Jenny and Stafford's amazing blog site ~ http://www.gites-morlaix.com/

Posts tagged ‘Brittany walks’

Belle-Isle-En-Mer, a great place for a quiet holiday

La grande Phare ~ Kervilahouen, Belle Isle en Mer

Go and visit one of the largest and most beautiful islands off the south coast of Brittany ~ Belle-Isle-en-Mer.  Just before we went Jenny and I had spent a very concentrated period of time, refurbishing our larger gite, “L’Ecurie”, plus a bedroom in the manor house, and had the busiest April in our B&B ever.  Basically we wanted a quiet holiday close by, to recover.  We chose to go to Belle-Isle-en-Mer and to go to a hotel with a good reputation ~ La Desirade.

We made some good choices!  Belle-Isle-en-Mer is a charming little island, only about 20 kilometers long, not much traffic, lots of fabulous walks, deserted beautiful beaches, and with it’s own weather pattern.  La Desirade was very comfortable, the staff very friendly and efficient and the breakfasts and dinners yummy!

Le Palais, the main entry point to the island (and notional capital, I think) is a lovely little town dominated by the the Vauban Citadelle.  This is an enormous fort, of complex design, now containing a museum and an upmarket hotel/restaurant.  We spent a large proportion of the first day wandering around the battlements and the museum.  There are lots of interesting exhibits and paintings, and did you know the English once owned the island and did a swap with France for the island of Minorca!

Beach at Donnant, Belle Isle en Mer

As a sailor I had always wanted to sail and moor in Ster Vraz on the west coast of Belle Isle.  Needless to say I have yet to do this, but did go and see it this time and was entranced.  It does not seem so small as the charts would have you believe.  On the first visit the wind was blowing very strongly from the east, yet boats were coming in and out in complete calm.

The coastal paths are extensive and at the weekend were very well used by walkers and mountain bikers.  The beaches were deserted though and we spent most of one day on one beach and shared it with one other couple.  So, in summary, go to Belle Isle, out of high season, and have a happy and wonderfully relaxing holiday.

Co to Citadel Vauban web site

Go to Belle Isle web site

The harbour at Le Palais – Belle Isle en Mer

Click for more photos of our holiday

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Isle de Brehat ~ a quick visit

One of the most beautiful islands off the North coast of Britany is called the Isle de Brehat.  It is found on the coast of  the Cotes d’Armor just north of Paimpol, and about a one hour drive from Morlaix.  The approach to the departure point is well sign posted from the centre of Paimpol and the view from the top of the cliffs just before you arrive at the quay is truly fabulous, and even more amazing at low tide.  The boat trip across to the island takes about ten minutes and is very pleasant.

Approaching Le Port Clos ~ Isle de Brehat

The island itself has few if any cars, it is warm, luxuriant and criss crossed by tiny sheltered lanes, that are wonderful to explore.  The pink granite rocks and the pine trees, echiums and other wonderful flowers are a joy to behold.  You cannot help but be taken back in time and wonder if they could tell some interesting stories.

Press here for a map

Jenny and I took our friends Chris and Diana for a quick visit to the island on the last day of May, in between guests leaving in the morning and others arriving in the early evening.  The weather was very kind to us, and we were extremly lucky to arrive in time to walk onto a ferry and get to the island for about 11:30.  We had to leave by 15:00, but it was enough time to walk around the main part of the island and have a picnic too.  There are lots of places to hire  bicycles at a reasonable prices, and I think that this will be a good idea for next time.

Jenny and I can thoroughly recommend a trip to this island ~ we all had a great day out and shall return.

Some more photos ~ click here

Manoir de Coat Amour

View west from La Chapelle Saint Michel

La Chapelle Saint Michel, Isle de Brehat

Two More Walks and places of interest

PLOUMANACH

I love to go to Ploumanac’h.  The little port is beautiful and for a sailor, the entrance into the harbour looks awesome.  If you decide to go and have a look for your yourselves, I suggest trying to park in the port area, as there are plenty of spaces to park.  Then follow the road (anti-clockwise round the port) and then right up the foot path near the Bureau du Port. You will then have a super little walk around the headland and back into the centre of Ploumanac’h.  There is a lovely little statue near the top of the beach.  It will attract you with its round shape … As you approach, you notice there is a small monument: the oratory of Saint-Guirec. This curious edifice, built on a pile of rocks and submerged by the waves at high tide, originated in the 12th century.

Chateau Coastaeres a Ploumanach

The statue of Saint Guirec was very popular with sailors’ wives who came to pray for the return of their husbands, and he was admired as much by the girls.
A caption read,  that if they were able to stick a needle in the nose of the saint who sat there, they would be married within the year.  The original wooden statue became so damaged that the parish eventually replaced this with a copy statue made of granite.

