March 2021: Brittany

DateLocationReadingKilometres Travelled
Home22,585
18th MarchMouilleron-en-Pareds (CCP)22,791206
19/20th MarchSaint-Christophe-du-Ligneron (Campsite)22,87685
21st MarchPort de Lérat, Piriac-sur-Mer (CCP)22,986110
22nd/23rd MarchGrand Champ (via Auray) (CCP)23,087101
24/25th MarchPont Scorff (Campsite)23,15063
26/27th MarchQuimper (Municipal Campsite)23,21969
28/29/30th MarchLocronan (CCP)23,320101
31st March Huelgoat (Municipal Aire)23,37757
1st AprilLe Pertre (CCP)23,613236
2nd AprilSaint-Aubin-de-Luigné (CCP)23,70693
3rd AprilHome23,903197
1,318
16 Nights10 stops, 11 Hops1,318 Kilometres Travelled120 Km/day average
Distances from the odometer

Polar Steps: https://www.polarsteps.com/StevenLoft/3932252-brittany-march-2021?s=ABF30C1E-4F41-4B2B-9455-5644A8519AEE (approx distances)

There was sunny weather in the offing, with the best of the sun in the northwest. After a couple of aborted attempts at the far northwest, we decided that we should have another go. Mr Snail was able to secure an appointment for Covid vaccination up in Auray and that sealed the deal. We packed quickly and were off.

We put in some distance on the first day as we had that appointment to get to. We thought it best to build in some contingency.

Mouilleron-en-Pareds – a revisit for us. We had enjoyed this aire on a previous stay and knew that there was good walking. Last time we visited we actually got ourselves a little mislaid and ended up taking a very long walk indeed.

The CCP is a Camping de mon Village, a former Municipal campsite. It seemed quiet when we arrived this time and we had the place to ourselves… briefly. Having just got the coffee on we were surprised to find the cat flying into the van in total panic as the site was suddenly swamped with orienteering teenagers.

Saint-Christophe-du-Ligneron was new-to-us. We picked an open campsite and found a warm welcome. It was very early season for them and things were slightly chaotic but we had a pleasant stay.

The site sports a couple of little fishing lakes, which proved to be great for the cat’s evening stroll.

The weather was warm and sunny and we were able to sit outside for drinks and dinner on our exceptionally large grassy pitch. I actually picked up a little sunburn, having sat outside all day.

We didn’t do much testing of the facilities as there was only one disabled wet room open for the few customers on site. Washing up was not possible due to the absence of properly hot water.

There are two swimming pools on site and a petting farm, where we found an adorable litter of piglets…

Cute pigs!

We stayed for two nights and had time to walk into town and check out the Boulangerie. It was warm walking.

Port de Lérat, Piriac-sur-Mer. Not far from La Turballe, certainly within walking distance, the CCP offers an unusual stay – just a stone’s throw from the ocean.

The aire offers few facilities. Unusual for CCP, it has a one way system and the service point is outside the “out” barrier.

Sited adjacent to the tennis club, it proved not to be the best aire to take a Border Collie to!

The tarmac is in poor condition with tree roots causing upheaval. Unmarked spaces are really only suitable for smaller units but an unsurfaced area can accommodate larger vans.

Lumpy bumpy.

The beach (very nice) is just across the road and there is a long distance coastal path (which is not for the less abled amongst us and our dog really struggled.)

The road outside was quite busy on Sunday but far quieter come Monday morning.

(Photo Gallery to be inserted)

Grand Champ. We had planned to stay at Auray on the Monday evening, after Mr Snail’s Covid vaccination at the hospital there. Although Auray was lovely, neither of the two parking places looked suitable for a potential two-night stay (we were allowing for an immune reaction laying possibly the driver low for 48 hours) and so we drove off to Grand-Champ to say at the CCP aire there. Another new destination for us.

A former Municipal campsite, but not designated as a “Camping de mon Village”, there is an area of open woodland behind and the aire also adjoins the Stade. Immediately next door to the parking is a sports centre/swimming pool, which has an HVAC system running continuously night and day. A very noisy system. Had it been otherwise, we would have stayed for our full three permittable nights because we loved Grand-Champ.

A public footpath runs through the site and many dog-walkers and runners use it. Again. not the best place to take Dusty and Nell.

A rather good Chocolaterie is on the far side of the Stade, Carrefour is about a 2 Km walk away on the far side of town. There is a nearby Cave, now specialising in beer as well as wine and a 24 hr automat selling local produce is a short stroll away. The town centre is vibrant and busy and offers plenty of local commerce.

Waymarked footpaths are available and we had a good, though rather hot, walk with the dog.

I decided that Grand-Champ was a town that I could happily live in. We will return but will take ear plugs (and leave the cat at home.) (Gallery images soon for both Auray and Grand-Champ)

Pont Scorff. Although still not April, we managed to find another open campsite and ventured forth with reasonable confidence as it is an “Open All year” one. Here we found the largest pitches that we have ever seen – in fact four smaller pitches have been knocked into a single one. Large enough for a game of football… plenty of separation from neighbours and even a hard standing area. Top notch.

