Nearby beach, usually swarmed by sunbathers and swell seekers, was uncommonly vacant. From a distance, it appeared as if she was resting in between undisturbed moments, so pure, so thoughtful and thus untouchable. The bright sun was high up in the sky, yet the sudden ocean breeze could steal the warmth at any moment.
I took Ericeira in my arms and twirled around the viewing platform. Her laugh was contiguously lighthearted, and her sun-kissed cheeks tasted salty-sweet. Our days in Brittany looked much like episodes from Endless Summer with no sense of time and with no responsibilities.
Our escape to sunny France at the end of the summer was a spontaneous one! Within hours, we booked our flights and accommodation and only then started researching more about the region and mainly relied on the official site for Brittany Tourism. This was our first time in the area, and after a week on the road, we realised, sure enough, not the last one.
To be honest, we are complete novices when it comes to France, for years we have associated this part of the world with Eiffel Tower, French baguettes and its residents sucking vulnerable snails out of their shallow shells.
However, isn’t that one of the primary justifications why we board planes; to strip away stereotypes and to crush inaccurate misconceptions? And the more I think about travel as a way of optimising and infusing unique experiences in my life – in a process becoming more surefooted and courageous – the more I realise how much joy comes from expanding our knowledge.
Our road trip Highlights
If you are looking for a beautiful place to visit in France, that’s rich with history and incredible views, add Brittany to your list. One thing we learned while traversing through Brittany – there’s no definitive answer or formula that defines a great travel experience.
Visiting famous tourist attractions can be a dream come trough moment for many but the kindness of people, feeling at home while on the road and feeling the thrill of the open road ranks pretty high on our list too.
- Medieval Dinan Town and incredible ramparts & fresh and organic local produce
- Breakfast in Quimper and half-timbered houses & stunning sunsets over a Golfe de Morbihan
- Visiting Brittanies capital city-Rennes & meeting friendly locals
- Practising slow travel & savouring every single moment
- Learning to be in a moment & appreciating life as a whole
The Most Epic Family Road Trip Ever-Exploring Beautiful Brittany, France
In this blog post, we want to share our love for the north-west part of France. Our escape to France was all about half-timbered houses, cobbled streets, sunsets and family time.
We started our journey in Nantes, followed by visits to Vannes, Lorient, Pontorson, Mont.St. Michael and Rennes.
Even though we managed to drive too many kilometres in such a short period, we had the best road trip ever. Below we share 3 main reasons that made this trip unfold without a hitch.
#1. Finding much needed natural tranquillity
Visiting Brittany or Bretagne in French, located in the northwest region of France, was a warm reprieve from Ireland. Every inch of the rugged coastline, dotted with the most unusual lighthouses we have ever seen, was tourist-friendly and constant sunshine made us appreciate every single detail.
The soft and subtle tones of the sunsets and endless views over the Bay of Biscay provided much needed natural tranquillity and some real downtime.
There is no doubt, certain places can leave a mark on us; our fascination with Brittany remained long after we dropped off a rented car and landed back in Ireland.
Every time we go away, we find ourselves beside or very near the water. I love how the ocean has this mystically astounding power to fill our heads with big dreams and ability to ignite our souls with boundless curiosity.
I trust my heart, and I follow my conscience to question everything in life around us. Most of the time, I seem to find answers whenever we are beside the ocean. Maybe it is the extra vitamin D, perhaps it’s the coastal energy, but as Kurt Vonnegut once said:
”In the water I am beautiful.”
#2. Encountering beautiful sights in Clohars-Carnoët
We started our journey in Nantes and drove to Clohars-Carnoët region, were the cutest Airbnb house with a tiny garden, not too far from the beach, was waiting for us.
As soon as we swerved off the main road, we gazed out at the ocean and then back at each other, happily beaming and giggling. Not knowing what beauty the next bay and coastal stretch were hiding, made us drive for hours and hours, it was just too pretty to leave.
It is impossible to skip this part of the Brittany as it is loaded with unmissable sights. Perfect creeks, beautifully unspoiled beaches, sleepy little villages where you can watch locals carrying out their daily chores and wave goodbye to fishers going off to catch fish.
Clohars-Carnoët is one of 16 little towns located in Quimperle region, and places of interest include Doëlan’s lighthouses, Kercousquet’s mill, Promontory Fort and more.
#3. Savouring tonnes of fresh and organic foods
We loved our visits to the authentic farmer’s markets, taking place all year round on every Saturday, where fresh bread, olives, and big juicy melons were up for sale. We are fanatic about wholesome, traditional foods, and love to find out how they are made and eaten.
Twirling through the markets provided a sense of appreciation of how fortunate we are to travel the world together where we can support flourishing farmers and learn more about various cultures while interacting with locals.
A classic pair of wine and cheese aside, the gastronomical delicatessen in this particular French region cannot be brushed sideways.
Whether you consume food merely due to hunger or take real pleasure in sampling different dishes, in Brittany, it can and should be enjoyed slowly with flat oysters of Bélon, fresh shellfish and traditional pancakes called crêpes and galettes.
Made from flour, milk, eggs and melted butter the traditional crêpe used to be the main meal in the region. Nowadays you can get them filled with either sweet or savoury fillings and then wash it away with a well-balanced Breton cider.
Where to stay in Brittany
When it comes to accommodation, we almost always use Airbnb for numerous reasons, and Brittany was no exception. Airbnb is a fantastic accommodation search engine, and we can always find something that fits our budget and needs.
As we spend most of our holiday time outdoors, exploring surroundings, we love to book simple or even basic accommodation where we can make breakfast, sleep and shower(what else would you need anyway?)
Brittany has no shortage of excellent accommodations. Beautifully restored traditional French chateaus, crowd-pleasing villas, cute cottages, that feel warm and welcome as well as plenty of budget-friendly guesthouses and campsites.
How to get to Brittany
To get to Brittany, we opted for a flight with a budget airline Ryanair from Dublin to Nantes and rented a car to travel through the French landscape. You can also fly into Brest and Dinard airports from the UK with low-cost airlines like Flybe and Cityjet.
Its proximity to Uk and Ireland means there are daily ferry crossings from Poole and Portsmouth to Saint-Malo and Roscoff, and from Cork and Rosslare to Roscoff. This way you can bring your own car, motorhome or caravan with you.
You can also travel by a high-speed train from London to Rennes, via Paris in just under 5 hours.
Tips, Hints, and things to do in Brittany
- Renting a car and going for a road trip is the best way to explore the region as motorways connecting cities are in perfect conditions and aren’t tolled if compared to the rest of France.
- Explore fabulous Pink Granite Coast along the northern side of Brittany, go for a walk around Crozone Peninsula or wander around walls of the fortified town of Saint-Malo.
- Brittany is a simple place to navigate. If renting a car isn’t possible, you can base yourself in one town and make small side trips to nearby villages and towns.
- There is an abundance of beautifully preserved towns scattered around the region like award-winning Rochefort-en-Terre, Roscoff with appealing architectural heritage and Auray with a beautiful harbour.
- Brittany is well-known for healing thalassotherapy centres where a combination of seaweed extract, curative mud, and mineral-rich seawater will leave you revived and full of energy.
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Now, over to you!
Have you been to Brittany? Let us know in the comments below!
Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Brittany and have travel-related questions!