In our latest lockdown in France we are allowed to travel within 10 km of where we live. Feeling a little cooped up last weekend, we decided to explore to the limit of our sanctioned territory. A lot of it happens to be in the middle of the ocean or the Rance Estuary. We weren’t really in the mood for a swim, so we took the car and limited ourselves to land. There are quite a few pretty sites along the way which made for picturesque photographic opportunities. We made a large counter clockwise circle, although we did not cross the Rance. St Malo deserves its own day out. Hopefully we will make it there very soon. The rest of this last week has been swallowed up by various uninteresting mundane activities, but we have promised ourselves to get out more often before our time to leave Dinard arrives.
Our first stop was the Pointe du Décollé in St. Lunaire, the next town to our west. From the photo above you can imagine why it has the name, “the unglued point”. It does seem that the tip of the spit of land just drifted away a few meters. It is a short walk from the parking lot to the end of this narrow peninsula that offers fabulous ocean vistas on both sides. I sat in the sun on a bench and sketched a few islands while Rick scrambled down the rock.
At high tide the waves crash dramatically against the rocks, but even at a relatively low tide as it was while we were there, the water rolls in and swirls around the rocks making for mesmerizing viewing.
Past St. Lunaire, not much further down the road you find St. Briac-sur-Mer, one of the prettiest villages on the coast. The port is in a small natural bay which is protected from wilder waters in the open Channel. On the presqu’île (almost island) there is a gorgeous villa, hidden in the shadows. The town itself is charming, with winding streets, ancient stone houses, shops and restaurants made for and frequented by the privileged classes. Nothing is out of place here, everywhere you look is something appealing to see, although it felt to us as if “you can look, but you better not touch.”
We passed through several less memorable villages as we swung south, away from the coast. In the middle of a rather ordinary neighborhood, we discovered the lovely Moulin de Buglais from the 16th century.
We turned east, to reach the left bank of the Rance. In Le Minihic-sur-Rance we stoped, at low tide, on the banks of this tidal river and had our picnic lunch. It’s a quiet corner with only a few other people around. We enjoyed watching one little terrier chase a stick about his own length along the beach or into the water as far as his master cared to throw it. We noticed that after retrieving the stick he would immediately drop it back at the master’s feet, waiting at rapt attention for the next toss. Good dog! Our own deceased dog friend, Morgan, who was a ball chasing maniac would usually make us play tug-of-war in order to get the ball back once he had it.
Le Richardais is one of the bigger communities on the Rance, just down the road from Dinard. It isn’t a particularly attractive city but it does have a nice moulin à marée, a mill that is powered by the tide. As Wikipedia explains it: A tide mill is a water mill driven by tidal rise and fall. A dam with a sluice is created across a suitable tidal inlet, or a section of river estuary is made into a reservoir. As the tide comes in, it enters the mill pond through a one-way gate, and this gate closes automatically when the tide begins to fall. This is the action that drives the mill wheel. Most mills simply use the movement of a flowing river to drive the wheel, but on a tidal river, such as the Rance, a different system is needed.
As we were driving along we were able to enjoy some safflower fields which bring such a bright burst of color to the spring landscape.