03 June 2009

2006: Trégastel, Perros-Guirec

Weather report - The past three days have been heaven. Temperatures in the 20s, and few clouds (mostly high wisps).

After stopping at Brelevenez Church for a few photos, I'm out and about the peninsula that is the northwest bump above Lannion. The route takes me from Trébeurden (notable for its beaches and a Radar Dome) on the west, northward to Trégastel, east to Perros-Guirec, and southward home.

Trégastel is a wonderful little town, with white-sand plages (beaches), but I'm more interested in the natural area just north of the aquarium, named Presqu'île Renote Reserve. I can see where parking will be problematic during the summer, as this region of France becomes inundated with Parisien holiday seekers, but at the moment parking is not a problem. There is a small island that can be reached on foot at low tide, and signs along the mainland which state you are on your own should you overstay when the tide rushes back in. Hiking in and around the peninsula is an adventure, as are the rock scrambling opportunities. The most interesting bird photographed here was the Northern Gannet; it was incredible to watch as it would soar to 50+ feet, then hover momentarily. If the decision is "meal below", the gannet becomes a streamlined arrow, and it dives directly into the ocean.

While swimmers and sunbathers love the local beaches (and I count myself among them), kayakers can and do tour both outlying islands and the surrounding rock outcrops for a unique perspective. Today, there is a large group of 20 kayaks who have split between the main offshore island and the mainland for lunch. Later, they will follow the shoreline east towards Ploumanac'h.

Ploumanac'h is another in a long line of gorgeous coastal towns. The marina will be your first hint at the village and, as I stopped to do some scenic photography, a pair of retired Brits rode their collapsible velos (bicycles) within a few metres and started capturing their own memories of the moment. It didn't take long before we were discussing everything from weather for the last month to current affairs in the Middle East to petrol prices to the changes along this coastline during the last twenty-five years... They had berthed their sailboat in Trébeurden a few hours before, and were out scouting for a new overnight spot. Ploumanac'h seemed to be their consensus, and I had to say it would be tough to argue against: aquamarine waters, amenities, exploration opportunities within exercise distance, and the promise of a wine party later with friends aboard ship.

As I had neither sailboat nor wine, I continued eastbound along the coastal highway and discovered a village that seemed to think it was Perros-Guirec. It included a casino, a small marina, perhaps six or seven crêperies, and a waterfront that was being transformed as I walked along (roads being maintained, buildings renovated, etc), none of which I remembered from my past few visits. I could see that it would be someone's expensive wet dream of heaven one day, and it was well on its way even as I basked on a bench, eating a crêpe confiture while watching the waves wash the white sands (unconscious alliteration aside!)...

I found out later it was a northern neighbourhood of Perros-Guirec, Trestraou, and that a second discovery not 5 minutes further along the highway was a similar development, Trestrignel. What I thought of as Perros-Guirec was simply the port area, with its own separate marina (of interesting construction) and quite a tidal change during each day.

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