Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 1980: Megaliths, Parish Closes and Cider - Part 1 Southern Finistère
By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2011
Trip Description: This is the first of three trip reports covering a three week holiday in Brittany in September 2011. We spent a week based in Guengat, near Quimper. This gave us access to some glorious coastline, heritage towns and villages as well as Monts d’Arrée.
Destinations: Countries - France; Regions/Cities - Brittany
Categories: Vacation Rentals; Day Tours; Sightseeing; Walking/Hiking; Independent Travel; 2 People
Page 1 of 26: Background to the Trip and How We Got Started
Dramatic coastline around Pointe de Brézellec
“Let’s go to Brittany” said Michael.
I’d been to France in 1960 with my aunt which doesn’t really count and Michael had never been. We were complete novices.
We bought a copy of the Michelin map for Brittany, borrowed or bought guide books and sent off for information from companies renting gites in Brittany.
Although Brittany isn’t very big and it would be possible to reach all parts from a central location we decided to base ourselves in three areas to cut down on the amount of driving each day. I quickly identified Northern Finistère for the Parish Closes, Southern Finistère for the coastline and Morbihan for the megalithic remains.
We decided to use Brittany Ferries to book ferry crossings and also accommodation. They have a lot of gites scattered across Brittany. Coastal properties in the major tourist areas like Côte du Granit Rose were quite expensive but prices dropped if you moved inland or chose less popular areas.
Brittany Ferries produce a very detailed brochure and the website is easy to use. My only criticism is there is no logic in the order of gites in their brochure and if you are looking for a specific location it may be scattered across several pages.
Their web site gives further information about the gites with pictures and a map showing the location of each gite. It is important to check this out as many country gites can be at the end of a country road, as we found of when we arrived at St-Thégonnec.
I eventually settled on Guengat for Southern Finistère, Plumelec for Morbihan and St-Thégonnec for Northern Finistère.
We found descriptions of the three gites we booked accurate and directions for finding them were too. All were spotlessly clean and well maintained. Standards are high. The owners did speak a certain amount of English. Michael’s school boy French stood up better than mine.
We decided to use the night sailing between Plymouth and Roscoff both ways. We knew we would sleep and it would give us an extra day at each end of the holiday.
It is not possible to book more than one location on the web so we had to ring up to make a booking. This was quick and easy and paperwork sent out promptly. Final paperwork was sent out three weeks before we left.
The ferry crossing was smooth both ways. It was a pleasant boat with a couple of shops; one selling perfumes and alcohol, the other gifts and some clothes. There is outside seating at the front. We had an inside cabin. Being an overnight sailing there didn’t seem much point in paying extra to have a window. There were four beds, so we could each have a lower bed. As in all ferries there was a reasonable amount of space for two people but might have been cramped with four. My only complaint would be the towels let them down as they were thin and got damp quickly.
Loading and unloading was quick and efficient. Immigration at Roscoff hardly looked at our passports before waving us through. Coming back, Plymouth immigration was slower. Passports were studied and driver and passenger identified. We were also asked where we were going to and how long it would take before being waved through. We weren’t sure whether this was just making conversation or quizzing.
I have broken my report into three parts. This section covers the time we spent in Guengat in Southern Finistère. The second report, number 1981, covers the week spent in Plumelec and Morbihan. The third report, number 1982, covers the week around St-Thégonnec and Northern Finistère.
There are links to these in the “Resources” section at the end of this report.
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