The Pink Granite Coast at Perros-Guirec
The Breton coast of northwestern France offers bountiful natural beauty and outdoor activities. Mr. TWS and I had just a short time to explore an area called the Côte de Granit Rose (Pink Granite Coast) — one of three pink granite coastlines in the world. (The other two are located in Corsica and China.) This stretch of coastline covers about 20 km from Trébeurden to Perros-Guirec. During our Normandy and Brittany road trip, we traveled about 1-1/2 hours by car from the irresistibly charming town of Dinan to Perros-Guirec to explore this ruggedly beautiful part of the Côtes d’Amor on the English Channel.
Perros-Guirec is a popular year-round seaside resort town and nature reserve open throughout the year for hiking, walking, swimming (at three beaches of fine pink sand), and other outdoor recreation on its 13 km of coastline. The area can be reached as day trips from many inland cities and coastal resorts of Brittany. We enjoyed our quiet off-season visit, but it would be fun to join in the summer activities here, too.
Sentiers des Douaniers (Trail of Customs)
Our first stop in town was at the tourist office to get a map and advice about where take a scenic walk with a limited amount of time. We took the following photos along the Sentiers des Douaniers (Trail of Customs) that they recommended to us. I hope you enjoy this glimpse of the beautiful sights we saw and they inspire you to visit yourself.
With limited time, we walked only about 4 km of the overall 8 km route of the Sentier des Douaniers footpath between the town of Perros-Guirec and the neighboring village of Ploumanac’h. The well-kept path can be accessed in the town of Perros-Guirec at Trestraou Beach (one of three fine pink sand beaches in the area), or at a few parking areas near the trail in Ploumanac’h. Plan for about 2-1/2 to 3 hours if you go the entire distance between Trestraou Beach in Perros-Guirec to the Port of Ploumanac’h. Since we were not doing the full route, we started at the Parking du Sémaphore car park.
The unusual masses of pink granite (created by the combination of mica, feldspar and quartz) and enormous balancing rocks along the footpath provide an other-worldly feel to the area’s wind-swept landscape.
Mean Ruz Lighthouse is a key site of the Ploumanac’h area. It was built in 1860, destroyed in 1944, and rebuilt in 1947 using pink granite. In the photo above you can also see the Sept-Îles archipelago where another lighthouse (just barely visible in the photo) sits atop one of the larger of the seven islands. Can you spot it? Sept-Îles is also a large bird sanctuary.
In the photo above, there is another glimpse of the Mean Ruz lighthouse (left). On the right is an old stone chapel.
Although our short walk gave us a good appreciation for the Pink Granite Coast, we would have loved to have extra time here.
So if you have more time, use it to see more of the area! But if you don’t, it’s still worth a short visit like ours.
Pink Granite Coast tips
Dining tip: There are several restaurants in the village of Ploumanac’h that you’ll pass on the trail, but we decided to take a short drive to Trestraou Beach in Perros-Guirec for a late lunch at Le Sextant, one of several bistros and restaurants on the waterfront. We enjoyed the good food, friendly service, and resort town ambiance.
Art tip: Walking through the village of Ploumanac’h inland from the coast, you may want to take a stroll through Parc des Sculptures Christian Gad and Daniel Chhé, a lovely park on Rue Saint-Guirec, to see 18 granite sculptures commissioned by the town.
Hiker’s tip: The Sentier des Douaniers is also part of the long-distance trail coded GR34 that runs for 1,700 km. We met a couple who were taking several weeks to explore the trails of France.
Suggested walking tours: There are other walking tours in the area suggested by the tourist office that include the Trestrignel Beach seaside trail in Perros-Guirec and the caves of the Traouiero Valley.
The map below is a simple representation of the route for your reference.