches tall !Whether that was to do with the wind that perhaps screams across the cape in winter or perhaps it was a pygmy plant that France got while we got the 6 foot variety!

There were some people at the lighthouse that must have thought it was warm as there was a guy stripped down to just his trousers and a young woman with a bare midrift.Whilst it wasn’t cold, it wasn’t as warm as it had been. We have noticed that when there has been a cool weather change for a day or two as we have experienced from time to time the locals still seem to treat the day as if it is still summer temperatures. We think that they put their winter clothes away and don’t bring them back out until autumn officially starts just as it was when we arrived in Italy back in April when it got warm quite quickly after we arrived yet people still dressed for winter because summer didn’t officially start until sometime in May.

From the tip of the cape we looked across to another promontory about 5km away that we had passed before we stopped for lunch. On the point was a castle with a wide gap between the rocky promontory and the farmland with a swing bridge to walk across to get to the castle. Had we realised it was there when we passed by we might have taken a closer look but for now we will make do with what we can see from the cape.

As usual the GPS took us back home via another route and by the time we got home we felt like we had seen quite a lot of the countryside in the immediate area between Saint-Malo and Dinan. We did find a shop that was open selling shell fish including oysters but they were in their shell which seemed to be the only way they are sold here and we wanted the job of shucking them done for us.

The door had stayed closed while we had been out and everything was still there but we will need to do our thing with the settee again tonight as Elisabeth is still not there to ask her the secret to getting the door properly closed and locked.


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