A walk on the Cote de Granit Rose (Pink Granite Coast) is one of the most popular day walks to do in Brittany, France. The coastal track is a famous pathway, called the Sentier des Douaniers, with good reason.
The coastline of Brittany is referred to as le Cote Emeraude – the emerald coast – due to the rich green colour of the sea in sunshine. Combine this with the eccentric tumbling towers of pink granite rock and you have spectacular views around every bend in the path.
Approaching the cove of Pors Rolland the colourful rock formations become by turns fantastic and grotesque – after millennia of work by the sea. The colour of the stone changes with the light – from dusky red to a glowing orange.
Stop at the restaurant at St Guirec beach, where Breton couples out for Sunday lunch consume large platters heaped with delectable mussels, crab, lobster and other fresh local seafood accompanied by crisp Riesling.
If you can’t take the mass seafood experience perhaps try the mussels cooked with creme fraiche and lardons or the local speciality – fish soup.
On the beach a tiny oratory to sixth century Welsh saint Guirec is traditionally held to help young ladies in search of a husband. However, the popularity of this tradition has led to the poor saint’s granite nose being entirely rubbed away.
A little further around the promontory towards Ploumanac’h a tiny chateaux perches among the pink rocks looking out to sea.
The return route skirts Ploumanac’h harbour and estuary, striking inland through quiet villages and past the huge mounds of tumbled pink granite quarried from the cliffs. The stone is put to good use in the houses, walls, kerbs and even gravel footpaths of the region.
At the top of the hill is the tiny village of La Clarte. The 14th century chapel of our lady here was supposedly built by the Marquis de Barac’h in gratitude for a shaft of light falling on the land that guided his fleet when engulfed in a sea mist.
Finish the walk by descending the hill and returning to Perros-Guirec along the GR34.
By Natasha von Geldern
Practicalities for walking on the Pink Granite Coast
The Sentier des Douaniers is well-marked from the holiday town of Perros-Guirec to the harbour of Ploumanac’h.
There is parking along the Plage de Trestaou in Perros-Guirec and the road up the hill leads walkers to the sign-posted Grand Randonee 34 (GR34).
Brittany Ferries have day and overnight ferry services to St Malo, where you can hire a car and drive to Perros Guirec in less than two hours.
Various airlines offer flights to the city of Rennes or you can take the Eurostar to Lille and drive or catch a train to Brittany.
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