On the road

Department of Côtes-d'Armor (22)

Region Brittany.
Population: 596,518, spread over 27 cantons and 348 communes.
Prefecture: Saint-Brieuc (Pop: 43,710)
Sub-prefectures: Dinan, Guingamp, Lannion
Specialities: in addition to the Breton pancakes and galettes, the Bay of Saint-Brieuc has the largest natural deposit of scallops in France with 150,000 hectares. Gavotte, kouign-amann, chocard of Yffiniac, Plancoët mineral water, cider...
Festivals: Art Rock Festival (Saint-Brieuc) since 1983, Bobital Festival (Bobital) since 2009, Folk N Blues (Binic)
Tourist sites: Poumanc'h and the pink granite coast, the bay of Saint-Brieuc, Cap Fréhel, Cap d'Erquy.
Economy: tourism (7,300 direct jobs and 2,990 companies, 144 million € invested in 2012). The Côtes-d'Armor is ranked among the top 20 French departments. The agri-food and fishing industries (2nd largest department in France with 830 establishments and 14,900 employees). Energy sector (the future offshore wind farm in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc will produce 8.3 pc of Brittany's consumption from 2022).
Sport: 8 elite clubs; En Avant Guingamp (football); Saint-Brieuc Côtes-d'Armor Volley-Ball (volleyball); HC Dinan Quévert Team Cordon (rink hockey); Stade Ploufraganais (rink hockey); Roller Armor Club Saint-Brieuc (rink hockey); Côtes-d'Armor Cyclisme (cycling).

Welcome to Côtes-d'Armor!
Ploumanac'h, Paimpol, the island of Bréhat, the bay of Saint-Brieuc, the lake of Guerlédan, Cape Fréhel, the valley of the Rance... Whether you love the sea, nature or culture and history, the department is rich in varied and surprising heritage.
Its seafront stretches for almost 350 km, with 17 commercial and pleasure ports and as many different landscapes. With its breathtaking cliffs, its fine sandy beaches, its islands, its lakes and its granite chaos, the Côtes d'Armor are enchanting, whether you are walking along the customs path, the famous GR34, or diving into an emerald sea. Attracted by the land, one takes the direction of the wooded areas, with an exceptional fauna and flora. The mysterious is always present, in inner Brittany, to meet the granite giants.
The nature is everywhere conducive to sporting activities, for the initiated and also the novice: sailing, football, paddle, hiking, horse riding, mountain biking...
Whatever their size, the towns have character: Dinan, Moncontour or Lamballe maintain their heritage in order to pass on their history.
The department is also rich in delicacies, with many local specialities: scallops, mussels, crêpes and galettes, kouign amann...
Finally, the Côtes d'Armor is a land of festivals, hosting numerous events every year, both traditional and modern.

Km 3

Trégastel (Pop: 2,500)
A seaside resort with 12 beaches on its territory and 17 km of very indented coastline where fine sandy beaches, creeks and rocky chaos alternate. The commune also has a historical and architectural heritage: megalithic monuments (covered walkways, menhirs, Gallic stele), religious buildings (chapels, churches and ossuary built between the 12th and 17th centuries), tide mills, calvaries and other fountains and wash houses.

Renote Island
Listed as a picturesque site in 1977. For a long time integrated into the land by the bay of Sainte-Anne, then a meadow covered with small oak trees where a river still flowed at low tide, Renote Island was populated very early on as shown by the remains of scrapers from the Mousterian period (50,000 years ago). Renote is famous for its pink granite chaotic rocks which stretch over a 100-metre wide strip, mainly to the north and east of the island. The tour of the Renote peninsula can be done along the customs path. This is a protected natural area which is home to characteristic seaside fauna and flora.

Km 8

Pleumeur-Bodou (Pop: 4,000)

World famous since the commissioning of the space telecommunications centre and its famous radome which was used to transmit the first satellite television images. This historic site is now called the Radome Park and brings together several major players in scientific culture and family tourism in Brittany.

