Cancale

'Outstanding Flavours' award, in Mont Saint-Michel Bay

"Cancale" from "Cancaven," in the old Breton language, means an inlet from the sea, fed by a river

 

Cancale is a town born from the meeting of two historic parishes - La Houle, today the port of Houle and the town, Cancale d'en Haut, with its houses grouped around the old church of Saint-Méen de Judicaël.

Until 1830, the two parishes coexisted side by side. The religious authorities decided to group the two parishes in one and built the Rue du Port, joining the two hamlets together.

At the end of the 19th century, a new church was built on the Place de la République, the town grew bigger, and houses were built little by little along the old Vau Baudet which leads down to the port. Later, a number of new developments encompassed the different neighbourhoods, to form the municipality as it is today.

 

Enjoy oysters on the harbour of La Houle in Cancale Bay near the Mont Saint-Michel #saintmalotourisme

Cancale oysters

With its local economy based on the sea, the port lives to the rhythm of the tides. It has developed in a natural shelter, and the sea was tamed with the construction of two harbour walls, which delimit the current port. Where once the naval shipyards and fishing in far-off Newfoundland waters dominated the local economy, today it is oysters and tourism which bring the quays of La Houle to life, with the comings and goings of the seagoing vessels between the port and the oysters beds, uncovered at low tide.

Notre Dame du Verger - Cancale #saintmalotourisme

The Pointe du Grouin is located north of the town, and is the midpoint of two coastal stretches: one looks over the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, the other, dotted with pretty beaches and rocky points, belongs to the Emerald Coast.

Thirteen kilometres of coastal paths and lots of paths into the hinterland allow hikers to stroll at ease, while taking-in the rich and varied flora.

Sheltered from the prevailing winds, the vegetation of the eastern coast is largely mimosas and maritime pines, which grow to the foot of the cliffs. The northern section, buffeted by the north-westerly winds, offers the typical Breton landscape of heathland, gorse and broom. It ends in the Anse du Verger, overlooked by the chapel of Notre Dame du Verger, a place full of the maritime history of the town.

The Cancalaise on the sea at the Pointe du Grouin, Cancale #saintmalotourisme

The Cancalaise

Another emblem of the city and source of local pride, the traditional "bisquine" ship, the Cancalaise, is and old traditional fishing boat of the bay, which often parades in nautical gatherings, welcoming lovers of old rigging and planks!

1,261 hectares - 5,900 inhabitants - Locals known as Cancalais & Cancalaises