The river Rance, a hundred kilometres long, offers a valley of delights and surprises for tourists and hikers. Along the river, lots of beautiful old buildings make the natural scenery even more beautiful.
The dam of the Rance
Once exposed to all the hazards of the high tides, the mouth of the Rance is today blocked by the dam of the tidal power plant. It exploits the resources of strong tides rushing into its estuary to produce electricity. The road linking Dinard to Saint-Malo runs across its top, and has enormously contributed to the development of tourism in the estuary area.
A visitors centre at the Rance tidal power plant is open to the public free of charge. Immersed yourself in the world of energy. A life-size turbine, interactive computer displays, models, and videos help to explain the operation of the plant. Don't miss the view of the engine room! An outdoor tour allows you to enjoy the panorama offered over the estuary and watch the boats in the lock.
The Rance Valley
Start your tour at the village of Saint-Servan, located at the mouth of the estuary. Admire the view from the Solidor Tower, built in the 14th century to watch out for illegal traffic and foreign ships on the Rance. The estuary narrows after the dam and invites you to pursue it upstream.
Make a stop at the boat cemetery on the banks of Rance near Quelmer. This unusual place is a unique site in the region - the wrecks of trawlers, cutters and other coasters have chosen this remote haven to end their days.
Saint-Suliac, ranked among the Most Beautiful Village of France is one of the jewels of the valley. This picturesque little port seems to have popped straight out of a postcard. Strolling in the alleys of the village is a favourite of passing travellers. Climb to the oratory of the Virgin of Grainfollet to take in the view over the bay.
Between Port Saint-Jean and La Ville-Ès-Nonais the lock of the Châtelier marks the limit between the maritime Rance, subjected to the tides and the fluvial Rance, where fresh water predominates.
Navigating on the Rance estuary
What's more magical than pottering around in a boat? Various companies offer excursions from Saint-Malo, enabling you to enjoy a ride of an hour and a half, or even a three-hour cruise to the town of Dinan. Have lunch or dinner on a boat-restaurant along the way to extend your trip that bit further.
The nautical club at Saint-Suliac offers activities and outings with instructors, sea kayaking and stand up paddle. You may come across some local girls in a dugout canoe or on a dragon boat - this group of women sailors, who call themselves the Pink Malovas, raises money for breast cancer research. Why not participate in one of the regattas organized by the club during the summer season?