Picking up our motorhome from its safe storage, this was the start of our exciting 6 weeks motorhome holiday exploring Brittany and western France.
We were soon on the lovely M6 motorway on our way to Portsmouth, but we had also booked an overnight stop at The Chequers Inn, just off the A34 near Abingdon as a half way stop-over. They offer free parking in return for eating in the pub – never a hardship!
The next day we were back on the A34 heading for a quick stop at Port Solent, about 15 minutes drive from Portsmouth, and a good place to wait until you need to check in at the ferry terminal. There are plenty of restaurants and places to get a good coffee. It was a nice surprise, however, when my friend Adrian, a friend from my days in the travel industry, invited us on his new 43ft yacht moored in the marina. He gave us a tour of the boat and we reminisced over our travel days over a coffee. (Thanks for lunch as well Adrian, much appreciated)
The evening Portsmouth to St Malo ferry leaves at 8.15pm and arrives the next morning at 8.15am. Inside 2/4 berth cabins are reasonably comfortable and it was a calm crossing.
There is a very good motorhome park near the racecourse in St Malo at the Paul Feval park and ride. At €7.50 a night the price also includes a free bus to the old town about 10 minutes bus ride away. There is a free motorhome service point just across the road.
The walled old town of St Malo is well worth at least 2 days of your time. You can walk around the old town on the walls or stroll around the pretty cobbled streets where you will find many restaurants, cafes and shops. The coastline around St Malo is a fascinating mixture of tidal causeways and small islands, many of which have defensive forts that were built to defend against the English who attacked the town in 1758.
During World War 2 the town was flattened by allied bombers and it took 10 years to rebuild it. We also met up with our eldest daughter and family as they were on holiday for a week at the same time.
After 2 nights in St Malo we set off driving south to the town of Josselin, which had been recommended to us by some friends who live nearby. The town, located on the Nantes-Brest canal, is well known for it’s medieval half-timbered houses, it’s castle and gardens, so we were looking forward to our visit.
Our sat-nav took us directly to the motorhome parking area we wanted but, as occasionally can happen, the parking area had been taken over by a visiting circus and the animals, including camels and zebras, were roaming in the car park. The lions were safely caged! After we had driven off I realised that we could have stayed on the nearby campsite but by this time we were halfway to Vannes.
We visited Vannes last summer and stayed on the motorhome aire near Conleau. Due to 38c temperatures, however, we couldn’t find the energy to visit this popular medieval town. This time the weather has been a much more pleasant 23c so we got our bikes off the back of our motorhome and cycled along the cycle path around the bay and estuary into the old town.
It’s easy to understand why Vannes is a popular place to visit. Narrow cobbled streets lined by half-timbered medieval houses mixed with a busy picturesque marina make Vannes a good place to spend a day or two. After galettes for lunch we cycled back to the pretty harbour at Conleau.
The motorhome aire at Vannes cost us €9.60 a night and included an electricity hook up and water. There are spaces for about 30 motorhomes. If it’s full there is a campsite next door.
Next we are heading further south exploring Brittany – destination unknown!