Over the years the main road has increasingly bypassed Auray as the crowds flock to Carnac and the Quiberon peninsula. But it’s worth a stop to visit the picturesque central square with its superb covered fish market, the pretty port and the lovely old town…
What to see and do in Auray, Brittany
Whatever you have planned when you’re in the Morbihan area, do seek out the 15th century picture perfect port of St Goustan in Auray, named after the patron saint of sailors and fishermen. Approach it via a steep narrow road just off the square leading you down to the river Auray. As you cross the bridge you will enter an almost perfectly preserved 600 year old harbour that is today full of restaurants and cafés, a great place to pass the time. Often there are ancient boats tied up at the quayside giving a flavour of times past.
It was here that Benjamin Franklin landed in December 1776 for secret meetings with the King of France. Franklin took the road to Paris to ask France for help in the American War of Independence and one of the quays is now named after him.
From June to September visitors can take a boat ride from here around the little islands in the Gulf of Morbihan. Don’t miss exploring the town though, cross the narrow stone bridge, which has linked the two banks of the Loc’h since the 13th century, and then make your way up Les Rampes du Loc’h. This specially built walkway leads up the hill to the site where the château once stood; both the climb and the views back over the port will leave you breathless (top photo).
If you’re in town on a Monday then you’re in for a treat as a vibrant, colourful market takes place, spilling out from the town centre and filling the streets with lush produce.
The main sites are the 18th-century town hall and the 17th-century Église St-Gildas, which has an beautiful porch and is home to a sculpted wooden organ.
10 miles from Auray is Carnac, the mysterious megalithic must-see, 3000 hunks of granite hewn from the earth in 4000 BC and stood in rows that stretch for miles…