Dol de Bretagne travel guide

Cities and towns

About Dol-de-Bretagne

Dol-de-Bretagne in Brittany is a quaint medieval town close to the rugged Mont Dol that overlooks the bay of Mont St Michel.

Legend states that a Welshman named Samson was the founder of Dol-de-Bretagne, when a local lord gave him the land after Samson cured his wife and daughter of their illnesses. Much of the town's architecture dates from the Middle Ages and the defensive Gothic cathedral was built after King John of England destroyed the previous Romanesque building. The Maison des Petits Palets is one of Brittany's oldest houses and was built during the 12th century while the 17th century Maison de la Guillotière was used as a hiding place during the Revolution and the German occupation. Brittany's prehistoric past is also visible on the landscape with the striking Champ Dolent menhir, a mysterious symbol of granite standing nearly 10m high, with an estimated weight of 150 tons. It is well worth a wander around it to admire and contemplate the many myths and legends that surround it.

Much of the area around Dol-de-Bretagne is steeped in legends, particularly Mont Dol, a rocky outcrop that has been described as an island on land. In local mythology, this is where St Michael fought the devil, leaving gashes in the rock. Affording stunning views of the fields and marshes below, and the bay of Mont St Michel in the distance, it is a great place to spend a few hours visiting the statue of the Virgin Mary, the  small chapel and the old mills. Below lie the marshes where pikes thrive in the waters and waterbirds swoop, as well as the farmland where other megalithic monuments can be discovered amongst the fields of grazing cattle and horses. The area is great for those who love outdoor sports with climbing and orienteering on Mont Dol, walking and cycling routes amongst the marshes, and seakayaking, sandyachting and horseriding available in the bay. In the town itself,d tours of Dol-de-Bretagne's medieval parts are a great way to explore. With some great traditional festivals throughout the year, Dol-de-Bretagne is a town which has stayed in touch with its roots and traditions.

On a Saturday morning, you'll find a market full of fresh locally produced food, crafts and more with an organic market in Place Chateaubriand on Tuesdays. Delicatessens and wine shops run by knowledgeable staff will help you try the tastes of the Normandy terroir. Shellfish are very popular here, particularly oysters and mussels caught in the bay, and especially the Moule de Bouchot which has recently received AOC status. Salicornia, known in the UK as samphire, or sea beans, is often used as a spice or an accompaniment to the fish and seafood on offer. Rare pré salé lamb from lambs raised on the salt flats of the bay is also a local delicacy. Or, simply enjoy a savoury galette (a buckwheat pancake) with a traditional bolée de cidre (cup of cider).

Why visit Dol-de-Bretagne?

  • Mont Dol 
  • Le Champ Dolent Menhir
  • Bay of Mont St Michel
  • Outdoor Sports

Overview

  • Country: France
  • Region: Brittany
  • Department: Ille-et-Vilaine
  • Population: 5,000
  • Coordinates: 48.549314,-1.753886

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

Here you can discover the secrets of oyster farming, a highly prized shellfish that never fails to arouse curiosity. Flat or cupped, bred in mesh bags or on the seabed, you can learn all about the demanding, meticulous work...

Exciting high wire adventure courses through the forest - 5 for adults, increasing in difficulty, ranging from 3m to 30m high, plus 3 for children. Trek from one tree to another using a variety of zip slides, rope bridges and...

This leisure park has something for everyone - pedalos, themed electric boats (Mississippi steamboats, even some like mini Brittany Ferries!), picnic areas, fishing, walks.

La Ballue is known as a château of legends. The very attractive 16th/17thC Baroque style gardens have 13 'surprises' including a fernery, water trap, scented chamber, open air theatre, temple of Diana, maze and many other...

Places to visit nearby

Mont St Michel in Normandy is one of France's most popular tourist attractions attracting over 3 million visitors every year.

The beautiful city of St Malo in Brittany curves out to sea on a stunning natural harbour that has created some of the best sandy beaches on the Emerald Coast.

Dinard in Brittany is a fashionable seaside resort that first came to popularity during the Belle Epoque of the 19th century.

Nearby events

La Route du Rock, Festival

La Route du RockEvery year since 1991, the pirate radios that came up with the Route du Rock have...

Hello Birds Festival

Music, art and food beside the sea.The story behind Hello Birds Festival is the story of a group of...

Saint-Malo Sacred Music Festival

High level music.The aim of the Sacred Music Festival of Saint-Malo is to breathe life into St....