Cancale travel guide

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Visit Cancale (Brittany, France)

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Cancale is a town on the northern coast of Brittany to the east of Saint-Malo where it is at the start of the section of coast known as the Emerald Coast.

The town is divided into two areas, with the main town on a headland and the port called La Houle, with a steep cobbled street between the two parts.

Explore Cancale

France This Way review: allow plenty of time for your visit to Cancale: although the town is quite small you will need time to sample the oysters and also two-three hours for the path to the Pointe du Grouin, an unmissable part of your visit!

Start your visit to Cancale on the seafront with a walk around the harbour and then on to the pier from where you can see the oyster beds stretching as far as the eye can see, all seven square kilometres of them!

Seafront at Cancale

The harbour (at La Houle) is surrounded by pretty old fishing houses (many of them now restaurants and shops) and the highlight of a visit - there are numerous restaurants in Cancale where you can sample the local produce, especially the 'oversized' oysters for which the region is best known.

There are also a few stalls on the sea-front selling the oysters each day and the town also has a 'Museum of Oysters'.

Oysters of Cancale

The town has built a reputation due to the oyster beds that are along the coast and round the harbour at Cancale and the town is best known as being the oyster capital of Brittany. Cancale oysters have been famous for at least 2000 years since the days when they were eaten by the soldiers of Julius Caesar and later when they were delivered daily to Louis XIV.

Cancale oysters are thought to be some of the best oysters available and in 1994 Cancale was classified as a ‘Site remarquable du goût’, a town remarkable for the taste of its oysters! Each year Cancale produces 5000 tons of oysters farmed in its ‘parks’ in the bay and 1000 tons fished from the bay generally.


There are a few market stalls on the waterfront where you can buy oysters every day and the town also has an 'Oyster Museum'.

After exploring the harbour of La Houle, the small town of Cancale itself is a traditional fishing town with granite houses clustered around the 18th century Church of Saint-Méen.

There are several beaches to be found near Cancale - for example the attractive Plage de Port-Mer.

stall selling oysters at Cancale

Attractions nearby

After exploring Cancale, head out on foot along the Sentier des Douaniers to the headland at Pointe du Grouin. Starting from the oyster park in Cancale, this route passes through lovely scenery along the coast and along the path you also get good views of small islands and across to Mont Saint Michel, and as far as Granville and Cap Fréhel.

The abbey at Mont-Saint-Michel is of course an indispensable part of a visit to Cancale, with a visit to the historic town of Dol-de-Bretagne also highly recommended.

You can find more travel ideas in the Ille-et-Vilaine guide and the Brittany guide.

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Photos of Cancale

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Visit near Cancale with France This Way reviews



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Mont-Dol guide
Emerald Coast

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The Emerald Coast in northern Brittany is extremely popular with visitors and contains numerous places of interest, beaches and resorts

Emerald Coast guide


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Saint-Malo guide


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Dol-de-Bretagne guide


Saint Suliac is a beautiful village on the estuary of the River Rance in Brittany.

Saint-Suliac guide
Dinard Pointe du Moulinet

Dinard Pointe du Moulinet

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Dinard Pointe du Moulinet guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Ille-et-Vilaine

Address: Cancale, Saint-Malo, Brittany, 35260, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 48.6794, longitude -1.82639

Plan your visit to Cancale, Ille-et-Vilaine

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Île des Rimains: site of natural beauty
  • Île des Landes: site of natural beauty (4 km)
  • Pointe du Grouin: site of natural beauty (4 km)
  • Île du Guesclin: site of natural beauty (5 km)
  • Côte de Cancale à Paramé: site of natural beauty (6 km)
  • Havre de Rothéneuf: site of natural beauty (9 km)
  • Île Besnard: site of natural beauty (10 km)
  • Pointe de la Varde: site of natural beauty (12 km)
  • Saint-Malo: ville fleurie 4* (15 km)
  • Dol-de-Bretagne: village d'etape (15 km)
  • Îlots Notre-Dame et Chevret: site of natural beauty (16 km)
  • Embouchure - Rance: site of natural beauty (16 km)

Market days in Cancale, France

Regular market(s) are held in Cancale each Sunday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Cancale (Francais)