/ Five days in Brittany

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Pete Houghton 25 Sep 2019

You're all a well-travelled, knowledgeable, handsome bunch, so I thought I'd throw this out for discussion.

From home to Dublin, to Holyhead, through Wales, to England, to Poole... then a ferry to Cherbourg. From Cherbourg, five days and nights to Roscoff, to Cork, and home.

We're in a campervan, with two tiny humans (nearly three, and nearly one), in the autumn, which is great cider and seafood season, but maybe not so much sunbathing. Fingers crossed though, eh?

So, what have been your favourite beaches, castles, orchards, outings, creperies, oyster bars, langoustieres, viviers, etc... in Brittany. Any car parks or laybys with great views of the Atlantic you can recommend? Have you been moved on in your own campervan from anywhere by the flic? How do I connect the leisure battery to the van battery? (That last one isn't specifically Britanny-related, but I need help with that as well. Thanks.)

Cheers for any advice, opinions, or anecdotes!

mbh 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

The food market in Rennes on Saturdays is awesome. 

I often go to Locquemeau near Lannion. The Cafe du Port there is nice, and the little beach just opposite,  on the eastern side of the Point du Dourven is lovely. In fact, so is the whole coastline up from Lannion all the way to St Michel en Greve. Le Yaudet has a great little beach, with plenty of parking at the top.

A bit more touristy, but also with a good beach/cafes is Locquirec, then along from there, though I haven't been for a while, at Plougasnou there is, or at least used to be a great cafe/bookshop on the beach. Cafe Caplin, I think.

The Cafe Tempo in Morlaix, going out on the eastern side of the river, among all the parked boats serves terrific food and is very French. Been there a few times.

Neil R 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

It’s about an hour from Roscoff but a good day out for the children is the aquarium at Brest, particularly if the weather isn’t good - Oceonopolis. 

dread-i 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

Just down from Cherbourg are the d-day beaches. Omaha beach is nice and sandy, for the kids to play on. Point du Hoc is just down the road. That's a pretty impressive site, with lots of interesting structures for your 3 year old to clamber on and explore.

felt 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

Check out the rose granite boulders at Ploumanac’h. It's dinosaur time. Yabba dabba doo!


balmybaldwin 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

I'm doing 4 days in Normandy next week... Normandy Beaches, St Mary Eglise, Le Mont Saint Michel, Rouen (prob too far east for you)

steveriley 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

Dinan is a lovely small town you may well be passing. Mont St Michel is essentially a Disney Castle brought to life. Second the granite boulders above, though you may get itchy fingers. Walk clockwise if you're not sure how long the little ones will last. Not particularly a Brittany thing but there that I discovered biere picon. Mm, beer.

quirky 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

Some lovely beaches on the western side of the cherbourg peninsula, lots of cool places to park a van down that way. You will be spoilt for choice in Brittany for nice beaches and places to stop in your camper. 

Pete Houghton 26 Sep 2019
In reply to dread-i:

You are not wrong at all, but the wife and I have been through Normandy a couple of times now and this time we are heading further west, specifically for the pancakes. Thanks though!

TMM 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

The Crozon peninsula is great. There is van parking at Pen Hir with amazing views of the the sea and fantastic cliffs to expolore. Nearby Camaret Sur Mer and Morgat have a loads of dining options. 

Ile vierge (Morgat) is an amazing little piece of Corsica tucked into the Bretagne landscape, well worth the exploration. 

Carnac is amazing as well.

Quimper has a wonderful market.

Hat Dude 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

Erquy on the Cote d'Emeraude is a nice little seaside town

Several really good beaches with the massive Plage de St Pabu to the west and smaller wilder coves to the east around the Cap d'Erquy

Some good places to eat seafood, it's evidently the Scallop capital of France  the season starts on 1st Oct

There's even some sport climbing in the Lac Bleu quarries above the town.

