Ille Et Vilaine Activities and Things To Do On Holiday

Grand Aquarium, St Malo, Ille et Vilaine, Brittany, France

Visit St Malo’s Aquarium

The highlight of St Malo’s Grand Aquarium is the huge wraparound tank where you can appear to stand in the middle of a host of swirling fish including 8 magnificent sharks.

 In all, there are 8 different tanks housing tropical fish, marine turtles and a sunken wreck.

Experience a submarine voyage and watch shark feeding time. There’s even a possibility of spending the night here if you can’t tear yourself away.

Open all year 0930 - 2000 in summer, and 1000 - 1800 in winter. Night time openings are mid July to mid Aug. Check for closing on certain dates Nov - Jan.

Coastal Walk on GR34 North of Cancale

Brittany has 1300km of coastal paths and one of the loveliest is the GR34 (look for the red and white markers) from Morlaix in Finistere 576km east to Mont-St-Michel just over the border into Normandy.

In all it would take about a month to walk but the route has been divided into 9 sections, some of which can be attempted in a weekend. Part of the route north of Cancale along the cliffs to St Malo and on to the port of St Briac, has fabulous views of the offshore islands of the Emerald Coast looking back to Mont-St-Michel. These paths were first created by customs officers at the time of the French Revolution in an effort to stamp out English smuggling and thieving from wrecks.

The Breton coastline with its hundreds of inlets and rocky coastline was ideal for these unlawful trades and the paths were patrolled day and night right up to the twentieth century. Today, these routes are protected for the enjoyment of hikers and walkers whatever their nationality.

Note: local walking routes of from 1 to 6 hours are usually signified by a yellow line.

Visit Broceliande Gardens

Broceliande Gardens in Pommeret, 15 minutes from Rennes, continues the magical theme of Merlin’s legendary forest. Spread over 24 hectares of floral park in both natural and formal settings, displays include over 1,000 varieties of iris - France’s foremost collection - over 250 types of rose and 150 ancient apple trees.

You’ll get a warm welcome from the gardeners, there’s a café, play area for children and small farm where they can stroke the animals. Have your camera at the ready for the colourful rare breed hens.

The gardens are generally open Easter to end October (Tues - Fri 1330 - 1800 and 1000 - 1800 weekends and school holidays).

Visit Tinteniac

The little town of Tinteniac, north of Rennes, with its restaurants and shops makes a pleasant stopping place for pleasure boats on the Canal d’Ille et Rance enjoying meandering past woodlands and green pastures on their way to St Malo.

The granite church is worth a visit if only out of curiosity. Built around 1905 with ornate stonework and cupolas, it sits on a much older ecclesiastical site. Make time to visit the Musee de l’Outil et des Metiers housed in an old grain store along the quay which displays a fascinating collection of old tools and rural machinery from a bygone age.

Walk, Fish and Climb at Ile aux Pies (Magpie Island), Bains-sur-Oust

Just beyond Redon where the River Vilaine meets the Nantes-Brest Canal, the sheer cliffs of Ile aux Pies rising 50m out of the River Oust make it a favourite venue for climbers.

This 467 hectare protected site offers a huge variety of habitats from swamps and moors to meadows and forests - a real paradise for nature lovers. Explore ‘Magpie Island’ along numerous walking and equestrian trails leading to the chapel of Sainte Meen in the south, and fish for eels, carp and perch in the River Oust.

Kayaks can be hired from Canoe Apach’Bihan in St-Vincent-sur-Oust from May to September.

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