The last place we visited in Brittany was Cap Fréhel, a peninsula belonging to the Emerald Coast about an hour east of Saint-Malo and Cancale. The high cliffs of the peninsula overlook the English Channel. The peninsula is uninhabited, apart from two lighthouses and a restaurant that was built to take advantage of the steady stream of tourists who make the trip to enjoy the view. You can pay to go into the taller lighthouse, but we opted to stay on the ground instead of paying the 2 euro fee.
The shorter lighthouse is the oldest structure that sits on the site (and from the looks of it, no longer in use) was built in 1701 during Louis XIV’s reign. The taller lighthouse was built in 1950 (the German troops having destroyed the previous one during World War II) and is currently in use. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower to get a better look of the surrounding coast.
I was curious about the castle visible from Cap Fréhel (seen in the first picture of the last series of pictures) and I asked my father if we could make a slight detour and get closer to it. According to legend, a castle was first built on the site in 937. The current fortified castle, Fort-la-Latte, was rebuilt between 1690 and 1715 after it was pillaged and destroyed at the end of the 16th century (only the dungeon remained of the original castle that was built sometime in the 1300s). It was originally owned by the Goyon family, a prominent clan in Brittany society at the time. By the end of the 19th century, the castle was abandoned and fell into ruins. It was officially classified as a historical monument in 1925 and has become the most visited castle in Brittany. For more information, you can visit the official website here (available in English but the translation is rather questionable).
We didn’t actually go inside Fort-La-Latte–my father and I merely stood at the wooden fence looking at it and I snapped a couple of pictures. I think we would have gone inside had my grandparents not been with us. Unfortunately, the path that takes visitors down to the castle is rather steep since it goes downhill. When my father and I turned around and walked back up the hill to the parking lot (my grandparents waited for us while we were investigating by the car), we got quite the workout. There was no way my grandparents could have walked up and down that hill. I don’t even know what the conditions inside the castle were like but I am betting you there were probably a lot of stairs, which was another big no-no for my grandparents. I would love to go back someday and visit–but I have to say this place is not very handicap/elderly friendly. Something for Fort-la-Latte to consider! Grandparents like to visit castles too.
This little house sits at the top of the hill from F0rt-la-Latte. I’m not sure who lives here, whether it’s the family that owns the castle nowadays or some kind of caretaker. I envy whoever lives here. This house is just too adorable for words, it is by the coast, and it overlooks an old castle. My mother, who was not with us during this part of the trip (she was already back in the States), immediately commented on Facebook with, “Is this my new house?” As a joke, I wrote back, “Yes, Papa bought it has a 30th anniversary gift. Surprise!” HA! If only.
And to cap off the Brittany leg of our road trip: some pictures of the Cancale harbor at dusk.
And that’s a wrap for the Brittany part of the road trip. (Up next: Normandy!)
P.S. I forgot to mention that I got my second article published on Go Overseas! It’s the guide to taking a gap year in France. In case any of these posts have inspired you to up and move to France for a year or two, check out my guide to taking a gap year in France here.