I think it’s rare to have so many days of good weather in a row in Bretagne in the north west of France. The weather can be a lot like the UK and so we set out to make good use of it.
First we arrived in Saint-Cast-le-Guildo, a quiet little coastal town in December, but in summer it is packed with people like most places around here. There were plenty of small boats tucked away on one side of the beach and nice little houses (some not so little) perched on the surrounding sea cliffs.
In town we found a nice pâtisserie called À la Belle Meunière to buy some mini Christmas bûches (a French Christmas cake designed like a log) and a local specialty cake called Castin with a meringue outside and soft inside.
If you’re looking for a place for lunch La Grande Brasserie had reasonable prices and great food. Seafood is always very fresh in Bretagne.
From here we drove further west through the countryside to Fort la Latte. The coast of the English Channel is lined with all sorts of fortifications and defences from the days when the French and English fought with each other (using swords and ships that is – I think they mainly just use words now). Fort la Latte is a well preserved example of one of those fortifications designed to defend against land and sea based attacks (see also Saint-Malo). Apparently there was once a group of 60 defending the keep against an attack of 6,000.
The price was €5.50 to enter the castle grounds which I think is worth it even if you’ve seen a hundred ruined castles. You enter across the first working drawbridge where you can climb up on the ramparts and look on at the next set of obstacles for attackers. There’s an old catapult, a battering ram (literally) and some gardens before you cross the 2nd drawbridge into the main grounds.
Inside you can explore some buildings, the sea facing defences where canons were setup and there’s also a little canonball furnace from 1743. Climbing the keep rewards you with great views from the castle gardens all the way out west to Cap Fréhel. There’s also a timeline inside the keep explaining what was happening in the fort, the monarchy and the era at the time.
On a good day it’s worth taking the long way back to the carpark via the coastal cliffs. The track that you walk along (the Grand Randonée 34) can actually be used to walk all 1,700km around the coast of Bretange and forms part of the larger European 9 track that goes from Russia to Portugal. It’s about an hour to walk to Cap Fréhel lighthouse.
Cap Fréhel has an old lighthouse and a restaurant taking advantage of the sea views. There was a huge amount of people there when we arrived (I wasn’t really sure where they all came from!?) In winter it’s nice because people are allowed to bring their dogs along to appreciate the view. It’s kind of nice that there don’t have to be fences all over the cliffs here because you are free to climb out as far as you like (or dare).