The Radome
At the heart of an 11-hectare park, the Radome is an enormous sphere 50 m high. Accompanied by a 3,000 m² exhibition building, it is today a unique ensemble: the largest European cultural and leisure centre dedicated to the world of telecommunications. It replaces the space telecommunications centre, which ceased operations in 1985.
In 1956, the first submarine telephone cable between France and the United States had a capacity of only 36 channels. To transmit television across the sea, a magnetic tape had to be recorded and sent by air. In 1965, the Americans launched the first geostationary satellite, Intelsat 1. Their Telstar 1 (star phone) project planned to send pictures and sound between countries via space satellites. Receiving stations had to be built on both sides of the Atlantic. On the initiative of Pierre Marzin, then director of the CNET (Centre national d'études des télécommunications), the Centre de télécommunications spatiales de Pleumeur-Bodou (CTS) was created and inaugurated by General de Gaulle on 19 October 1962. The first satellite transmission in France took place on 11 July 1962 and it was thanks to the Radome that the French were able to see man's first steps on the moon in 1969.

Ile Grande
The island covers 200 hectares and has 800 inhabitants. A coastal path, 7 km long, allows you to walk around the island in about 2 hours 30 minutes. The island is linked by a bridge built in 1891 (rebuilt in 1946 and 1974). For two centuries, Ile Grande was a major granite quarry. The stone was used in particular for the construction of buildings on the Parisian avenues, engineering structures such as the Morlaix viaduct, but also... the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix!

Km 21

Lannion (Pop: 19,900)
The gateway to the pink granite coast, this administrative, commercial and cultural capital of the Trégor has become, since the establishment of the National Telecommunications Centre in 1960, a technopole, a champion of advanced techniques. A hundred or so high-tech companies and research centres are based there.
Lannion was a stage town for the Tour de France in 1995 and saw the victory of Fabio Baldato. The town is a stronghold of Breton cycling: Jean-Cyril Robin, who took part in the Tour de France eleven times and finished 6th in 1998, was born here, as was Christophe Le Mevel, who finished 9th in the 2009 Tour and took part in six editions, as well as Johan Le Bon, junior world champion on the road in 2008, and the young Franck Bonnamour, junior European champion in 2013.

White water stadium
Built in 1992. Installed in the estuary of the Léguer, in the heart of Lannion, a tidal white-water stadium reproduces the characteristics of a turbulent river on demand. The Omniflots mobile obstacles allow beginners to learn efficiently, but also to organise competitions at national and international level.

Km 45

Penvénan (Pop: 2,500)

The area includes Port-Blanc, located 3 km from the centre, and Buguélès, its seaside resorts and marinas. The town has a rich historical heritage: dolmens and menhirs. The islands and hamlets of the commune have welcomed guests as diverse and prestigious as composer Ambroise Thomas, Breton folklorists Théodore Botrel and Anatole Le Braz, British writer Aldous Huxley, Marie Curie and the Nobel Prize winner for medicine Alexis Carrel, as well as Tina Weymouth, the Talking Heads bass player, who is also the great-granddaughter of Anatole Le Braz.   

The Sentinel
This rock overlooking the sea is topped by a sentry box, rebuilt at the beginning of the 20th century on the idea of the folklorist Théodore Botrel. Two statues were added, one of Notre-Dame de la Mer, the other of Saint Tugudual. The sentry box was used to watch over the sea, with its string of small islands, from which enemies could emerge. At the foot of the rock, an old powder magazine is a witness to the defensive past of the place. The Sentinel Rock faces the Thief's Rock.

