Paimpol, Brittany: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Paimpol (Brittany, France)
The town developed around the important cod fishing industry from the 15th century to the 19th century and Paimpol’s fishermen used to set off on long trips to Iceland each February, trips which lasted around eight months at a time! The emphasis is more on tourist boats now but there is still an active fish market.
The heart of Paimpol is centred around the harbour and the streets of the historic centre. Start your visit with a stroll around the harbour admiring the 17th century stone houses and the mix of pleasure boats and fishing boats tied up around the harbour.
Note: there are actually two large harbours in Paimpol (Bassin 1 and Bassin 2), adjacent to each other and with fishing boats in Bassin 1 and pleasure boats in both harbours. Bassin 1 is older and surrounded by the older granite houses.
After exploring the harbour head into the old town with its traditional stone houses, a few half-timbered houses and cobbled streets. There are many attractive houses to see, especially around Place du Martray, Rue des Huit Patriotes and Rue des Islandais. The weekly market in Paimpol takes place on Tuesday mornings in a large part of the town centre around the Place des Halles so this is the liveliest time to visit Paimpol.
Have a look in particular at the 15th century ‘Maison Jezequel’ on La Rue des Huit Patriotes: this is one of the oldest houses in the town and was once a shop supplying the cod fishing industry. Another notable sight is the Maison des Armateurs, one of the grandest stone townhouses in Paimpol.
The 'old tower' in the town centre is all that remains of the 18th century church that once stood here. Apparently it was not generally thought to be an attractive building so it was replaced by the Church of the Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle at the beginning of the 20th century. Personally I wouldn't say the replacement is very lovely either but each to his own!
There is a small museum in Paimpol - the Musée de la Mer - commemorating its history as an important cod fishing port and particularly the lives of the ‘Icelanders’ as the fishermen who went on the long fishing trips to Iceland were called. The museum, in Rue Labenne, is in a building that was originally used for drying cod.
Beauport Abbey is an evocative abbey in a lovely setting on the edge of Paimpol, and includes the ruins of an abbey church and also related monastic buildings. It is one of a very select number of places that are classified as 'Grand Sites of France'.
A nice way to see the countryside along the Trieux River between Paimpol and Pontrieux is to take the century old steam train called the Vapeur de Trieux between the two towns (May to September only), while the more adventurous might like to try sea-canoeing.
Access to ferries to Ile de Bréhat, off the coast to the north, is also close to Paimpol - or you can head to the Moulin de Craca at Plouezec or the Pointe de l'Arcouest at Ploubazlanec (the departure point for ferries to the island) for views across to the island from the mainland.
Map of Paimpol and places to visit
Visit near Paimpol with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Cotes-d'Armor
Paimpol is classified as a recommended detour town (plus beau detour)
Address: Paimpol, Saint-Brieuc, Cotes-d'Armor, Brittany, 22500, France || GPS: latitude 48.7786, longitude -3.04528
Plan your visit to Paimpol, Brittany
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Beauport Abbey: grand site of france (2km)
- Abbaye de Beauport: site of natural beauty (2km)
- Jardin du château de la Roche-Jagu: remarkable garden (9km)
- Jardins de Kerdalo: remarkable garden (11km)
- Sillon de Talbert: site of natural beauty (11km)
- Pontrieux: ville fleurie 4* (12km)
- Maison Ernest Renan: national monument (14km)
- Treguier: secteur sauvegarde (14km)
- Jardin du Kestellic: remarkable garden (14km)
- Zooparc de Trégomeur: zoo or wildlife park (25km)
Market days in Paimpol, France
Regular market(s) are held in Paimpol each Tuesday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Paimpol (Francais)