There was much to commend Pont Scorff, which is a lovely little artist’s town. A Voie Vert runs directly past the exit to the campsite.

We had a warm and friendly welcome on arrival and were loaned a walking map, which we made full use of and put in a good 11 Km, mainly along the Voie Vert and the river. Again, a tad too warm for comfortable walking but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

I went out without a camera and moaned about that all the way around. I regret it even more now that I have no photographs to share here.

The facilities were a little dated but very clean and there was ample hot water.

We will return. With camera!

Quimper, another new-to-us stop, provided several surprises with its Municipal Campsite. It took some navigation to get there, it was far closer to the centre of town than we had imagined possible. The cat was terrified by the traffic and had to be boxed. Sadly, I had no box to climb into myself.

The site is neat and tidy and unlike many Municipals, shows plenty of evidence of investment and development. Pitches wee available as grass or tarmac, were pretty much level, and work is under way to tarmac further pitches, For a site so close to town it was remarkably peaceful. It my be different when the Lycée students are in attendance. Behind the site is a wooded hill, with walking paths. We didn’t use it as there seemed to be feral dogs roaming.

Largely occupied by workers staying in caravans, there were also a few touring mohos on site with us. Facilities very dated but clean and with plentiful hot water. Reception was staffed for most of the generous hours that were advertised.

Many half-timbered buildings in the old town

The old town and the riverside are both very pleasant. Shopping is up-market and designer labels much in evidence. Plenty of outlets to serve the greedy amongst us – many Patisseries and Chocolateries, and also a Barapom creperie. (more photos coming soon)

Locronan was to have been a later destination but having tried the free parkings at both Pointe Raz and Pointe du Van and found them wanting, we pressed on early to the CCP here. Another new-to-us location and another substandard offering from CCP.

Slightly unkempt – but in what we find to be a good way rather than a bad one, there are no marked pitches. Some old and deteriorating hard standing offered a couple of level-ish areas but we chose to park in the rough and under the trees for shade. This meant that we could open our door away from the other vans and Dusty was blissfully unaware of any frightening events or persons.

There is a service point outside the site but it bears a separate charge of 2 euros. No electricity and no WIFI. No matter, we had wall to wall sunshine and the solar panel was doing its thing magnificently. We stumped up the two Euros when we left. It delivered up to ten minutes of water and we managed to fill our tank within that time.

Using the Municipal service point before we leave

A chemin running parallel to the parking provided morning and evening dog walks. We did an 11 Km circular route, on an almost unpleasantly hot day, that took us up the hill (Mont Locronan) and offered fantastic views and some architectural interest.

The town centre was every bit as attractive as it is reputed to be and most of the shops were open on the Sunday.

With its granite buildings and cobbled streets, Locronan felt weirdly like being back in the dales.

I would happily have stayed for ages and we shall certainly revisit in the future. This time we took our full three nights and then prepared to be sent home.

(Large image gallery forthcoming!)

Huelgoat is somewhere that we have visited before and we were looking forward to returning and spending some time there. The Municipal Aire is vast, free, and offers no facilities other than parking. There is a service point outside the Municipal Campsite on the opposite bank of the small river that separates the two.

It was still hot and sunny weather (with the solar panel still earning its keep) and we were startled that even this early in the year, there were so many vans parked up – well over two dozen by bedtime, I’d say. On our last visit, we were one of only three vans on site.

We were debating whether or not to do the long walk the following day or if it was too hot to leave the cat alone in the van/too hot for old Nell to trek round… when M. Macron told us that it was time to head for home. So, we only stayed one night this time and the canal walk and Botanic Garden must wait for our third visit.

Scene from the bridge in Huelgoat

We had sufficient time to walk around the lake and to scoff our first ice-cream of the season, so it wasn’t all bad 🙂

Strolling along the lake from the aire and into town

(Huelgoat gallery forthcoming)

We left Huelgoat on Thursday morning, with Lockdown due to commence on Saturday. So we had to cover some ground.

Le Pertre, another new stop for us, has a CCP “Camping de mon Village” site on the edge of town, by the Plan d’Eau. It’s a neat and tidy site.

A very neat and clean town, pretty sleepy. Magnificent church building, two working boulangeries, a cracking little Cocci Market and the promise of two bars in non-Covid times. Some kind of factory nearby generated a bit of a hum, the noise could be louder if the wind changed direction but that’s only supposition. It didn’t disturb us even when sitting outside in the sunshine with our apero.

We hadn’t realised that pitches are divided into motorhome and tent areas so probably can’t complain about our pitch having been lumpy and a little unlevel… The very nice man who cycled by in the evening to welcome us to town didn’t seem concerned that we were pitched incorrectly. He may have been the caretaker but I think he was likely the Mayor.