Km 53

Tréguier (Pop: 2,500)
Historic capital of Trégor. Once an episcopal city, Tréguier was founded in the 6th century by a Welsh monk, Tugdual, who is also one of the seven founding saints of Brittany. The city underwent significant development around the 14th century, with the installation of art craftsmen, while printing and maritime trade took off at the same time.
The historic district extends as far as the port, with its half-timbered houses from the 15th and 16th centuries, its narrow streets, its hidden gardens and its private mansions: Place du Martray, Rue Renan and Rue Saint-Yves, the timber-framed facades abound, including that of the philosopher Ernest Renan. Born on 28 February 1823 in Tréguier and died on 2 October 1892 in Paris, Renan was twice laureate of the Institute; professor of Hebrew at the Collège de France in 1862, he published in 1863 The Life of Jesus, his major work. His native Brittany was honoured thanks to L'Âme bretonne (1854) and his autobiographical text Souvenirs d'enfance et de jeunesse (1883). He was elected to the French Academy on 13 June 1878.
Today, the city is known for its tourist activity, and part of its old centre is even listed as a protected sector.

Saint-Tugdual Cathedral
Foundation: from the 11th century
Style: Romanesque, built of Caen stone (schist, granite)
Characteristics: 18th century spire over 60 metres high, cloister with 48 Gothic-influenced arcades (1470)
Particularity: Louis XVI is said to have drawn on lottery funds to finance the spire, which is why card game motifs adorn this stone sentinel.
Classification: Historical Monument since 1840

Km 56

Trédarzec (Pop: 1,070)

Gardens of Kerdalo
The gardens were created in 1965 by painter Peter Wolkonsky (1901-1997), who was seduced by the acidic, undulating land of an old farm overlooking the Jaudy. On a surface of 17 ha, more than 5,000 plants have found their place in this garden. On the death of Peter Wolkonsky, the gardens were taken over by his daughter Isabelle and her husband Timothy, a landscape gardener.

Canada Bridge
This 153m mid-deck arch road bridge, built between 1951 and 1954, crosses the Jaudy. It replaces a first suspension bridge built in 1834 and destroyed in 1886, and a second truss bridge opened to traffic in 1886 (the foundations of this bridge are still visible at low tide). The 1954 Tour de France peloton crossed this bridge even before its inauguration on 25 July, as it crossed the Jaudy during the 6th stage Saint-Brieuc - Brest, on 13 July 1954, won by Dominique Forlini (1924-2014).

Km 60

Pleudaniel (Pop : 930)

Château de la Roche Jagu (5 km away)
Foundation: 11th century, then rebuilt at the beginning of the 15th century, on the initiative of Catherine de Troguindy
Style: military fortress
Characteristics: a main facade with numerous openings, residential type, and a very austere profile, more military.
Current use: owned by the department since 1958, which organises exhibitions and shows there.
Special feature: 200,000 visitors a year come to walk in the vast 64-hectare park designed by landscape architect Bertrand Paulet between 1992 and 1998.
Classification: Historical Monument since 1930 / Remarkable garden with Eco Garden label

Km 62

Lézardrieux (Pop: 1,500)
On the banks of the Trieux estuary. Has the only natural deep-water port in the region, protected from winds and storms. Singer Georges Brassens owned the Kerflandry villa on the banks of the Trieux from 1971 until his death in 1981.
Lézardrieux is the birthplace of one of the most fascinating pioneers of women's cycling, Amélie Le Gall, who became known under the assumed name of Lisette Marton or "Mademoiselle Lisette". Unofficially crowned world champion in 1896, she roamed the velodromes of Europe and the United States, competing against men in handicap races before setting up French restaurants in New Orleans and Miami with her Swiss husband, Emile Christinet. At the time, she caused a scandal with her loose, practical outfits, far removed from the current standards of women's fashion.

Bréhat Island (offshore)
3.5 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide. The archipelago of Bréhat consists of the main island and 86 neighbouring islets and reefs. On 13 July 1907, Brehat was the first natural site to be protected in France. Fortified in the Middle Ages, the island of Bréhat occupied a strategic position for a long time. During the War of Succession, then the League, it was disputed between Bretons, French, English and Spanish. Its castle, razed to the ground many times, was finally dismantled under Henry IV. Today, tourists increase its population from about 400 to 2,000 people each year.
From the scientist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) to the writer Prosper Mérimée (1803-1870), the island saw a host of celebrities pass through in the 19th century. In a Bréhat cabaret, artists painted the faces of these people on glasses. Unusual portraits which today form the collection of the "decapitated".

