As you know, I spent the end of the year in Brittany. After Nantes, the Rhuys Peninsula, I ended my Brittany tour in the quaint town of Auray/Saint-Goustan. This nice and charming town with cobbled streets located on an estuary north-west of the Gulf of Morbihan was the highlight of my trip. The city is divided in two; the main town and its historical parts are located on the hillside. The lower part is home to the picturesque port town of Saint-Goustan on the bank of the river Auray.
I arrived in town in the evening. The next day after a relaxing morning and while my host was taking a nap, I decided to discover her little town. I went straight to the port of Saint-Goustan after hearing good reviews. The walk was only 15 minutes.
Picturesque port town of Saint-Goustan
Saint-Goustan is reached across a small stone bridge. After crossing the little bridge, I was faced with a little place packed with half-timbered houses lined with restaurants, cafes or draperies.
I immediately took a stroll up to a little narrow street to see all the traditional houses. Saint-Goustan is such a small town that you can just wander around without fearing getting lost! So I just kept walking, enjoying the sights and being mesmerised by the cuteness of some of the colourful houses. A few of them were very old half-timbered buildings.
Back in the main square, I took a stroll along the dock lined with more restaurants, gifts shops, art galleries and boats. The port used to be an important place linking the mainland to the small islands of the Gulf. If you visit from June to September, you can take a boat ride from the port to the little islands in the Golfe du Morbihan. It was in fact in Saint-Goustan that Benjamin Franklin arrived in 1776 to seek France’s help during the American Independence War. Nowadays, the port is a lovely yachting harbour where you can enjoy lovely views and people watch. During the summer period, you can also take the seasonal train service known as tire-bouchon (corkscrew). The train runs all the way down the peninsula (stopping at Auray, Plouharnel-Carnac, Saint-Pierre Quiberon, Quiberon)
After all this walking I was in a dire need of refreshment. I stopped by Restaurant Le Bistrot du Port to gather my strength and then headed off to climb the little hill towards Les Rampes du Loc’h. The town’s castle once stood there. It was built-in in the medieval times by the Dukes of Brittany to defend the town. The view over the river is just amazing.
Exploring the old town of Auray
Auray itself is not as charismatic as Saint-Goustan but the Old Town also offers some interesting Breton architecture and charm. During my visit, the cobbled streets were colourful with the Christmas decorations still on. Such a simple decoration but makes the streets even more charming! Rue du Chateau, the street that connects Auray and the port is very similar to the streets of Dinan! The street had remained similar to what it was back in the days. There are lots of art shops along the streets. In fact, I felt like Saint-Goustan was a smaller version of the big medieval cities like Dinan, Rennes or Vannes. You get the same charm but without the crowds. Bonus!
Auray market day
The Auray market takes place every Monday morning in the Old Town so it is the perfect place to wander and sample authentic Breton food. The lovely market is one of the most popular of the Golfe du Morbihan and selling everything you could possibly imagine: fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and seafood, meat and tasty pastries.
I really enjoyed my trip to the Golfe du Morbihan. It offers so many unique experiences, so whether you like history, food, or outdoorsy things, you will love the Golfe du Morbihan and its surrounding towns.
I am planning to head over to Brittany again this summer so would love to hear your suggestions on places to go.
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