Admire the chateau on the island off the beach.  Enjoy a fantastic ‘fruit de mer’ in the cafe overlooking the beach.  Walk a little further around the footpath (Sentier des Douarniers) towards Perros Guirec and have a close look at the little lighthouse and the fantastic lifeboat station in the cove around the corner.  If you are exhausted, there is a shortcut back to your car using the roads via the centre of the village.

Les Sept Iles, or the seven islands, are one of the most important bird sancturies in Brittany. These islands lie just off the coast and you will see them on this walk.  Half – day boat trips leave from Perros Guirec and Ploumanac’h. The islands are home to many species including puffins and petrels. www.armor-decouverte.fr

See more photos here

ISLE DE BATZ

This little island is just offshore from the town of Roscoff.  If you came to Brittany via Roscoff ferry terminal you will have passed it by on the way in.  From the centre of the town take a water taxi from the port to the island. It is a 10 ~ 15 minute trip.  On the island you will find bicycles for hire, or in less than a full day you can walk around the island and soak up the atmosphere of the sea and land together.  It is a super place to go with some nice restaurants and you can climb up the lighthouse tower and enjoy the view.

Next weekend, 29 May 2011,  is the local festival of the pommes de terres (potatoes).  These are early spuds and they are small but delicious.  Look at these websites:-

Porz Kernok ~ Isle de Batz

www.iledebatz.net

Dimanche 29 mai, a fer a flots  sera sur l’île de Batz pour la fête de la pomme de terre. Apéro paysan, expositions, ventes de légumes.. Il reste des places.  On Sunday 29 May a Feraflot trip will be going to the festival of the first crop of potatoes.  There will be an exhibition and sale of vegetables.

There are still some places remaining on this trip ~ hurry now!

See more photos here

Our web site ~ www.gites-morlaix.com

Small Walks and Things to do and see

New knee bits

You know, I find that getting on a bit in years does make life a bit difficult sometimes. It is especially so when you still think like a 21 year old ~ well nearly !!  Well I have had to have a new knee, Jenny has had her toes done and so for us walking long distances is just not on.  So I thought that those readers with sympathetic traits might like some ideas for a gentle day out.


A gentle walk near Carentec

We can lend you some detailed maps to help you with your enjoyment.

Isle de Louet ~ lighthouse

It takes about 15 minutes to drive to Carentec along the beautiful coast road via Loquenole.  On approaching the centre of Carantec turn right at the second round about towards the Point de Penlan.  You will drive through a lovely suburban part of Carantec, straight across a mini roundabout until you reach the tennis club on the left.  Park just beyond this on the right and retrace your steps until you are opposite the tennis club.  Here you will find a rather overgrown Arboretum.  Entrance is free and you can walk down through the arboretum to the coast.  You will arrive at the bottom of the hill on a road/coastal path.  Here there is an Oyster farm shop selling delicious oysters and other crustaceans.  If that is not for you, walk east along the footpath (turn left at the base of the hill).  After some while you will pass the end of the promontary with amazing views across the Baie de Morlaix toward the Château du Taureau and the little lighthouse on the Isle de Louet.  In the distance, across the bay, is Terenez and Le Diben, whilst on the horizon you can just see Treburden.  If this is enough walking for you, follow the footpath directly up the hill to your car.  If not continue on the coastal path.  At the next headland it is again possible to return directly to your car.  Continue on the coastal path and you will find yourselves on the lovely main beach at Carantec and a selection of beach side cafes where you can  quench your thirst and or hunger.

Baie de Morlaix ~ from Roscoff

Château du Taureau

I think that this is a must see if you are going to stay at Coat Amour for any time.  In the medaeval times the English and French sailors of a piratical disposition spent some of their time raiding each other’s ports.  The Château du Taureau was built in XVI century to keep the English out of Morlaix.  It is a very special place, well restored, and a superb example of a defensive castle.  You should go and see it,  children and adults alike will enjoy the experience.  Parts of the château are subtly annotated  in English as well as French and you will understand the history of the place.  Boat trips go to the château from  Carentec, Roscoff and Plougasnou (Port du Deben).   See www.chateaudutaureau.com for further info.

Chateau du Taureau

Loquirec

This is a super seaside town with a little port, and excellent sandy safe beach and some good cafes/restaurants.  In fact something for most relaxed holiday makers.  It is only twenty minutes by car from Coat Amour.  For a good post lunch walk we suggest leaving the port and following the road past the church and the post office out toward the point.  The views towards St Michel en Greve and Treburden are marvellous and the going easy.  This little walk takes you anti clockwise around the coast and brings you back to the large north facing beach on the far side of the town.  It is a short walk back to the port via the church.

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