Le Paon (Peacock) Lighthouse
12 m high. At the extreme north of the island, on the Pointe du Paon (originally Penn in Breton, meaning point or head). Replaces an old lighthouse built in 1853, dynamited by German troops in 1944. In this old lighthouse, Marie-Perrine Durand was the first female lighthouse keeper in France. She worked there for 39 years, until her death in 1933.

La Croix lighthouse
23 m high, it watches over the mouth of the Trieux. It was built between 1865 and 1867, and rebuilt in 1949. It is the only lighthouse in Brittany open to the public.

Km 67

Paimpol (Pop: 7 200)
In the historic region of Goëlo. It is one of the main fishing and yachting harbours on the English Channel. Every two years since 1989, Paimpol has hosted the Festival du Chant Marin (Marine Song Festival), which honours a continent or a region, representative of the music of the seas of the world (Marianne Faithfull, Soldat Louis, Simple Minds, Kassav...). Paimpol was made famous by La Paimpolaise, a song by Théodore Botrel in which he evokes an unknown cliff in Paimpol! A Paimpolais, Jean Vidament, took part in the Tour de France 1970.

Paimpol cocos (beans)
Imported from Argentina in the 1920s, the Paimpol coco is a semi-dry white bean with a yellow colour and bright white oval grains that can be bought from July to October. In 1998, the coco was granted an AOC (appellation d'origine contrôlée). Later, this star of the Trégor-Goëlo vegetable growing area obtained a PDO (protected designation of origin), the European equivalent of the AOC.

Beauport Abbey
Founded: early 13th century by Count Alain de Goëlo for the Premonstratensian canons
Style: Radiant Gothic façade
Evolution: the buildings were sold during the French Revolution as national property, then transformed into a stable, town hall, bourgeois flats, school and cider house. Owned by the Conservatoire du Littoral and the Conseil Départemental des Côtes-d'Armor, the site now hosts exhibitions, shows and cultural events.
Classification: Historical Monument since 1862 / Conservatoire du littoral since 1995

Km 85

Plouha (Pop: 4,500)
The name Plouha comes from the old Breton ploe meaning parish and from Zaz, a Breton saint with a biblical name of Adam, in Welsh Adda. This name would have been borne by the saint or chief who gave his name to the parish in the 6th or 7th century. Since the 19th century, Plouha has been known as the linguistic frontier of Breton. During the Second World War, Plouha was a major centre of the resistance with the Shelburn escape network which enabled 143 Allied airmen who had fallen on French soil to return to England by sea.

Km 93

Saint-Quay-Portrieux (Pop : 3,000)
Seaside resort in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc, offering five fine sandy beaches and a coastal path (GR34). Its port, Saint-Quay-Port-d'Armor, inaugurated in 1990 by Eric Tabarly, was the first deep-water port in northern Brittany. It has 90 fishing vessels and a thousand pleasure boaters. The inshore fishing vessels are mainly trawlers and dredgers that make trips of less than 24 hours. The trawlers fish for fish (sole, monkfish, turbot, rays), the dredgers fish for shellfish (sea almonds, pink clams) and the caseyeurs fish for shellfish (mainly lobsters). Painters Paul Signac and Berthe Morisot as well as singer Josephine Baker are among the celebrities who have stayed in Saint-Quay-Portrieux.

Scallops
Every three years, Saint-Quay-Portrieux organises a scallop festival. Its scientific name is Pecten maximus and it is a bivalve mollusc of the Pectinidae family. The Bay of Saint-Brieuc, with the ports of Erquy, Loguicy-de-la-mer and Saint-Quay-Portrieux, represents almost half of the French production of scallops. Its fishing is highly regulated (two days of fishing per week at a rate of 45 minutes per day) in order to manage the resource and allow its renewal. It is only allowed from the end of October to April and stops before the coral develops.

