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

Posts tagged ‘What to do in Brittany’

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

One of the best things to do in Morlaix

I have already commented briefly on the local all day trip from Morlaix called “A fer et a flots”  Look at a my previous blogs dated 18 April and 1 May 2011.  The trip has been documented by the French TV channel TF1 and is well worth looking at.  If you cannot speak any French, please do not worry as I am sure you will get the gist of the whole thing, the pictures and the happy faces tell the story very well.  Really it is a fabulous day out ~ to be recommended ~ It is rated with the Taylor’s **** stars!

Chateau de Taureau

Click here to see the video

Roscoff

To recap on the day’s adventure:

You will leave Morlaix either by boat or by train, dependant upon the time and state of the tides.

You will go to Roscoff, a charming little town and well worth the visit on its own.  Do not think this is just a ferry port and ignore it.

You will go to the Isle de Batz, a great place to walk around, to hire bicycles, to enjoy the eating places or just go to the beach.

You will pass the island bird sanctuaries, the super little light house called Isle Louet and the Chateau du Taureau.  The chateau is a formidable fortress built especially to keep the English out !  Again this is a great visit in its own right. It has been renovated to a high standard.

You will come home after a very interesting, entertaining and super family day out, and maybe even a little tired.

The must haves are ~ warm clothes to wear on the boat (just in case) and sun tan cream.

Isle de Batz

Food is not included on the trip so be prepared with your own picnic or choose somewhere to eat on the Isle de Batz.

Click here for more info and to book.

Tour de Bretagne ~ Classic Car Rally June 2011

A small fleet of about 30 classic cars from England began their Tour de Bretagne this morning Friday 24 June from the centre of  St Pol de Leon in Finistere.  The cars were all post second world war and varied in condition and type.  I noted two early short wheel base Land Rovers, some MGA 1600s, a couple of Austin Healey 3000s, a Nissan Pau, a Volvo P1800, a more modern Aston Martin, A very unusual Royale Sabre (one of only 78 built). a Triumph Spitfire, and a lovely TR3.  They were accompanied by a Brit Assist breakdown van ~ I hope that it is not needed.

Our guests with their immaculate TR3

A Royale Sabre

The event will be a fantastic way of taking your classic car on a little tour with like minded people and with some interesting cars .  I was curious to see the tulip map routing used by the entrants.  I guess that this is a standard method of rapid map reading on a rally of this sort.  I have to say that I am a bit old fashioned and like a good old map!  What happens when you get lost?  Where do you stay on these little jaunts?

The tour will take in some lovely parts of Brittany and end up each day in Treguier, itself a great place to go.  I must get switched onto events like this.  It would be fun to join in with my Citroen 2CV.  See more photos

MG A 1600 & Triumph Spitfire

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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