The V4 cycling route that we rode from Morlaix to Mont-Saint-Michel, in northern France, has its share of A-list attractions, but we quickly found out that the “stuff” in-between is pretty special too: charming towns, impressive cathedrals, historical sites, locals-only beaches… This post pays homage to the journey— roadside views and unexpected treasures depicted in 20 photos taken directly on Brittany’s V4 cycle route.
Our start in Morlaix couldn’t be more scenic; the V4 travels right through the centre of this lovely town. Morlaix’s distinctive landmark, a 292 m railway viaduct, towers over the half-timbered houses, narrow streets and gothic cathedral.
We are charmed by the scenery along the pretty Baie de Térénez, just north of Morlaix. Roadside bushes are covered with ripe blackberries, which become a daily snack on our Brittany ride.
En route to Locquirec we pass a series of gorgeous beaches. My travel notebook is marked with 5-stars and an extra bonus star for this one: Plage les Sables Blancs, one of Locquirec’s nine beaches.
Just past Locquirec, the V4 takes us alongside a castle on a bucolic property. We chat with an elderly man working in the garden who tells us the Maison de L’île Blanche is a seniors home and spiritual retreat. The building dates back to the 1600s.
There’s a pleasing aesthetic about the coastal towns of Brittany. Like St-Michel-en-Grève in this photo, many of them look over crescent-shaped bays, their church spires rising above stone houses with steeply-sloped slate roofs.
The medieval centre of Lannion is an atmospheric place for a pit stop and we’re delighted to find an abundance of crêperies serving delicious Breton galettes (buckwheat crêpes).
Attempting to cycle out of Lannion we get hopelessly turned around and keep circling back to this view: the 13th century Église de Brélévenez—not such a bad predicament.
The rural, non-coastal sections of the V4 are an unexpected pleasure. This peaceful country road north of Trébeurden is typical of what we experience when we’re not along the coast gawking at the beaches.
This is a strange picnic stop. We eat on a grassy expanse by the side of a quiet road at Kerguntuil. Just behind us is a dolmen (stone tomb) that is about 4000 years old! We are the only visitors at this extraordinary site and it’s only a few kilometres from the popular Pink Granite Coast.
Speaking of lunch stops, the beautiful square in front of Tréguier’s Gothic cathedral is an inspirational place to munch on our staple picnic items: baguette, pâté and fromage. The V4 passes right by this magnificent site.
Our route out of Paimpol travels alongside its scenic harbour. The colourful fishing boats and brightly painted houses make this harbour town pop, even under grey skies.
I’m cheating a tad with this photo as we need to get off our bikes and walk to the entrance of the Abbaye de Beauport, but it’s such an unexpected delight I just have to include it. We linger far longer than our time allows—the romantic remains of six centuries of monastic history have us captivated.
We stop a lot along the V4 route between Paimpol and St-Quay-Portrieux, which is perhaps my favourite cycling day. Not far beyond the Abbaye is this spectacular field of hydrangeas.
And then, just a bit further is this stunning view of the deep cove at Porz Pin. There’s a steep set of stairs that lead down to the enticing beach, but Mike is content with the view and threatens to leave without me.
Much of the route travels high above the beaches, so we’re happy when it turns steeply downhill and brings us to this beauty in the cute hamlet of Bréhec. I write myself a quick note: “would make a great spot to hang out on a future visit.” It’s back uphill on the other side!
Although most of the V4 is on roads, there are some interesting off road sections like this old railway track that skirts the edge of the Baie de St-Brieuc. Mike looks out over the enormous tidal mudflats that attract a huge assortment of seabirds.
The Viaduct des Ponts-Neufs, constructed 1913-1922, is another discontinued rail line segment that has been turned into a cycle path. The 237 m long expanse is cool to ride across but looking down is not for those with a fear of heights.
The River Rance is a small obstacle in getting to Saint-Malo, but the ferry from Dinard has us covered. The 15 minute trip is scenic and I’m giddy with excitement as the fortified city gets closer and closer.
The last stretch of our journey in Brittany is dead flat as the V4 runs adjacent to the tidal beaches of the Baie de Mont-Saint-Michel. Looking way in the distance, I can just make out the bump that is The Mont. I’m super excited. Unfortunately I get a flat tire and our spare is defective. I end up walking my bike for the last 15 km.
The tire is fixed and Mont-Saint-Michel floats like a mirage on the horizon. We have now officially entered Normandy, where our cycling adventure continues.
For anyone interested in specific details on cycling the V4 route in Brittany, please read my post about planning and logistics.
Next post: The incredible Mont-Saint-Michel!