Paimpol, Cotes-d'Armor tourism & sightseeing
Visit Paimpol (Brittany, France)Photo Gallery
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.
France This Way comment: although there are not many historic buildings compared to many of the towns in the region, Paimpol is quite attractive and a stroll around the harbour or a visit to the weekly market is a pleasant way to pass a morning
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.
Along one side of the harbour the houses are newer but also attractive - I noticed when lookng at our earlier photos of the same harbour that the houses were previously quite a neutral colour but they have now been painted to provide a colourful backdrop: this is a trend we have seen in a few towns, partly because photos of colourful houses are much more popular on social media (facebook, instagram etc)!
After exploring the harbour head into the old town with its traditional stone houses, a few half-timbered houses and cobbled streets. There are various attractive houses to see, especially around Place du Martray, Rue des Huit Patriotes and Rue des Islandais.
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.
Although there are some historic buildings, there is quite a lot of more recent development in the centre of Paimpol, so if possible we recommend you visit on market day (Tuesday) when the extensive market around the Place des Halles provides a colourful and lively scene for the town.
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! Two columns at the base of the tower date from 1550, and an even earlier church in the same location.
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 nearby
Visit near Paimpol with France This Way reviews
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Tourist classifications for Paimpol
Paimpol is classified as a recommended detour town (plus beau detour)
Address: Paimpol, Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, 22500, France || GPS: latitude 48.7786, longitude -3.04528
Plan your visit to Paimpol, Cotes-d'Armor
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Beauport Abbey: grand site of france (2 km)
- Abbaye de Beauport: site of natural beauty (2 km)
- Jardin du château de la Roche-Jagu: remarkable garden (9 km)
- Jardins de Kerdalo: remarkable garden (11 km)
- Sillon de Talbert: site of natural beauty (11 km)
- Pontrieux: ville fleurie 4* (12 km)
- Maison Ernest Renan: national monument (14 km)
- Treguier: secteur sauvegarde (14 km)
- Jardin du Kestellic: remarkable garden (14 km)
- Zooparc de Trégomeur: zoo or wildlife park (25 km)
- Menez Bré: site of natural beauty (30 km)
- Lannion: ville fleurie 4* (31 km)
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)