Saint-Quay-Portrieux is a seaside resort, but also a major port town in Northern Brittany.
Saint-Quay-Portrieux has two harbours
Used by both pleasure boats and fishing boats, Port d’Armor is accessible 24/7. Located in the heart of the Bay of Saint-Brieuc, the fully equipped deep-water marina is a very popular destination, and has earned Saint-Quay-Portrieux the title of scallop capital of Brittany.
- 1030 berths
- 24/7 access
- Harbour master's office: +33 (0)2 96 70 81 30
Once a bustling fishing port, when fishermen caught fish at Newfoundland in 1612, today, Portrieux is a charming Breton harbour.
- 360 berths
- 5 visitor moorings
- Harbour master's office: +33 (0)2 96 70 95 31
Port d’Armor is set in a sheltered site in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc, home to a large scallop fishery. Saint-Quay-Portrieux is a leading port for landing coquilles Saint Jacques (scallops).
The past and present
Originally built in 1990, it was inaugurated by Eric Tabarly and became the first deep-water harbour in Northern Brittany.
It is now a fully equipped modern deep-water marina, accessible 24 hours a day, and sheltered from the dominant winds. The pontoons offer more than 1030 berths for boats ranging from 6 to 18 meters, and multihulls.
The success of the harbour has been closely linked to the level of maritime activity. Fishing, in particular, has always been an important industry, and the harbour regularly hosts sailing races and regattas.
A busy fishing port
With its fleet of 80 fishing boats returning their catches to port daily, Saint-Quay-Portrieux has a reputation for producing excellent fresh fish. Trawlers fish sole, monkfish, turbot, and ray, whereas dredgers collect shellfish such as dog cockles, clams, and scallops. Trap setters are used to set pots or traps for catching lobster. In winter, from November to April, they all engage in scalloping.
Six specialised trawlers also operate on high sea waters, and stay at sea for extended periods of time (4 to 7 days). They fish cod and whiting.
This traditional Breton harbour preserves its ancient good looks, and boats still bob in the water. Once a fishing harbour, it is now mainly used for pleasure boating. Stroll along the harbour, watch the boats, or simply enjoy sunbathing on the south-facing beach.
A little bit of history
The modern story of the port goes back some 400 years with its origin in the fishing industry. Much of its development took place in the 20th century to enable its use as a ferry port. The first ferry boat service to Bréhat and the Channel Islands began in 1920 with Channel steamers.
Before this, since at least Roman times, trading ships had been landing on the shore at Kertugal. However, the constant movement of the shingle beach by winds and tides made it a dangerous place to land, and boats were often damaged by storms. In 1612, a new port was built, and fishing vessels regularly crossed the Atlantic to fish off Newfoundland waters.
Did you know…?
There are two likely meanings for the origin of the name Portrieux. To understand, it is necessary to split the word into two syllables : Port and Rieux. "Rieu" means "fishing net", but it can also refer to controlled fires on hilltops that warned vessels that they were approaching land.
Portrieux lighthouse was exhibited as a prototype during the 1867 World’s Fair in Paris. It is an iron skeletal tower, 12 meters high above its base. The structure of the shell is formed from iron plates bolted with iron bolts. An iron staircase leads to the top. This lighthouse is associated with the industrial revolution and the use of new building materials such as cast iron, steel, and glass. It was built to a design by Léonce Raynaud.