Km 104

Pordic (Pop: 7,400)
In the historic region of Goëlo. The commune was born in 2016 from the merger of two communes: the former commune of Pordic and its neighbour Tréméloir. The name Poesix comes from the port located at the mouth of the river Ic, which was once part of the commune. The town has been occupied since the Neolithic period, but the megaliths erected in the commune were destroyed in the 19th century. The Gallo-Roman period left a number of traces, notably the ruins of the Camp des Bernains.
Pordic is the town of Sébastien Hinault, who took part in the Tour de France eleven times between 1999 and 2012. He is now sports director at Arkéa-Samsic.

Km 114

Saint-Brieuc (Pop: 44,400)
The prefecture of the Côtes-d'Armor was founded by a Welsh monk in the 6th century. The old quarters of the town (14th and 15th centuries), grafted around the cathedral, still have timber-framed houses. Three of them are listed as historical monuments. In the town centre, the town hall, the post office and the theatre, witnesses of modern art, were part of a construction programme, as were the bridges, the engineering structures and the railway station. Saint-Brieuc is the birthplace of writers Louis Guilloux and Auguste de Villiers de l'Isle-Adam and actors Patrick Dewaere and Jacques Gamblin.
The town, strongly marked by the personality of Bernard Hinault, who went to secondary school here and began his cycling career with Robert Leroux at the CO Briochin, hosted the Tour de France eleven times between 1938 and 2008 (Thor Hushovd won). In 1995, it allowed Jacky Durand to take the Yellow Jersey in a fantastic prologue, where the Frenchman benefited from the weather while the favourite, Chris Boardman, was at fault in the rain.
The number of riders born in Saint-Brieuc is immeasurable: in addition to Sébastien Hinault, already mentioned (see Pordic), Jean Jourden, amateur world champion in 1961, Roland Leclerc, Loïc Le Bourhis, Dominique Rault, Anthony Morin, David Le Lay and Élie Gesbert are the St Brieuc riders who have taken part in the Tour de France.

Saint-Brieuc Bay Nature Reserve
Classified as a Nature Reserve on 28 April 1998, it covers approximately 1,140 hectares, in the municipalities of Hillione, Langueux, Morieux, Saint-Brieuc and Yffiniac. It is the largest nature reserve in Brittany and the fifth largest bay in the world for its tidal range. Situated on the Channel-Atlantic migration route, it is home to around 50,000 migratory or wintering birds: Siberian geese, spotted locustella, Balearic shearwater, skylark, melodious linnet and brant.
The bottom of the bay also has a remarkable geology, dunes and salt meadows.

St Etienne Cathedral
Foundation: 13th to 18th centuries
Style: Gothic
Characteristics: remarkable for its organ case (1540) and one of the most beautiful wooden altarpieces in the Côtes-d'Armor, a masterpiece of Baroque art, created in 1755 by the renowned sculptor from Trégor, Yves Corlay
Special feature: one of the nine historic cathedrals in Brittany, housing relics of St Brieuc dating from the Old Age.
Classification: Historical monument since 1906

Km 124

Plédran (Pop: 6,700)
Nicknamed the "green lung" of the Saint-Brieuc agglomeration. Populated since the Neolithic period, it was occupied by the Gallo-Romans before developing during the Middle Ages. Today, the town has become a tourist attraction in the Côtes-d'Armor, as much for its landscapes as for its historical and architectural heritage.
Plédran is also the birthplace of Maurice Le Guilloux, one of Bernard Hinault's most loyal lieutenants, who took part in nine Tours de France between 1975 and 1984.

Km 130

Ploueuc-sur-Lié (Pop: 3,300)
Village where Julie Bresset, Olympic mountain bike champion in London in 2012, grew up.

Km 149

Uzel (Pop: 1,070)
Former weaving centre where the father of the Paris metro, Fulgence Bienvenüe (1852-1935), was born and who gave his name to the Montparnasse-Bienvenüe metro station.

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