The Rough North of Brittany
Traveling from Saint-Malo to Dinard
We are leaving Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy and head West to explore the coasts of Brittany. Our ride along the coast leads us through Saint-Malo, a city surrounded by high stone walls, to Dinard. This beautiful and very touristic city lies right across Saint-Malo, on the other side of the river Rance. We continue our journey, because we’re more into exploring the rough coasts of Brittany than cities.
Camping in the Bay of Saint-Cast-le-Guildo
We pass Saint-Briac-sur-Mer and travel to Saint-Cast-le-Guildo, where we find us a small campsite. It’s located in a valley and is surrounded by trees, so it gets pretty chilly at night. In about one minute walk, we are right at a beautiful bay with a little bar, unfortunately it’s already closed because it’s not high season anymore. Good for us, we are well stocked with Cider, made in Brittany. We take a nice walk and in the morning we enjoy a beautiful sunrise. We watch fishing boats, as they roll to the sea like trojan horses. The tide is still low, and so there are many people on the beach, gathering scallops by hand.
Ploubazlanec next to the Island of Bréhat
At the shore of the English Channel lies the community Ploubazlanec. From here you can reach the Island of Bréhat in about 15 minutes by boat. As there are many people wanting to get shipped to the island (that was before Covid-19…), we decide to stay on the mainland and enjoy the solitude of the forbidding coastline.
Camping in Primel-Trégastel
We find ourselves a camping municipal in Primel-Trégastel. These communal campsites are mostly less expensive than the private ones, and therefore well-frequented. Like we already did in Normandy, we don’t do wild camping at the coasts of Brittany. We are not eager to get chased away in the middle of the night and just want to enjoy the beautiful sight out of our roof top tent. That’s (just about the only) problem with a roof top tent, we attract more attention than a van would. It’s not that much of a deal somewhere up country as it is at the coast. So, no risks here.
On this campsite, we find a spot where we have a beautiful view on the sea. That’s one of the many advantages of a roof top tent, we have the full view from the roof. The campsites here are mostly surrounded by high hedges as protection against wind. So as good neighbors we can tell our co-campers with their vans and RVs how beautiful the view is 😉
The landscape here is stunning and we go for a nice long walk to the nearby peninsula. Many paths lead to this wonderful place where we enjoy the peace and the view of the sea. An abandoned house on the hill gives this place even more a mystical touch.
Salt Gardens in Southern Brittany
Right through the heart of Brittany, we visit the myth-enshrouded place named Huelgoat with its Dolmens and Menhirs and head on southwards. We are still in Brittany, but the coasts in the South look very different to the ones up North. Even though there’s only around 120 km in between, the coasts here are sandy and less rough. Our plan ist to visit the Alignements of Carnac the next morning (we wrote about those in our last post), so we spend the night on the peninsula of Quiberon. Our campsite lies about 30 minutes from Carnac.
The Peninsula of Quiberon
Quiberon with its length of around 30 kilometers is a very well-frequented peninsula. We are lucky because we are there at the beginning of September, and this is already off-season. Along with the rough coasts, you can also find sandy beaches in Quiberon.
We make ourselves comfortable on our campsite with again, full view onto the sea. This campsite is surrounded by a wooden fence, as protection against wind (and intruders I guess).
The Salt Gardens of Guérande
At the Southern coast of Brittany we find the enormous amount of the famous salt gardens of Guérande. They form a mosaic-like pattern along the coast. This pattern is not just random, but rather follows a certain concept so the salt can be harvested. There are two kinds of salt harvested in Guérande: The naturally gray coarse sea salt “Gros Sel” which crystallizes in contact with clay and the well-known “Fleur de Sel” (Flower of Salt), which is the pure white salt. In this blog, the process of the harvest ist very well documented.
As of today, the salt is still harvested by hand, without the use of any machines. You can watch the salt workers every day how they push the salt to the edges with a long wooden rake (“las”).
On the roadside of the salt gardens, there are many places where you can buy Guérandais salt directly from the salt workers. They gladly inform you about the best use of the different kinds of salt. So the Fleur de Sel is best for using on raw or already cooked food. Just a pinch. The coarse salt is best used for cooking.
For our last night on the coast, we find a nice little campsite in Batz-sur-Mer which is actually not in Brittany anymore. It’s located in the region of Pays-de-la-Loire, well-known for the Castles of the Loire. Still, this is the perfect campsite with full view of the sea.
In two minutes we reach the beach with a perfect combination of sand and stones. We watch a wonderful sunset and listen to the sound of waves. It’s exactly these moments we cherish most on our travels. A picturesque scenery, the sounds of nature and that we are able to enjoy this together.