Welcome to My Place... Côtes d’Armor, Brittany

Michelle Mitchell shares her top tips for the best places to eat and visit on the northern French coast

Michelle Mitchell moved to Brittany to live with her partner and their dog.

Michelle Mitchell moved to Brittany to live with her partner and their dog.

 

Michelle Mitchell is originally from Kilcormac in Co Offaly. She moved to Binic- Ètables sur Mer on the Côtes d’Armor in Brittany in June 2016, following her French fiancé and her love for French food and nice beaches. She works as an English teacher, and lives with her fiancé and their dog Faolán in a cottage by the beach.

Where is the first place you always bring people to when they visit Côtes d’Armor?

The first place everyone wants to visit is the beach. We are blessed to have lots to choose from but the magnificent Plage des Godelins is just a short stroll from our home. What I love about this beach it’s natural attraction and the undisturbed beauty of it. There’s no bar strip, or bustling restaurants, so it’s just you and nature and usually a good book and a gourmet French beach picnic.

Plage des Godelins: ‘There’s no bar strip, or bustling restaurants.’
Plage des Godelins: ‘There’s no bar strip, or bustling restaurants.’

After that we usually take a short stroll around the lively port town of Binic, taking in more beaches and the quaint little gift stores full of local produce. Then we then stop off for a glass of refreshing local cidre (cider) or French wine. I recommend coming in summer if possible, as this is when people travel from all over France and afar travel to attend some of Binic’s rather unique annual festivals such as the Cod Festival, Folks and Blues Festival, or the Pirate Festival.

The top three things to do there, that don’t cost money, are ….

1. Beaches, beaches and more beaches… there are so many to choose from, but my top three are Plage des Godelins, Plage Palus and Plage de Saint Quay Portrieux.

2. The Les Chaos Du Gouët walking trail is simply stunning. Take a walk through the trees along the bubbling Gouët river and view nature untouched by man. For food, I recommend taking a baguette and eating it on one of the huge boulders that dominate the river.

Take a picnic for a walk along the bubbling Gouët river.
Take a picnic for a walk along the bubbling Gouët river.

3. Dinan is a traditional medieval village with stunning architecture, a fortress, a castle, and so much more to explore; this town is every history lover’s dream.

Where do you recommend for a meal eaten outdoors?

The French pride themselves on their culinary prowess, so you can’t really go wrong when choosing a place to eat, and almost every place has an outdoor seating area. La Tagarin (Ètables sur Mer) boasts a very charming garden area and is perfect for summer evening meals; they serve traditional French cuisine including foie gras and galette. La Bodega in Binic has great water views in their outdoor area, the food never disappoints (especially their fresh local mussels and fries), and the staff are friendly and will make you want to return again and again.

The historical centre of Dinan is worth a daytrip.
The historical centre of Dinan is worth a daytrip.

Where is the best place to get a sense of Côtes d’Armor’s place in history?

What’s great about Côtes d’Armor is that many historical buildings and monuments are still quite intact, which gives you a real sense of history when visiting. I would recommend visiting Abbaye De Beauport (Paimpol), Plage Bonaparte (Plouha), the historical centre of Dinan and Chateau de la Hunaudaye (also in Dinan).

What should visitors save room in their suitcase for after a visit to Côtes d’Armor?

Local cider, cheese and wine. If you somehow escaped a crêperie on your visit to Brittany you should take some crêpes and galettes home with you. Also, you’re not a true Breton until you own your own Breton bowl with your name on it.

If you’d like to share your little black book of places to visit where you live, please email your answers to the five questions above to abroad@irishtimes.com, including a brief description of what you do there and a photograph of yourself. We’d love to hear from you.

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