Walking the Brittany Coast Path
The GR34 from Mont-Saint-Michel to Roscoff
Guidebook detailing a 624km section of French long-distance route the GR34 (or Sentier des Douaniers, the Customs Officers' Path) along the scenic north coast of Brittany from Mont-Saint-Michel to Roscoff. The popular well-maintained trail takes in cliffs, beaches, seaside resorts and fishing villages and is rich in history and culture.
SeasonsThe GR34 can be hiked at any time of the year, but - taking into account weather and holiday crowds - the best periods are late spring and early autumn.
CentresCancale; Saint-Malo; Dinard; Saint-Cast-le-Guildo; Sables-d'Or-les-Pins; Erquy; Pléneuf-Val-André; Saint-Brieuc; Binic; Saint-Quay-Portrieux; Paimpol; Lézardrieux; Tréguier; Perros-Guirec; Trébeurden; Lannion; Locquirec; Morlaix; Carantec; Roscoff
DifficultyThere are no technical challenges on the GR34; any fit walker can enjoy this trek. The GR34 is not a mountain trail: there are extensive sections of level walking. The trail does, however, climb and descend many slopes - never very long but steep in places.
Must SeeMont-Saint-Michel; Emerald Coast; coastal cliffs between Pointe du Grouin and La Guimorais; Fort La Latte; Cap Fréhel; Cap d'Erquy; Sillon de Talbert; Castel Meur; Sept Îles bird sanctuary; Pink Granite Coast; Beg an Fry; boulder-strewn coast between Pointe du Diben and Pointe Annalouesten; Barnénez Cairn; dozens of beaches, large and small!
This guide describes a 624km section of French long-distance route the GR34, following the north coast of Brittany from ever-popular Mont-Saint-Michel to the port of Roscoff. (The full GR34 - also known as 'Sentier des Douaniers', the Customs Officers Path - totals some 2000km and follows in the footsteps of customs officers of old who patrolled the coast in attempt to curb smuggling.) The trail is waymarked and well maintained, offering mainly easy walking, though there are a few more strenuous sections and some short steep ascents and descents. It takes around a month to complete but the guide also includes suggestions for four five-day 'highlight' sections.
The route is described from east to west and presented in 28 stages. For each stage, you will find clear route description and mapping, summary statistics and notes on facilities, accommodation, public transport connections and local points of interest. The introduction offers plenty of practical advice for planning and undertaking your trip, as well as overviews of Brittany's fascinating history and culture. Selected accommodation listings, useful contacts and a glossary can be found in the appendices.
The GR34 leads you through interesting and varied scenery: high above the rocky shores of the Emerald Coast, where waves crash, then elsewhere closer to the water, passing innumerable inviting beaches. There are sea-cliffs and sandy coves, pink granite boulder-fields and unique river estuaries, woodland and heath. Although camping is a possibility, accommodation is readily available in a mixture of bustling seaside resorts and quieter fishing villages. As you hike the trail, you will discover Brittany, a region rich in history and culture and with a distinctive identity that sets it apart from the rest of France, and you will uncover the beauty of this beguiling coastline.
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Carroll Dorgan was born and educated in the United States. Pushed by the absence of jobs for inexperienced history graduates where he happened to be living in 1975 and pulled by his wanderlust, Carroll pursued a teaching career for a decade in international schools in Iran, Belgium, England and France. He then returned to California to qualify as a lawyer, but soon moved back to Europe to practice international law in the Netherlands and France. In all of those places, he explored nearby hiking trails. Now retired, he can devote time to writing about those trails.View author profile
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