Emerald Coast, named after the colour of the sea

The Emerald Coast is located in the department of Côtes d’Armor.

Emerald Coast - Côte d'Emeraude in Brittany
Emerald Coast

It stretches from the port of Cancale on Baie du Mont Saint-Michel to Cap d’Erquy on Baie de St-Brieuc.

The name Côte d’Emeraude is fairly recent.

Eugène Herpin, a local historian and socialite, invented it in the early 20th century.

Until then, the wild jagged coastline was known as Clos-Poulet.

Clos Poulet literally translates as chicken pen!

This odd name was simply the evolution of the Latin Pagus Aleti into Pays d’Alet and Pou-Alet.

Emerald Coast is undoubtedly a name that better suits this coastline, as the sea goes through an amazing array of emerald green and turquoise shades as the daylight evolves.

Discovering the Emerald Coast

The Emerald Coast is a succession of small coves, granite headlands and steep cliffs that jut into the sea.

Millennia of sea and wind erosion indeed shaped this amazing coastline.

Emerald Coast in Dinard
Emerald Coast in Dinard

Some sections of the jagged coastline are therefore only accessible by foot.

However, narrow and twisty smugglers’ paths run among moors and rocks.

They lead to small coves and their beach of fine sand and headlands that boast stunning views over the open sea and coastal villages.

Smuggling indeed used to be quite a tradition along the coast!

Each municipality is therefore proud of its coastal path.

They are everywhere and they all bear the same name – Chemin des Douaniers.

Smugglers have long gone, however, you’ll still come across disused guard posts here and there!

Finally, the Rance Estuary but also the Frémur and Arguenon rivers open the coastline and shelters small ports and marinas from sea breezes.

Cancale – Rotheneuf – St. Malo

The coastal scenic road follows the coastline, from town to village, from cove to headland.

The picturesque fishing village of Cancale, the Breton capital of oysters, is also known for its Rocher, a rocky island just off its littoral.

Emerald Coast
Emerald Coast

La Pointe du Grouin is one of the most picturesque headlands along the coast.

It boasts stunning views from the Baie du Mont Saint Michel to the east to the Cap Fréhel to the west.

The fishing village and former smuggling haunt of Rotheneuf boasts two superb beaches.

However, the amazing carved rocks the local priest, Abbé Fouré, created in the late 19th century, contribute largely to its reputation.

Rotheneuf is a stone’s throw from St-Malo.

The mighty fortress of and ancient city of privateers guards the northern bank of the Rance estuary.

Dinard – Le Guildo

Dinard, the most English of the French seaside resorts, guards the south bank.

The next seaside resort is Lancieux and its long sandy beach, a surfers’ paradise.

The picturesque fishing village of St-Jacut-de-la-Mer stretches on a long rocky peninsula.

Rocher de Cancale, marina and oyster beds
Rocher de Cancale, marina and oyster beds

The village main road ends at Le Rougeret Beach and La Pointe du Chevet.

Both sites boast prime views of the Ile Ebihens and surrounding coastal towns.

The fishing village of Le Guildo developed at the mouth of the river Arguenon.

Pen Guen and its beach of fine sand is an ideal place for a break.

Then comes the old fishing village of St-Cast-le-Guildo and its splendid marina.

The resort stretches over three different districts, Le Bourg, L’Isle and Les Mielles.

The Monument aux Evadés stands at the tip of the peninsula, the Pointe de St-Cast.

This is another stunning view point that boasts wonderful view of the Emerald Coast.

A second monument, dedicated to the crew members of the Laplace frigate which was mined in 1950, stands along the path leading to the viewpoint.

Then there is St-Cast long sandy beach, Plage de la Mare.

The Fort de la Latte is located to the west of St-Cast.

The present buildings are all that is left of the 14th century fortress of the Goyon-Matignon Family.

It was remodeled and restored in the 17th century and restored in the early 20th century.

Cap Fréhel – Les Sables d’Or

Cap Fréhel is one of the exceptional sites along the Emerald Coast, and is also a bird reserve.

Les Sables d'Or
Guess why this coastline is known as Côte d’Emeraude!

Marked trails run across the moorland and lead to the two lighthouses at the tip of the peninsula.

The headland juts into the open sea and boasts breathtaking views over the coastal towns.

From there you can clearly see Les Sables d’Or les Pins.

This seaside resort was developed in the 1920s, however, declined after the crash of 1930.

Its superb beaches of fine golden sand (hence its name) and casino were rehabilitated.

The resort therefore attracts many French and foreign holiday makers during the summer.

The Emerald Coast officially ends at Le Cap d’Erquy, a headland located on the Baie de St-Brieuc.

The tour takes a day and combines History, Nature and Beach!

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