At the Plan d’Eau
It’s a very imposing church for a small town

There are marked walking routes that we did not have time to discover, we needed to move on quickly.

We will happily return in the future. (a few more images to come, later)

Saint-Aubin-de-Luigné was yet another new stop for us and, once again, somewhere that we would enjoy returning to. A former Municipal campsite, now CCP “Camping de mon Village” with really rather small pitches. This may not matter, as the approach roads were not really suitable for large vehicles either. At least, not from the direction that we came by.

We had deliberately chosen a shorter journey (distance) for the day after the previous day’s long haul and knowing that we had a slow cross-country route to get this far, so when we arrived to find that we had neighbours over the fence we didn’t actually waste a lot of time humming and hawing about whether to stay or to go. We stayed. It didn’t turn out too badly, though I imagine it would have been a quieter night at other times.

Several other vans turned up during the course of the afternoon, took one look, and left again. It might have been us…

The Mairie

Saint-Aubin is obviously a very quiet town under normal circumstances. There’s not a lot going on. The Church dominates the centre, there’s a small convenience store and several wineries. The Mairie is magnificent!

We had a short but rather hot walk, during which we encountered a lovely (and very long) snake. I heard it hissing and turned my head to see it beside me, on an almost vertical rock face. A Green Whip Snake, probably approaching two metres long if it were stretched out. I was so rapt that I forgot to take a photograph!

I loved this tiny former cinema, sandwiched between parish buildings and sporting a St Joseph above the door.

I enjoyed imagining the Priest’s attempts to keep the youth of the parish on the straight and narrow by showing morally uplifting films.

It’s a smashing little piece of architecture in great state of preservation and a real vignette of life in the past. I wish that the poster frame had still held a 1930s poster, all faded and mildewed. How perfect would that have been!

It was only after we arrived home that I found out that Saint Aubin is a UNESCO World Heritage site. When we return, we must give the place better consideration and stay longer. (further photos later)

Saint-Aubin-de-Luigné was our final stop on this trip and the next day we had a lengthy leg home to our lockdown location.

I wonder where we shall go next. I hope that it won’t be too long before we may return to Brittany and complete what it was that we started. We don’t seem to get much luck with the northwest!

Something Must Be Done

Clearly we have been doing way too much travelling to allow me to do any documenting or reflecting. This rather makes a nonsense of all of the time that I spend taking photographs and thinking about the text that will go with them.

I think it unlikely that I shall ever catch up and it’s ridiculous that I wish to be ordered and methodical by going back and starting at the beginning and so…

…I am going to start updating this blog from our most recent adventures and work my way backwards as far as I can find the energy for.

I have some challenges and primary among these right now is that I am trying to organise my Lightroom files. In doing so, I seem to have broken and lost a few things. There is a project afoot to learn video and I have some kind of idea that if I shoot video with commentary I can upload that here with little fuss and no need to find time in which to edit photos, rummage in my memory banks, and write text. I have no idea whether or not that approach will work but once Lockdown is over and we go off again I am hoping that my b=video skills will have reached an appropriate level. we shall see how it goes.

We returned from Brittany on Saturday, the most recent of three trips made so far this year (we wanted to fit in as much adventure as possible before the inevitable further lockdown happened). It’s high time that I got busy and wrote up that trip, New post coming later, I hope. As in “later today” rather than a nebulous “later in time”. If it gets too large perhaps “later” will become “tomorrow” or possibly “Saturday” but I am going to get stuck in just as soon as I have had a coffee break, I promise.

Mr Snail has been experimenting with Polar Steps in his own attempt to document our travels. I hope to include links to his efforts in each post.

October 29, 2020 at 12:12PM

It’s mass migration time!

#livereportingfromtheroad #france #autumn2020 #thelockdowndash

October 29, 2020 at 10:24AM

An interesting morning.

Up and at ’em we went to Intermarché to fuel up and to buy some food for when we arrive home.

They were queuing outside the door for what appeared to be controlled entry. There were queues for fuel too. “We’re not that desperate” we said and set off for home. It wasn’t long before we met the Route Barrée sign. The driver was cut short in his swearing when he spotted that we were being diverted past Leclerc.

We have finished shopping. Phew.

Couldn’t fuel up as the exit to the pumps was also Route Barrée. We exited via a toy shop car park and this interesting wee road, with absolutely no idea where we were!

#livereportingfromtheroad #france #autumn2020 #thelockdowndash

October 28, 2020 at 12:31PM

La Cavalerie. We had been going to stay the night here, there’s both a cheese France Passion (we are in Roquefort country) and a CCP Aire. It’s a lovely little town.

However with last night’s warning of tonight’s address from M. Macron… we are covering more ground in expectation of imminent travel restrictions. Just called in to grab a lunchtime sandwich from the SPAR.

Onward!

#livereportingfromtheroad #france #autumn2020 #thelockdowndash