The Crozon Peninsular in Brittany
July 11, 2012 at 9:17 PM
I've been on the lookout for more interesting places that you can explore while taking a driving holiday in France. I've been reading with interest about the Crozon Peninsular in Brittany, it’s a place I’ve personally never been to, but I've just added it to my list of places to visit.
The fact that it's situated in Brittany is a positive as they don't have toll roads in Brittany currently!
If you are thinking of driving down from Calais then it is a very long drive and depending on how and what you drive it can take anything between seven to ten hours, not including breaks. The route you choose will make a difference and how keen you are to avoid toll roads.
I believe its possible to get there without going through too many toll booths. A16 to Boulogne-sur-Mer, A16 to Abbeville, A28 gets you to Rouen, A13 to Caen, A84 finally to Avranches.
Anyway I've found an excellent blog post all about the area written by Maria Richardson who owns a beautiful house in the stunning countryside of central Finistère, which is located on the western tip of Brittany. It is very near to the Parc naturel régional d'Armorique and Huelgoat. If you are interested in staying in one of Marias 2 holiday lets' you can find her contact details under the blog post at the bottom of the page.
Blog Post Starts Here:
Beautiful views of the Crozon Peninsular in Brittany
A wonderful discovery during our latest trip to Brittany was "le belvédères" or places with a beautiful view. A great thing about staying in one area is being able to explore without any particular agenda or time constraints. One day we headed west to the Crozon Peninsular. The peninsular is known in French as Presqu'île de Crozon - presqu'île meaning 'almost an island' which I find a much more romantic description than peninsular - maybe that's why they say French is the language of love! Anyway I digress; as we neared the foot of the peninsular we saw a sign marked 'Belvédère' indicating a viewpoint so I quickly swung off in the direction indicated. After a few doubtful minutes we were rewarded with a panoramic view over a wide sweeping bend of the River Aulne. Time for a morning coffee break! The weather was a little overcast and Menez-Hom was swathed in cloud on the distant horizon, but it was warm and dry so we happily sat there for half an hour drinking in the view. We noticed an 18km walk called 'Circuit des deux rivières' signposted from the viewpoint - we will definitely be returning to do that one day!
We drove on to our destination for the morning which was Landévennec Abbey, after a brief diversion when we spied a young bird of prey, attempting and failing to photograph is successfully - it wouldn't sit still for us, how thoughtless!
Abbaye de Landévennec was founded by one of Brittany's greatest saints, Guénolé. It is located on the Aulne where it enters the Bay of Brest. Now only ruins remain of the abbey which was founded in the 5th century. It has been attacked and destroyed many times, first by Vikings and finally ruined as a result of the French Revolution.
There is an interesting museum which displays artefacts found on the site as well as models of the abbey as it was in different periods of time. A new abbey was built further up the hill in 1958 and the re-installed Benedictine monks make pâtés de fruits (fruit jellies) which are on sale in the gift shop. It is also supposedly the last resting place of King Gradlon, the legendary 5th century king of Cornouaille. For most of our visit we had the site to ourselves which allowed us to soak up the peaceful atmosphere.
On our way into the village we had spotted a signpost indicating another belvédère - we were getting good at this! After an obligatory stop in the Abbey's gift shop we headed up the hill until we found the viewpoint. It was an ideal place for our picnic lunch as there was a perfectly placed bench handily awaiting us. The wooded viewpoint overlooked a ship graveyard which was tucked away in a bend of the Aulne. It is used by the French Navy (Marine Nationale) for storing decommissioned or mothballed ships. The abandoned ships looked lost and lonely in their picturesque graveyard.
After lunch we headed to the other side of the peninsular to Pointe de Lostmarc'h which overlooks Douarnenez Bay. Our target was the Lostmarc'h alignements which sit above the headland. There are not many of the original standing stones left but there is one rather large one on its own which lent itself to a very picturesque photo, with hopeful surfers forming tiny dots in the background.
On the headland itself you can see the traces of an Iron Age fort. Looking to the left of the point you have a wonderful view of the Tas de Pois (pile of peas) rock formation which can be found at the end of the peninsular near Camaret. This time we had afternoon tea whilst watching the waves crashing at the foot of the vertiginous cliffs, undisturbed except for a couple of elderly walkers who wished us a cheery 'bonjour'.
It was time to head back east as we were due to meet up with some friends who have purchased a "project" not far from the beautiful town of Locronan which is famous for its Pardon. We went for a quick stroll on the lovely wide beach at Morgat which was originally a fishing village famous for its sardines. It was turned into a holiday resort by the Peugeot family in the early 20th century and still a very popular holiday destination. The colourful houses and shops of the village provided an attractive contrast to the white sandy beach.
We stopped for a quick hamburger and frites at a little open beach cafe at Pentrez Plage which is the closest beach to Ty Hir. The beach seems to go on for miles and the tide was right out - it took us around five minutes to walk to the water's edge. There is a sand yachting club at the far end of the beach, Club de Char à Voile de Pentrez where they provide lessons. The burgers were excellent and we will happily return to the cafe on our next visit which will hopefully be a bit more leisurely next time.
We joined our friends for a drink at their "project" which consisted of a 3 storey house, a huge stone barn and an even bigger stable block set on 3 acres. They have just started work on the house and are camping in a bedroom which they are also using as a kitchen and living room with no electricity. They are hoping to open as a B&B next year and have a huge amount of work to do, most of which they are doing themselves whilst living in the UK until they sell their house. We will be watching their progress with interest; they are braver souls than us who took on a property that had already been renovated.
We wished them 'bonne chance' and took our leave with a quick stop in the lovely riverside town of Châteaulin which lies on a loop of the River Aulne. It is renowned for its salmon fishing and offers a panorama of white and pastel coloured houses interspersed the hills of the Montagnes Noires forming a delightful backdrop.
Blog Post ends.
If you are interested in either of Maria's two holiday lets you can visit her website here: http://www.lostinfinistere.com/index.html
The blog post can be found here. On the website there are some very nice photos of the places mentioned in the post. Such as, Landévennec Abbey, the Ship graveyard at Landévennec on the river Aulne, Lostmarc'h alignement menhir, the beach at Morgat, and Pentrez Plage.
The photo above shows the Brittany Holiday Lets.
The Crozon Peninsular in Brittany is well worth a trip if you are anywhere near the area while driving in France. Lot's to see and do for people of all ages and tastes and it would appear to be a great base for a holiday in France.