Monday, 23 July 2012

Camping in Northern Western Brittany

We had a recent camping holiday in the North Western area of Brittany - the area is called Finistère (Finis - Terre - or "end of the world"). Just like Lands End in Cornwall ! 

It is an area of coves and inlets and lovely white beaches. We had chosen to go to this area as it was our first expedition to France with our dog and we didnt want to take her to an area where temperatures would be too high. Mind you with Summer 2012 I think we would have been safe to go anywhere ! We had visited this area in the past and were looking forward to exploring it again. In fact we didn't travel very far and enjoyed numerous dog walks and coastal walks around Carantec, Roscoff and on the Ile de Batz and Ile Caillot.

Carantec has at least two lovely sandy beaches including the Plage du Kelenn main beach, which has some pizza/creperie restaurants overlooqking it. if the tide is in, and you are brave enough then you can dive in from the diving board into the clear blue sea.

You can also hire a beach hut, something I have always wanted to do !  There is a sailing school, which runs classes in a weekly basis during the main French school holiday period, early July to late August. Children can learn to sail a dinghy or a catamaran. If you want to take advantage of this, it is probably better to book in advance as it can get booked up for certain weeks.  A market takes place in Carantec each Thursday morning and has some excellent local produce from the local organic farm as well as some great fish and shellfish that has been caught locally. To get around during the French school holidays (early July and August), a free bus service runs in the town.

A campsite we recommend in this area is Les Mouettes :

The GR34 coastal walk goes around the Carantec coast, along the cliffs, past the beaches and beautiful holiday houses and then on past the oyster farms and the Prat Ar-Coum oyster and seafood sellers.

Ile Caillot
A more adventurous day out from Carantec is to make the crossing to Ile Caillot, an island which is cut off by the tide except for two to three hours at low tide.  The causeway at Low tide is shown in this photograph :

Ile Caillot has a small chapel and some lovely beaches. However if you are going to make the crossing please ensure you have the tide times or preferably go on an organised walk ! The tide times are displayed at the start of the causeway.

The granite walls of Roscoff have stood here for centuries, welcoming seafarers. It was at this port that the young Marie Stuart arrived at the age of 6 to become Queen of Scotland and France. You may recognise her more commonly as " Mary Queen of Scots"! We ate in the lovely Marie Stuart restaurant, which you will find near the seafront.  The fishing harbour is backed by some streets with lovely shops and restaurants. You can take a ferry to the lovely Island of Ile de batz. The main ferry port for the Brittany ferries ships is set slightly round from the fishing port and pier at the more modern ferry terminal and the new marina that opened in 2012.

Ile de Batz
Take the ferry to this island from Roscoff. The island has some lovely beaches, houses and farms where you will see onions growing and the potatoes which are hand picked in the fields. The ferry service runs half hourly during the summer months and you can hire a bike once you are on the island. There are some creperies and cafes on the island. The ferry takes dogs.

About five miles from the open sea, at the head of the winding river Morlaix, you will find the ancient, medieval town of Morlaix, which is dominated by the high and dramatic viaduct which arches over the town.. It has a marina that is in a locked basin. There are cobbled streets, boats and yachts, numerous shops, half timbered houses, cafes etc. which all make an interesting day out. You can walk over the viaduct (not right along the top, about half way up there is a perfectly safe walkway). Our favourite shop here is the patisserie which we found listed in the petit fute.

St Pol de Leon
This is a very nice town based around the cathedral. Our favourite shop here is the bookshop "Livres in Room" which has a good selection of books, as well as a small section of English books. However,what sets it apart from a normal bookshop is the lovely Salon de the serving all sorts of teas, (coffees, chocolate and juice too!) as well as lovely cakes and flans. You can sit out in the tea garden as well.

Voies vertes
There is a voie verte green cycle route which runs between Morlaix and Roscoff. It is part of a wider network of routes. However, the section which can be joined fairly near the Les Mouettes campsite and runs to Roscoff (about 11 miles ?) is apparently off road on an old railway route. The weather was too wet the day we planned to try this. However we had seen the sign for it at the road very near to the entrance to a campsite and a shop selling local produce. However please take care as this is a very fast road to cross. From Morlaix, you can join the route if you park the car adjacent to the yacht marina/harbour and you wil see signs to join the route about 500metres downriver from the viaduct.

Go Back to Best French Campsites

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments ? Latest News on this ?