Appetite for Adventure: Brittany Serves Up a Foodie Road Trip

Appetite for Adventure: Brittany Serves Up a Foodie Road Trip

Set sail across the Channel for a food-focused mini-break. Linger over le petit déjeuner in Dinan, lunch in Saint-Lunaire and dinner at Rennes’ hottest new bistro, on a road trip along France’s north-west coast.

In partnership with

choice for a food-focused French road trip? It’s a route
through rugged Brittany. This windswept region in the
country’s north-west is the perfect destination at which to get
behind the wheel – all meandering, sea-hugging roads, dramatic
granite coastlines and a bistro culture fuelled by the peninsula’s
deep pride in its local produce.

Surrounded by the sea on three fronts, Brittany puts its coastal
location to good use in the kitchen, with a local cuisine of
seafood-focused favourites, shaped by whatever arrives daily on the
fishing boats. Everywhere from chic seaside towns to the storied
streets of Dinard and Rennes, you’ll find oysters for starters,
langoustines for main, and – if you have room for pudding – French
patisserie classics alongside the area’s beloved crepes. All washed
down with Brittany cidre, obviously.

A foodie road trip through Brittany, France

A boat offshore in Cancale, Brittany
Saint-Malo, Brittany, France

A boat on the Emerald Coast, left, and the town of

Day 1: Saint-Malo to Saint-Lunaire

Let’s start with le petit déjeuner. Disembarking at Saint-Malo,
we’re heading straight for elegant Saint-Lunaire. Buckle up and hit
the road for the half-hour’s drive along the coastline, beating the
queues for an early breakfast at the pastel-hued patisserie of
hotel Le
Nessay Saint-Briac

An eclectic mix of neo-Breton architecture and Victorian frills,
Saint-Lunaire’s boho spirit – fuelled by its artsy, creative
community – is its best-kept secret. When you roll into town, keep
an eye out for Sooo Vintage, a flea market frequented by dreamers and
free-wheelers seeking Tiffany lamps and exquisite Epstein cabinets
with which to furnish their chichi seaside stays.

Tonight, you’ll be bedding down in the diminutive Comète, so check in early and stay for lunch. A
seashell’s throw from the beach, this exceptional townhouse hotel
runs a smart bistro serving a seafood-led menu.

As afternoon arrives, pull on some boots for coastal clambering
on the GR34 – a breezy, scenic route that connects the Emerald
Coast’s many fishing enclaves. Or, if you’re more inclined to stay
still on the sand, head to the beachside eco-spa L’île for
cedarwood sauna soaks and open-air massages within earshot of the

Saint-Lunaire, Brittany, France
The Rance Valley, Brittany, France

Saint-Luniare, left, and the Rance. | Photo credit: Thibault
Poriel, Bernard Begne.

Day 2: Saint-Lunaire to Rennes

Today, your itinerary follows the sinuous path of the beautiful
Rance River. Bid au revoir to Saint-Lunaire and make the 30-minute
drive through the verdant river valley to the silver-stone-turreted
town of Dinan, a picturesque medieval settlement home to a plethora
of art galleries and craft shops. Stroll through the Hobbit-esque
cobbled streets in search of a devilishly decadent breakfast.
Kouign-amann cake is a Breton speciality – a layered, flaky pastry
bake that makes for a moreish morning snack. Because who doesn’t
want 30 per cent of their breakfast to be butter-based? The best in
town are found at Harmonika. Don’t miss perusing the regional produce on
offer at the quirky independent shops dotted across town, either.
Our favourites include Le Local grocery store and the restaurant D’Ici Delà, where
you can pick up home-cooked produce as a savoury souvenir.

Suitably fuelled up, it’s time to jump aboard a paddleboard.
Potter your way along the expansive Rance estuary for a sun-soaked
overwater yoga session. Practise your downward dog or simply
soak up the views as you drift past diminutive fishing villages,
ancient castles and the chocolate-box green banks.

The historic architecture of Rennes, in France
A Renne market

Rennes’ architecture, left, and a city market. | Photo
credit: Bestjobers, Carolina Ferrer.

Back on dry land, you’ll hop back in the car to head towards
unconventional Rennes, Brittany’s capital. This city is a maze of
half-timbered architecture, historic streets, distinctive street
art and plenty of taverns that serve up some of northern France’s
best bistronomy. Start with a taste of the local street-food
favourite, galette-saucisse – a sausage wrapped in a buckwheat
pancake. Find one at the 400-year-old Marché des Lices food market,
the city’s largest.

Rennes’ creative spirit is made material in its eclectic
architecture. Explore on foot the landmark works of Georges Maillol
and Jean Nouvel, or take a car out to the south of the city to
visit Château des Pères and ogle the recently build and
uber-futuristic “tree hotel” (the hotel’s La Table des Pères is
also one of the city’s best restaurants).

Rennes waterway, Brittany, France
Rennes architecture

Summer in Rennes, left, and the city’s electic architecture.
| Photo credit: C Noe.

When evening arrives, we’re either heading to one of the city’s
legendary music festivals (check the line-ups for Les Trans
, Rock’n Solex and Le Grand
) or booking a table at Pierre
Restaurant de Copains
, a fresh new spot on Rue Nantaise, opened
by France’s popular Top Chef finalist Pierre Eon. On a road famed
for its gourmet offering, the menu stands out, offering a revived
take on seafood favourites. Think pollack ceviche, fresh Breton
sardines, a chilli-spiked tuna steak and, to finish, a minimalist
cheeseboard including Timanoix and Abbaye de Timadeuc. Bon

Dinner done, we’ll be rolling back through Rennes to find a bed
for the night at the boutique Hôtel Le Magic

A very Brittany breakfast of oysters, bread and meats

A regional feast, left, and oysters at Cancale. | Photo
credit: Bestjobers, Tommaso Cantelli.

Day 3: Rennes to Saint-Malo

Ready for your final adventures? After a leisurely brunch at
Oeuf La Crêperie
(mini ​​galettes-saucisses for us, please), you’ll hit the road
once more, suitably satiated, and with the satnav set for Cancale,
a quaint seaside resort 30 minutes’ drive away. The fisherman’s
commune is worth the detour for the town’s oyster farms. Browse the
seafood stalls that pepper the shingle shoreline, then order a
lunch of sea-fresh Pied de Cheval wild oysters – the nutty taste is
distinctively different to that of the more conventional molluscs
on the menu.

It’s just a quick hop across the Pointe de la Briantais to get
back to Saint-Malo, where your ferry awaits. Leave plenty of time
to swing by Bordier Creameries for a few souvenir sticks of
the region’s signature produce: Jean-Yves Bordier’s traditionally
made butter pats are infused with smoked salt, Szechuan pepper and
yuzu, resulting in a suitably off-beat alternative to the classic.
Next door, you’ll find Bistro Autour du Beurre, our final stop on this
foodie tour. Sit down for a butter-rich dinner, before heading back
to the ferry, bidding a final au revoir to the Emerald Coast.

How to get there

Jump aboard Brittany Ferries for your voyage across the
channel. With various direct sailings a day from Poole, Plymouth
and Portsmouth, you’ll arrive in Saint-Malo in under three hours.
Pack your Breton stripes and get ready to feast on Brittany’s
finest fare.

The Lowdown

Plot your own Brittany roadtrip at

Discover More
Destination Inspiration: Saint-Malo, Brittany, France