Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Fantastic holiday in Brittany

Hubby and I are mainly independent travellers - I love the finding and planning side of a holiday and those who follow me on Twitter will know how excited I get as our trips get nearer (we've another one on Thursday!).

We decided this year to have a return trip to Southern Brittany, however staying in a new area, Guidel-Plage. Although we usually book a gite or house this seafront apartment on Home & Away caught our eye with it's spectacular view.

Getting to France is part of our holiday fun and a Portsmouth to Caen crossing seemed to be the best option. We have used this route before, first in 1992 with my Dad and our 20 month old son, and again in 2000 with my Dad and our two children, then 10 and 6. It was lovely to retrace our steps.

Amazingly when we checked old photos back home we had actually sailed on the same boat - Normandie - in 1992 it was a new vessel.
My Dad's photo from 1992
Sunny but a breezy day as we left Portsmouth
Brittany Ferries offer a great service for this crossing with quite a few options including overnight - we chose Friday afternoon and booked a cabin for the 5 3/4 hour journey. The journey to Portsmouth was so much easier than trying to get round London on the M25, we even had time for a pub lunch before checking in.

Saying I get excited I did tweet Brittany Ferries as part of my holiday countdown (am I really turning 50 soon??) - to our surprise at check in we were given an envelope with this very thoughtful gesture inside - thank you :)
Such a kind gesture from the
Brittany Ferries Twitter Team
And so after finding our spacious 4 berth ensuite cabin and leaving our bags, we stood out on a breezy deck to sail out of Portsmouth. It was great to see everything from the water, we had a mini break here in December, and once at sea we started our holiday in style :)
Long Island Tea Cocktails - thank you Twitter Team
Arriving in Ouistreham brought back many memories but we didn't have time to stop as we were booked into Ibis Herouville Savary for an overnight stop. The next morning, after a quick trip to the supermarket, we set off for Guidel Plage, what a great drive through France.
We love driving through France 
Mont St Michel in the distance 
Marianne and Germain met us with such warmth. We were delighted to find we had an underground garage with secure access, and even the 4 flights of stairs did not curtail our excitement although we were grateful to have 4 pairs of hands to carry our luggage. The apartment was stunning - amazing views, good facilities, very clean. It didn't take us long to settle in.

Our panoramic view  
View from inside the apartment
The harbour 
The bars below us
The terrasse was just perfect for sitting and watching the tide go in and out, the boats navigate the inlet, surfers, jet skiers, fishermen, walkers and families enjoying the beach. We could have quite easily stayed in Guidel Plage all week but we did travel around a little.

Les Roches des Diablo (Devil's Rock) was a beautiful ravine, quite a story and amazing rocks balancing on each other. Quimperlé was previously the harbour for our river inlet, it's hard to imagine how the boats got all the way inland.

Les Roches des Diablo
Beautiful scenery

King of the rocks 
Quimperlé
Bridge at Quimperlé
Pont Aven was another beautiful little town, touristy shops but a great harbour, and river running through. There was evidence of many water mills in the past and one ancient relic (still in use) made us smile !!
Pont Aven old water mill courses
Quirky bridge
Pont Aven harbour
Need to 'spend a penny?' - Original WC 
Another of our reminiscing trips was to Concarneau, a place we last visited in 2000. It hadn't changed much but we may have. Dad was with us last time and our children, now in their 20s, were much younger.
The four of us in 2000
Concarneau in 2015
Concarneau archway 
Our final re-visit was to Carnac Plage, this was where we had actually holidayed in 2000. Things had changed in the town but we did recognise a few places. We did however remember the menhirs (standing stones), they are amazing!

The Giant (the stone not me!!)
Rows of menhirs


Amazing stones

Menhirs

The Tor in 2015
On top of the Tor in 2000
Brittany is not an area known for wine but cider. We did enjoy a glass or two and I especially liked Kir Breton which is cider with blackcurrant cordial. The food was lovely, as it always is in France. Some of the dishes we had wouldn't have been out of place on Masterchef, but served as an ordinary lunchtime dish. It was great to cook at the apartment too, dining with a view. We had a few cheeky visitors too - they even cheeped at the patio doorway for more food !!

Cheeky bird
Keeping watch
Calvados and beer
Lunch on the terasse
Oysters and prawns
And so to the end of an amazing week - but not quite. Marianne and Germain waved us off and we had another great drive up to Ouistreham for another overnight stop, this time on the dock side at Ibis Styles. It was our first time staying in a Styles although we do stay with Ibis on many occasions and we will be staying again, it was a great hotel.

After a final french meal out we sat outside with a glass of wine to watch the International Space Station fly over and suddenly fireworks went off directly opposite our hotel. It was Fete de La Nautisme (festival of the sea) over the weekend hence the fireworks.



Sunday morning arrived and so did the Normandie to take us back to Portsmouth. Such a great holiday with many people and businesses playing a part but as always y biggest thanks goes to my lovely Hubby Nick :)

Now we have more memories of Brittany, it was great to share some and look at the old photos with Michael and Philippa once we returned home, bit a little sad we can't tell my Dad.

My Dad and a very young Michael
A final glass of Calvados
Fantastic holiday - thank you Nick x x 

4 comments:

  1. Clare and Nick, thank you for sharing your holiday pictures. They look wonderful !! Beautiful scenery, love the harbor pics.

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  2. Looks a lovely part of France,fab photo's and great memories.would love all that fresh seafood

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  3. So pleasant to spent some time in Brittany with you and as I went recently in Concarneau and Pont Aven to remember good memories with your trip. xxx

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  4. I love Brittany very much, my favourite part in France. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

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I'm so pleased you're enjoying my travel and wine ramblings - I love reading your replies too, thank you for posting a comment