Post edited at 14:27
Carless 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

As you'll be passing by, have a stop here to enjoy free biscuit tasting https://www.maisondubiscuit.fr/gb/

and stop at this excellent down-to-earth restaurant https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g675377-d1826611-Reviews-La_Cale-Blainville_sur_Mer_Manche_Basse_Normandie_Normandy.html

Mont St Michel is well worth a visit as you'll be after the main tourist season and I seem to remember St Malo being pleasant and Dinan is great

GreatApe 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

Fougères has a great castle, and the curator has done a good job of telling it's story. The kid in me enjoyed it. At the foot of the castle is a creperie called Tivbaro, one of my favourites from 5 years over there.

Combourg also has a nice chateau.

Hédé is a great spot along the Rennes-Saint Malo Canal.

Cancale for your oysters.

Saint-Malo is obvious but a great place. If you've got a day there you can hire a kayak or a lesson on a catamaran for quite cheap (€30 for three hours when I was there).

Vannes is really nice, especially the islands in the Gulf of Morbihan. Amazing galettes in Quiberon (cooked in a simple looking place by a very old lady who is probably dead or 110 now. Can't remember the name!). Some gorgeous coastline between Vannes and Lorient.

If you head along the north coast it can be quite spectacular around Fort de la Latte, and then on to the Cote du Granit Rose around Perros Guirec.

Nantes is also an amazing city (part of historic, not modern Brittany) with a nice castle and this: https://www.lesmachines-nantes.fr/en/

I'll also second Dinan and the Saturday market in Rennes. You'll probably be around for the apple harvest when they sell amazing apple juice.

Stevie A 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

La Turballe is a cracking area, with an excellent sandy beach and plenty of parking. Nantes is a superb city, with the La Machine exhibits well worth a trip. Our little one was gobsmacked by the giant elephant wandering about!

Pete Houghton 26 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

Many thanks for all of the smashing suggestions guys, I've got a great big list of things to trawl across googlemaps for now. Huge help.

I moved from France around a year ago now, good god I am looking forward to being no more than a five minute walk away from one of the world's best bakeries.

mbh 28 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

I've just remembered, you mentioned castles: there is Chateau Tonquedec, a few miles south of Lannion. It is a splendid late medieval ruin.

Ciro 28 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

Re: leisure battery, simplest and cheapest setup is just to run a heavy duty cable positive to positive with an isolator switch in it, and then ground the leisure battery to the chassis. But you have to remember to isolate it when you turn the engine off.

Easiest "fire and forget" way is a voltage sensing split charge relay. You can buy kits for these, ready made up or in part form so you can cut the cables to size and fit your own cable ends. The split charge relay just sits in line between the two batteries, in place of the isolator, and will automatically shut off when the voltage drops.

You can also save a few quid with a dumb high current relay triggered by a low current smart relay, but VS is easiest.

Either way, make sure every lead that comes off the positive terminal of the battery is appropriately fused, at a rating that will protect the cable, as close as is practical to the battery. Buying a kit should ensure that you have the correctly rated fuses 🙂

Toerag 30 Sep 2019
In reply to Pete Houghton:

Grand Aquarium on the hill on the southern outskirts of St.Malo is v.good. Make sure you take the 'Nautibus' ride out the back.

Cite de la Mer in the old liner terminal in Cherbourg is good - massive exhibition on subsea exploration and a self-guided tour of a nuclear submarine.

St.Malo - nice town but very touristy. nice beaches outside the walls. Dinan is less commercialised and more old-worlde. Decent campsite by the river north of the town, but quite a walk up the hill into town.

Fort La Latte - if you've seen the 1958 film 'The vikings' it'll be of interest.

If you like war stuff go up to Cite D'aleth above St.Malo harbour - the museum/bunker tour inside is worth doing if you've not been in bunkers before. The steel turrets outside the walls there are impressive (look at the one overlooking the marina).

Can't recommend anything specific in terms of the dogging carparks you're looking for ;-), but you'll no doubt find stuff in the Siouville / Dielette area.

Pete Houghton 06 Oct 2019
In reply to Ciro:

Crikey, that was tricky, but I managed it in the end, and I haven't set fire to anything yet. If nothing else, I can chalk it all up to doing a better job with the next van.

Managed to hide most of the wiring behind ply and panels, too.

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