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February 6, 2019

France: Roscoff and Paimpol

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 7:02 pm

When the tide in Roscoff is in it covers the walkway to the nearby lighthouse.

Before I arrived in Brittany I had a picture in my head of a quintessential Brittany village. In my mind the streets would be lined with gray stone cottages accented by flower boxes. Conscious or otherwise, finding a place that matched my mental picture became a quest. But the mental picture was proving to be a hard goal. Though we had seen many attractive places in Brittany they weren’t quite as I had imagined. It is a reality of travel: You never find exactly what you are expecting. And that’s a good thing.

Despite not being able to find the exact match to an arbitrary mental image we did find several places that in retrospect are quintessentially Breton. Among these was the village of Roscoff in Brittany’s Finistère département.

Roscoff with the tide out

“Downtown” Roscoff

An Atlantic port town, many travel to Roscoff because it is a base for ferries connecting to Plymouth England and Cork Ireland. But the commune is more than a water transit hub. With the gray stone buildings I had imagined Roscoff came as close to matching my preconceived vision of Brittany as well as any place we visited during the trip.

Past fulfilling my Breton fantasy, Roscoff is a pleasant and relaxing place to visit. I could easily spend days there watching the deep tides go in and out. In this part of Brittany sea level varies with the tides by more than twenty feet; the seascape is constantly changing.

Our next stop was in Paimpol. This commune didn’t resonate with us as Roscoff did. Perhaps Paimpol was a little too touristy or maybe the location of the hotel we chose did not present the town well. Who knows? For whatever reason we’d go back to Roscoff first.


We were in Roscoff and Paimpol in August of 2018.

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  1. […] overnight stops in the Brittany communes of Quimper and Roscoff we paused for a couple of hours in Caramet-sur-Mer. Camaret is a fishing port in the Finistère […]

    Pingback by France: Caramet-sur-Mer | Another Header — February 6, 2019 @ 7:05 pm

  2. […] interior a couple of times. One of our forays inland came after we stayed in the commune of Paimpol along the north coast. From Paimpol we drove about two hours to the village of […]

    Pingback by France: Brittany, Josselin | Another Header — February 10, 2019 @ 3:45 am

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