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South Brittany Break April 2017


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Just returned from a South Brittany break using BF’s 20% off offer. Outbound sailing was last Sunday on Bretagne where we were allocated a 4 berth cabin on deck 2 which was fine. This was our first sailing aboard Bretagne for a couple of years and I have to say that the ship is wearing her years very well, she is still a classy experience and well maintained. Arrival at St Malo on Monday was in really thick fog, you could barely make out the sea from the after deck. I followed our progress on Google Maps on my phone and the ship pirouetted in near zero visibility before reversing onto the berth. The fog was so thick that the breakwater end could only just be seen as a shadow as we passed it although the bell was ringing frantically.

Once ashore the fog lifted slightly and we stopped off at the new Intermarche at La Richardais for a bit of shopping before carrying on with our journey. Once inland the fog largely lifted and we continued on via Lamballe to join the main road towards St Brieuc before peeling off to head south west to Quimper. We made very good progress and had time for a quick look around some of our original Brittany holiday haunts 30 years ago around Combrit before carrying on to our hotel in Benodet, the Abbatiele adjacent to the quayside. This is a typical 3 star French provincial hotel, not luxurious but comfortable and clean and everything worked plus the staff were very friendly. It also has a large free courtyard car park. Breakfast is continental as one would expect but a good choice of items and the bread was still warm. No complaints there.

Tuesday was a bit overcast with sunny periods and we drove to Concarneau and then on to Pont Aven, both attractive destinations. Dinner was taken in a local restaurant near the hotel which was OK but rather overpriced and with slow service.

Weather on Wednesday was much improved so we made a day of it by driving down to Quiberon where the sun really came out. We drove out to the end of the peninsula and walked to the orientation table. Absolutely beautiful weather and the beaches are every bit as good as you could find in the Caribbean except that you might need a dry suit to venture into the water! We drove off the peninsula via the Cote Sauvage where there was a strong swell coming in off the Atlantic with spectacular surf. Lunch, (a baguette), was taken on Carnac seafront after which we visited the Alignments and I took a few photos of the Menhirs from the observation tower. These days the stones are fenced off but when we originally visited you could just walk among them.

Next stop was Etel and St Cado’s Isle. If you have not visited this then be sure to do so as it is an absolute scenic gem which we have been to many times. It never disappoints with its perfect location and beautiful little church. A real bucket list place in our opinion.

On Thursday we decided to go the other way and drove up the coast stopping at Loctudy and then on to Penmarche.  We continued on to the Pointe du Raz but balked at the expensive car park fee and diverted to the Baie de Trespasses nearby instead which is probably more scenic. Then it was back to Benodet via Dourarnez. By this time we had found a somewhat cheaper place to eat on the seafront for our evening meal.

Our return crossing on Friday was from Caen and the online route planners suggested using the motorways via Rennes. However, returning the way we had come was some 20 odd miles less so we decided to head up to St Brieuc and pick up the main road there. This worked out well as we maintained around 55 mph across country before joining the motorway. Our only mistake was to try to cut across from Villers Bocage after Avranches instead of either following the coast from Bayeux  or simply continuing on to Caen. We lost at least 45 minutes messing around on the local roads but still made the ferry port with plenty of time to spare to board Mont St Michel.

It is a while since we have been on MSM but the ship remains smart and comfortable although perhaps lacking the character of Bretagne.

Summary: BF cost was £417 for ferry, outbound 4 berth cabin and then 4 nights B&B at Benodet. Additional costs were fuel and food. We bought filled baguettes for lunch at around 4 Euros each and evening meals averaged around 50 Euros including a 50cl pichet of decent wine.

Conclusion, a great short break at an excellent price. – recommended!

Bay of the Dead DTR.JPG

Benodet (1) DTR.JPG

Benodet (3) DTR.JPG

Carnac DTR.JPG

Concarneau DTR.JPG

Pont Aven (1) DTR.JPG

Pont Aven (2) DTR.JPG

Quiberon (1) DTR.JPG

Quiberon (2) DTR.JPG

Quiberon (3) DTR.JPG

Scrubbers.JPG

St Cado Isle DTR.JPG

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Great report thank you

We went to Benodet in Nov last year,  the weather looked similar stayed at same hotel and fell in love with the area.  We had been to Vannes and Carnac before and further North but not Benodet.  We enjoyed our run back and like you turned off at Villars Bocage but headed for Bayeaux and it seemed ok.    Likewise seemed great value and fun for us

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Great photos ... love Benodet .... We are going back again in July .... see a pic there of Concarneau .... I love the old town inside the walls .... weather looks nice for April ... is it warming up nicely ?

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Yes, it was quite warm. It is a lovely part of the world, wonderful scenery and lots of interesting places to visit. I have two friends who have recently returned from the Caribbean and I think that the Brittany beaches are every bit as good if not more, except of course that you probably need a dry suit to enter the water this early in the year! It just goes to show that you don't need to travel thousands of miles to reach really attractive and rewarding destinations. Take your own car and no luggage restrictions either, what's not to like?

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  • 2 weeks later...

@cvabishop - great images, brought back a few memories having not been in Southern Brittany for a couple of years now. Benodet, Concarneau and Pont-Aven have long been family favourites. 

How busy was Concarneau? The narrow(ish) streets are full of life in the high season, wonder what it's like at this time of year?

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Concarneau was quite subdued with many places closed and those that were open mainly selling tourist tat. Not many visitors either. Pont Aven was much busier and we had to park at the back of the town. Benodet itself was pretty quiet, not a lot of visitors and limited choice of eateries.

Things were more lively down south in Carnac and Quiberon which had plenty of tourists.

Colin

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That doesn't surprise me - can't imagine the ice cream places were doing a roaring trade. 

Carnac was another favourite when I was younger. As for Benodet, the last time I was there (August 2011) it as at a free concert in the summer evening sun on the Sunday evening, after which people swamped the ice cream place on the front near the Casino. Ice creams at 10pm on a Sunday... why not!

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