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Contact Headquarters : 5 Hent Meneyer, 29 950 Gouesnac'h, France.
Postal address : 2 impasse de Kervégant, 29 350 Moëlan sur mer, France.

Cancale

 

Famed for its oysters, Cancale and its typical port, La Houle, look out over the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel. Old fishermen’s cottages line the quayside and also the streets behind the port, a place favoured by artists, with its 19th and even 18th century houses. The inhabitants of Cancale used to take part in big cod fishing expeditions to Newfoundland on the Canadian coast, in ships called ‘bisquines’ with many sails and sometimes colourful, with the fleet numbering over 300 boats. Back in the present, local specialities await in the many seafood restaurants on the harbourside of La Houle…

For centuries now, it is the flat oyster which has been the claim to fame of this ‘town’, and it was François I who declared it a town in 1545, recognising its role of supplier to the royal table. In the 18th century, as many as 20,000 tonnes per year were already being harvested! You can visit the Ferme Marine and its museum all about oysters, shells and the sea.

In the centre of Cancale, you are sure to note the beautiful houses, which belonged to corsairs and shipbuilders, to ship captains in the 18th century, as well as some superb manor houses in the surrounding area, for example in the village of Terrelabouet. And nearby in the countryside, you can also find interesting ‘malouinières’ (residences built in the St Malo style), and former hide-outs of St Malo corsairs, a past which made the town worthy of frequent attacks by the English, such as in 1758 and 1779, when it came under fire from the enemy’s cannons.

The lovely church of St Méen, the founder of the town in the 6th century, is a listed historic monument and was built in the 18th century by Garangeau, a pupil of Vauban. The church houses a museum of folk arts and customs, showing the past and the rich heritage of this place. Another example of this rich heritage, and typical of Cancale, is the ‘bisquines’ already mentioned, the old sailing ships used for fishing.

A super viewpoint to look over the town and the bay is from the footpath towards the Pointe du Hock headland, and you can go all the way round the Pointe de Grouin headland to the Plage du Verger via the coastal path. The Pointe de Grouin overlooks the Ile des Landes, an island bird reserve, and also affords a panoramic view all the way to Granville in the east and to Cap Fréhel in the west, and even to the Chausey islands due north. Grande-Isle and 52 tiny isles, the only to remain French (under the jurisdiction of Normandy) following the Treaty of Brétigny, were exploited for their granite in the construction of the Mont-Saint-Michel, the walls of St Malo, and even for the London quayside.