The Sentier des Douaniers (Path of Customs Officers) provides a route around Brittany’s stunning coastline. Rocks, waves, trees and lighthouses abound. Today I’m taking you along just a short stretch of the path on the Pink Granite coastline. This simple walk has the added embellishment of a 19th century château.
Perros Guirec, our starting point, is a popular resort with several attractive beaches and offers boat trips out to the Sept Iles bird sanctuary. There is a stunning variety of seabirds out here, including puffins.
We are sticking to the ground today, though, and will start with some scrambling out onto the rocky promontory at the western end of Chemin de la Pointe.
Now we’ll head onto the marked sentier, walking in the direction of Saint-Guirec. It is an easy and short walk, less than 1 kilometre if you stick to the path.
But don’t do that!
Pop out onto the rocky coastline, mooch under the trees and pop down to sea level when you get the chance (that will depend on the tides and on your fitness). The curvaceous pink granite and the trees that manage to emerge from the rocks are simply beautiful.
Just across the water is a tempting holiday location. The château is made from the local pink granite with an interior constructed from wood reclaimed from Maurice, a three-masted ship that sank in winter 1896. Sadly, the interior has suffered, in part during World War II when it was requisitioned by the German army, and partly in a fire in 1990.
The building is named after the small island on which it sits: Costaérès which means “old dryer place” in Breton. In other words, this was a popular place to dry fish in the sun.
The island has changed hands a few times in its life. Probably its most famous period was the very late nineteenth century, when it became the birthplace of the novel Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz.
The stately design, warm colours and beautiful setting demand love and attention. The island is private property though and public access is not permitted. You can enjoy views from different angles as you walk along the Sentier. It is also available for holiday rental for something in the region of EUR 15,000 a week – booking details can be found here.
The path soon brings you into Saint-Guirec. If the tide is out, you can pop down onto the beach and give a worshipping touch to the saint inside the 12th century arched Oratory. He is known to bring good fortune to marriages and fertility. If the tide is in, you can admire the view of the arched structure surrounded by water – and hopefully a reflection if the sun is obliging.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 7 November 2016
Part of Monday Walks