Brittany

Quiet, traffic-free riding on the shared trails in Brittany
Quiet, traffic-free riding on the shared trails in Brittany

I really didn’t know what to expect from this next road trip, but with my sister, brother-in-law, and four year old niece in tow, I knew at the very least, it would be very silly, and very fun. And no, we weren’t all staying in the van together, that would be insane. My sis would be bringing along her tent, which is capable of housing several families, plus their pets, and their pet’s pets… it’s a big tent, you get the picture.

Our chosen destination was a place called Trinité-sur-Mer, in the Brittany region of France. After overnighting at a Premier Inn in Folkestone, we then caught an early Eurotunnel crossing the next morning. I was slightly disappointed that we’d be leaving too early to scoff a classic Premier Inn breakfast, but with a seven hour drive ahead of us, the early start was a good shout.

Are we there yet?

After the long, long drive to Trinité-sur-Mer, we finally landed on our respective pitches and unfolded ourselves from our vehicles. The sun was shining, and despite being slightly weary from all the travelling, I could feel myself melting into holiday mode.

We’d be there for a week, and with no plans to drive the van once parked, we had the luxury of setting up a ‘full camp’. We got to work, awning wound out, pop top roof up, both front seats swivelled around, electric plugged in, tables and chairs out front, job done! It took next to no time, and our little home was ready, (ah the transformation part, I do so love this bit!).

Over on my sister’s pitch, it was a different story, they still had their mobile chateau to put up. We headed across to offer our assistance, enjoying a couple beers as we helped them get set up.

Set up done, time for some fun

Our week in Trinité-sur-Mer was a blur of swimming, waterslides (my first ever!), barbecues, beaches, exploration, and yet more barbecues. Plus a bit of road biking thrown in. There was no particular plan for the week, we’d just wake up and see what tickled our fancy that day. We rarely do ‘proper’ summer holidays like this, and it left me wondering why not. Although we were busy all the time whilst we were there, it was so relaxing and stress-free!

We visited the bustling harbour town a couple of times, just a short ride or drive away from the campsite. This being Brittany, we were spoilt for choice when it came to crêperies, stores selling Breton cookies (Sables Breton), and clothes shops with all manner of garments sporting the famous Breton stripe.

We also had all the usual seaside town activities at our disposal, including boat hire. We took a little electric boat out for the afternoon, it was great fun, and a novel way to explore. I have to say, the area is really quite charming, with beautiful old stone buildings and a proud maritime heritage. We were never short of something to see or do, and it still managed to retain a lovely, relaxed vibe.

Our niece enjoying the quiet coastal path
Our niece enjoying the quiet coastal path

The riding

The focus of this trip wasn’t really on the road biking, but we snuck a couple in. The terrain is pretty flat, and it’s easy to stay off the main roads to avoid being in too much traffic. Generally speaking though, the traffic wasn’t too heavy. As usual, we used Strava as our route planner.

For our first ride, we headed west along the waterfront towards Carnac, known for its thousands of prehistoric standing stones. A mysterious place indeed, and quite a sight to see, (why are they even all there??). We veered north and did a figure of 8 back to the campsite. As you’d expect, it was warm inland, and breezy by the coast, a pleasant, level 30 miles done.

Riding through the national forest of Quiberon
Riding through the national forest of Quiberon

Our second ride took us south through the national forest of Quiberon. Dedicated bike paths in this area made it a great, traffic-free option. At one point, we found ourselves surrounded by old naval guns, relics from days gone by. We stopped to take a look, and discovered a war museum (Musée de la Chouannerie), which is housed in a World War 2 bunker.

An old naval gun
An old naval gun

Afterwards, we crossed a narrow spit of land to Saint-Pierre-Quiberon, the turnaround point for our 25 mile out-and-back. Another nice leg turner that presented no particular difficulties, it was just good to get out in the sunshine and explore the area by bike.

The campsite

Our home for the week in Trinité-sur-Mer, was Camping de la Plage. This place is tailor made for family summer holidays, and as such, there are a wealth of amenities on-site. You’ll find a shop, restaurant, bakery, kid’s activities, bike rental, a communal barbecue area, swimming pool complete with two waterslides, the list goes on. We got our money’s worth out of the pool and barbecue areas alone!

There’s also the odd bit of on-site entertainment, as we discovered when wandering around one evening. Much to Ciaron’s utter dismay, we were promptly roped into an enthusiastic maritime-themed display, complete with pirate and sailor hats (with hair attached), plastic cutlasses and loud singing. We laughed about this for a long time afterwards!

Enjoying a bit of down time at the van
Enjoying a bit of down time at the van

The campsite is a short ride/drive from the little harbour town in one direction, and yet more beaches in the other. The compact nature of the place made getting around with a four year old a lot easier, and we only piled into my sister’s car on a few occasions, mainly for food shopping. Speaking of which, there was a huge Super-U supermarket nearby, so getting supplies was no problem at all.

The campsite gives you direct access to the lovely Kervilen beach
The campsite gives you direct access to the lovely Kervilen beach

For me, the brilliant thing about this site, was its close proximity to the beach. You only had to make your way to a gate at the other end, and there it is, stretching endlessly before you. The easy access meant that we could easily transport tables and chairs, and enjoy a leisurely dinner on the beach. That was a highlight for me. Especially since the beach pretty much cleared in the evening, and we shared it with just a few others who had the same idea.

Thoughts on the trip

This was the first road trip where the main focus was on being tourists, and we loved it! So. Much. Fun. Not to mention, convenient. The campsite’s access to everything we needed meant that once we’d pitched up, there was no need to drive the van at all. 

The drive is long, of course. Once in France, the further south we drove, the smaller the roads became, and the fewer amenities there appeared to be. From time to time, there would be signs directing you to small villages, where there are places to rest and pick up supplies, but don’t expect the convenience of big service areas here. Having a fully-stocked fridge really came into its own for this stage of the journey.

The family-oriented campsite wouldn’t have been our choice if we hadn’t gone with my sister and her family, and I thought I’d struggle with it. As it was, having our niece there meant we naturally joined the ebb and flow of family life, and at 10pm, the site would fall magically silent. I never thought I’d say this, but it was actually uplifting to be around that level of energy, and fantastic to see all these kids running free and really letting loose.

The van, our home from home, was perfect for this trip. The interior stayed surprisingly cool, and the awning was particularly useful in that fierce afternoon sun. I’d never really had this kind of holiday growing up, and I felt like a big kid for the entire week. We returned home feeling energised and ready to do it all again next year!

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