Happy Sunday! I hope your weekend has been a good one! I’ve been at my mum’s for almost a week, relaxing and attempting to keep Isobel entertained. I like to make the most of the Summer holidays by visiting family as soon as school finishes. I’d only been home a few days after returning from our Summer trip to Brittany when I was packing my case again. Apart from a couple of outfit shoots, I didn’t use the camera in France, so all of these photos were taken on my phone. The quality isn’t as good, but the phone is much more convenient.
We flew to France on my birthday, after staying at a hotel near the airport the night before. Waking up in a budget hotel near Stansted after only a few hours sleep wasn’t the best start to my birthday. There was a very nice treat awaiting me at Stansted airport though: a visit to the Escape Lounge. I was offered the chance to try it out through a bloggers’ Facebook group. (We chose Stansted because it was much cheaper to fly to Dinard from there than East Midlands).
My usual early morning airport experiences are not the most relaxing affairs. Most times I feel hot, bothered and rather stressed by the time I board the plane, so I was looking forward to chilling out before the flight. Unfortunately the bag drop and security checks were painfully slow, so by the time we got to the Escape Lounge we were already clock watching. But the expereince was fantastic even if it was somewhat curtailed.
We were greeted by a very attentive member of staff who showed us to a table, and checked how far away our gate was from the lounge. There was a great variety of food and drink, including cooked breakfasts, cereal, fruit and pastries. I asked a member of staff if they had non dairy milk and was very surprised when I was offered a choice! The lounge has a bar and most alcoholic drinks are included too (you can pay extra for champagne). The coffee was very good – so good I went back for a second cup, but unfortunately I didn’t have time to finish it.
Our gate was a 10-15 minute walk from the lounge so we had to get a move on. It was a shame we didn’t get to spend longer there, but I would definitely use one again. For £25 I think it’s great value; you get free Wi-Fi, plus you can charge your phone and print off any important documents too. Despite being a fleeting experience, it felt like a real birthday treat 🙂
Thankfully the flight to Dinard is short (around an hour) and we were soon on French soil. My Dad is usually looking out of the airport’s cafe window, waving to us as we walk to the terminal 🙂 The weather was lovely when we arrived, and it stayed that way for most of the nine days we were there.
With several beaches within walking distance and more just a short drive away we were spoilt for choice. This year we mostly divided our time between Plage Bonaparte and Gwin Zegal, which is about a 15 minute walk from my Dad’s. The 150 or so steps down to it are great exercise for the legs!
One thing you do have to bear in mind in this part of Brittany is the tides. At high tide the beaches are often competely covered, and if you’re not careful you can find yourself cut off. High tide just so happened to be around midday to mid afternoon (it’s usually half an hour later than the previous day) so we had to plan around it. The good thing about Gwin Zegal is even if the sand is covered you can still find a pebbly part of the beach to set up camp, it’s just not as comfortable.
We spent a lot of time climbing on the rocks and looking for shells.
The last and only other time we went to Île-de-Bréhat was before Isobel was born, so it was lovely to go back again. Bréhat consists of several islets around two small, car-free islands, which are joined by a bridge at low tide. It is easily accessible by a 10-minute boat journey from Pointe de l’Arcouest near the town of Paimpol. The island’s main village, Le Bourg, is a short walk from where the boats arrive and depart at Port Clos. If you’re taking a Summer trip to Northern Brittany, a day on Bréhat definitely makes a lovely excursion.
It was lunch time when we arrived so our first stop was a cafe for some sustenance before walking to the far side of the north island. To my surprise, many cafes and restaurants in Brittany are now offering vegan options. It just shows how much plant-based diets are becoming more popular. The local sweet cider is delicious, and is always served in traditional Breton cups.
After lunch we set off towards the lighthouse on the northern tip of Bréhat. As there are no cars on the island, the only other non-pedestrian traffic consists of bicycles. (Small tractors with trailors are used to transport visitors’ luggage but they are few and far between).
The north island is smaller and wilder with rolling moorland and rocky outcrops. There are two lighthouses: Paon in the north east and Rosédo in the north west. We walked to Paon, where it had turned cooler and quite breezy.
After walking over 11km we paused briefly in Le Bourg’s main square for a drink before heading back to the mainland.
Isobel had been asking for moules-frites all week, so on our last day we went to the beach at St Quay, where there are numerous restaurants. We chose Les Cochons Flingueurs (The Gunslinger Pigs) that has tables overlooking the beach. No sooner than we’d ordered and the rain started, so we had to move into the courtyard where we sheltered under a canopy. Even that didn’t stop us getting wet when the heavens really opened! Luckily Isobel had scoffed her meal before the water poured off the canopy straight into the mussel pot! No Summer trip to Brittany would be complete without a downpour!
Again, I was happily surprised to find a vegan falafel salad, which was delicious!
I had to take a snap of the art work in the restaurant’s courtyard.
My least favourite part of holidays is packing up to go home. It’s always sad to leave, especially when it means saying goodbye to family, but we’re meeting up in Madeira in October. I’m really looking forward to that 🙂
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliates links which means I may earn a small commission for any purchases made through them, at no extra cost to you. This helps towards the running costs of the blog and is very much appreciated.