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

Posts tagged ‘Cahateaux and manor houses to visit in Finistere’

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

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

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