La Roche-Derrien is a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department in Brittany, located 17 km east of Lannion and about 10 km from the coast of the English Channel and the Côte d'Ajoncs.
The geography of the site, a rocky promontory overlooking the bottom of the Jaudy estuary, where tidal sea water mingles with the fresh water of the coastal river, explains the history of the territory. From the Gallo-Roman period it became a castle town before a castle was erected in the Middle Ages, with a defensive purpose, to prevent any maritime invasion and to protect the first commercial exchanges. In 1347, however, during the war of succession to the duchy of Brittany, the troops of Jean de Monfort, allied to the English, won a decisive battle at La Roche-Derrien over those of Charles de Blois, allied to the French. Later the famous Du Guesclin receives in reward of services rendered to the king of France the lordship of La Roche-Derrien and would have come to settle there. However, the prosperity of the city remains, considered until the middle of the twentieth century as one of the most active in the historical region of Trégor (Shops, slate, flax work). Its historical and authentic heritage in the heart of a territory with the preserved environment makes La Roche-Derrien, which has a good thousand inhabitants and has been labeled "Small City of Character", a pleasant stage.
A discovery of the locality goes through a walk in the medieval heart of the city. The names are evocative ("place of the pillory", "alley of the English"...) and one can still admire there many half-timbered houses of wood of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.
At the top of the old feudal mound, a viewpoint on the Jaudy estuary and the loop of its upstream course is not to be missed.
Continue the visit of La Roche-Derrien by the church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, classified. In the Romanesque and Gothic style, its oldest parts date back to the 13th century. The important surface of the choir and the suite of chapels made it in its time an edifice in the measure of its lords. Inside, the stained-glass windows recount two episodes in the history of the city: the martyrdom of his patron Saint Catherine of Alexandria and the capture of Charles of Blois during the battle of 1347. The organs would come from the abbey From Westminster to London after passing through the cathedral of Saint-Brieuc. Restored from 1992 to 2002, they contain the oldest pipes of Brittany. Free visits between 10am and 6pm. Continue by La Maladrerie, a hospital founded in the 13th century by Geoffroy, Lord of Kersaliou, on his return from the crusade. A large high chapel on the second floor served as a courtroom for the seneschals and disappeared in the 19th century. Its remains are integrated in the building which now hosts the Tourist Office. The new facilities have preserved the medieval spirit of the place.
Also worth seeing is the Chapelle du Calvaire on the feudal mound, on the site of the old donjon, as well as the chapel Saint-Jean, erected in the 12th century by the Templars, and the Notre-Dame A pity that reminds passersby of the famous battle of 1347.
A trail of interpretation of the patrimony allows to apprehend the history of the city. Information: +33 2 96 91 59 40 from May to September and +33 2 96 92 22 33 from October to April.
As for nature, in the city itself, the Jaudy and its banks offer the walkers a change of scenery that makes it possible to discover the remains of the old port. As for the garden of the presbytery, it gathers the plants once grown in the Trégor (linen, rye, spelled, clover...) and has a traditional orchard. From this place, one enjoys an amazing view on the lower city.
For larger hiking trails, starting or including La Roche-Derrien and its surroundings, many trails and circuits have been designed for walkers or mountain bikers. Some are heading towards the coast, others are thematic. Brochures, maps and information at +33 2 96 91 59 40 from May to September and +33 2 96 92 22 33 from October to April.
It is also possible to contact the local association for group walks on +33 2 96 91 51 59.
Finally, there is another way to discover the natural environment and the landscape: canoeing. For leisure or more sporting walks, please call +33 2 96 91 51 48 and +33 6 88 65 09 97.
The fourth Saturday in April, Jaudy flea market.
The 3rd Sunday of May, Salon de Fait Main à la Maladrerie.
The 4th Saturday in July, a large flea market in the center.
On the last Sunday of July, with the association Couleurs de Bretagne, contest and exhibition of paintings and drawings to enhance the Breton heritage.
On the second Monday in August, the Faux Druide. An appointment under the sign of humor where storytellers coexist, sessions of hypnosis, market of yesteryear, traditional songs.
The first weekend of September, Ker Roch en Fête is synonymous with festivities for the whole city. On the program, fairgrounds, concerts and fireworks on Saturday, street shows on Sunday.
Finally, all the year round, a market takes place on Friday morning, Place du Martray: an opportunity to discover the gastronomic delights of the Breton terroir... and the sea.