Holiday Rental in dep. Morbihan.
Nearby: La Gacilly, Rochefort en Terre and Josselin.
There's so much to do near our six gites in Brittany it's hard to know where to start. Below is a selection of some of the things to see and do ! If you look on our actual website (www.frenchgites.com) you will see all the below information with the photo's as well
LOCAL TOWNS - From Josselin to Vannes......
Near to the gites, nestling in the Brittany countryside lies the small village of Reminiac which is ten minutes from the large town of Malestroit and twenty minutes from Josselin. Reminiac has fifty or so houses, a church, restaurant and a bar
In the summer check out the wood-carving exhibition on the village green where sculptures are created from huge logs using implements ranging from chainsaws to chisels. All the sculptures are kept on display and now there's a nice walk round the back of the village with dozens of sculptures from years gone by
Monteneuf, a mile or so from most of the gites, is famous in Brittany and also across France- for its 'standing stones'. There are dozens of the mysterious huge megaliths in a small area just outside the village. The stones, which range in size from a hundred kilos to over thirty tons, are made from schist -see below movie. In addition, an authentic Bronze Age village has been created around them to give the place a really genuine feel. An extensive network of marked paths specially designed for walkers and cyclists leads off from the stones into the surrounding forest and you can walk for miles along the tracks
Monteneuf has a lake where you can fish and you can pick up a daily licence from the bakers. However, like us, you may just prefer to use the lake area for picnicking on hot summer days. Go early in the morning and the mist can be quite spectacular. There's a nice walk around all around the lakeside as well
Also at Monteneuf is the Auberge des Voyajouers -below middle- which is a great place for a rainy day. It's a traditional games centre full of wooden games -no computers here. Inside are hundreds of things to do from mazes, to board games, to skittles and all sorts of traditional Breton pastimes. It's twenty Euros for a family and you can stay all day. There's a cafe and bar as well. Our children love it and it's great for adults as well
Monteneuf also boasts The Megaliths restaurant which is a lovely little auberge right next to the church. This converted barn serves fantastic meals with a choice of set menus and a la carte. The chef specialises in local dishes and it's is a great way to try some real French cuisine in a welcoming atmosphere
About twelve kilometres away from the gites lies the beautiful mediaeval town of Malestroit. Historically important due to its role in the hundred year war the town was built in the Middle Ages on the banks of the River Oust which flows through its centre. Malestroit also boasts a scenic canal which goes to Nantes and the town has been designated a 'Cite Fleurie,' which means it is decorated from top to bottom with stunning floral displays all summer
Everything you'll need is available here including; large and small shops -four supermarkets- three open Sunday morning; an excellent cave (off-licence) stocking a huge range of wines and beer; a garden centre; banks, post office, petrol station and all the usual amenities one would expect in a small town. Malestroit also houses the museum of Brittany resistance which is a great visit if you are into history
If you're interested in house hunting there are two English speaking estate agents in Malestroit. We can tell you where to find them. You can also hire bikes from the Tourist Information office for about fifteen Euros per day or sixty Euros a week. On Thursday mornings a large market fills the church square offering huge quantities of local seafood and regional produce. Hot cooked food such as spit roasted pork and chicken can be bought, together with paella, hot crepes and fancy tartlets
A variety of sales and antique fairs and fetes are held in the square throughout the summer months including the spectacular mediaeval jousting weekend. Try and visit on a Friday evening when every week during the summer the town holds it's Friday night music events down by the canal- it's all free of charge !
The River Oust and the Nantes-Brest Canal merge at Malestroit and then continiue towards Josselin. Hire a motor boat, canoe or pedallo for the hour or day. There's a 'limitless' towpath to walk along or cycle down. Why not visit the old mill that straddles the river and see how flour was milled in the old days ?
Try some of the restaurants and cafe's. There's the Moulin au Poivre -a great traditional auberge down a side street opposite the square. You can sit outside if you like and nip inside to choose from the large buffet board for starters, just help yourself and keep going back for more if you're hungry. If you fancy a pizza or pasta then go to La Pizzeria, just opposite the church which is great value .Try Lazarro's Pizza which has just opened near the war memorial is our new favourite
Don't miss Le Grain de Sel -an auberge next to the church. Very nice surroundings and great food. Sample the snails stuffed into filou pastry and the steak topped with gorgonzola. Around the corner is La Canotier -a bit of a more upmarket place. Then, by the canal is the Pont Neuf -a steaky type spot with great reviews
Also, check out La Riveraine creperie where you can have galettes (savory pancakes) filled with anything from scallops, to ham. For pudding try the crepes (sweet pancakes) filled with chocolate, brandy, apple, ice cream...... the choice is huge and you can easily eat too much
Just up the road from Malestroit is St Marcel where the Brittany Resistance Museum is located. There's a great auberge there on the corner of the square. At lunch time you pay twelveish Euros then help yourself to as much as you can eat from the huge buffet (seafood, beef, fish, you name it and it's probably there) and that's just the starter ! Next comes a set main course, cheese and then a pudding. There's a litre of wine included...all for the twelve Euros. There's a short movie showing Malestroit below....
Guer just ten minutes away from the gites is a pretty market town with a good selection of shops. There's a market in the square on Wednesdays with plenty of brasseries, bars and restaurants to try. Check out the Merven which has something for all tastes. Also just outside Guer is a small sixth century chapel which contains some rare 15th century murals and artifacts. You can go there and get a tour in English on Sunday afternoons by the very enthusiastic curator for just three Euros
A fifteen minutes drive takes you to one of Brittanys most popular towns- La Gacilly 'The home of the artisan'. La Gacilly is a Ville - Fleurie (Flowering Town) . It's absolutely jam packed with floral displays and must be seen. However, what really sets it apart is its population of sculptors and artists. Most workshops and galleries are open to the public throughout the summer. The small local shops are all stuffed full of objets d'art and interesting curios, all of which are for sale. There's all sorts of things to discover
The town also boasts a botanical gardens and a textile museum housed in an old millhouse on the river (you can take a boat trip for an hour or so on the river). Visit the annual nature photo exhibition which is free. Alternatively, take a look inside the metal workers atelier or treat yourself to a new set of hand made wine glasses from the glass blowers ?
Don't forget to visit to the Yves Rocher perfume factory where you can see the perfume being made. Afterwards, take a walk around their extensive gardens where the exotic plants for the perfume are grown. On the way out, stop off at the factory outlet shop and snap up some bargains. Market day is Saturday morning and you can buy anything from live chickens to fresh veg and local cheeses
St Jacut Les Pins
St Jacut Les Pins is a pretty town known for its windmill and traditional flour milling. The windmill which was built in the 19th century was the main source of flour for this area of Brittany until it was superseded by a water mill in 1923. There are a couple of good restaurants to check out close by as well. Take a trip to the Tropical Park. It's full of exotic plant life and well worth a trip- it also used to boast a chicken riding a bike...... We're not sure if it's still there though !
Le Roc-St Andre is a nearby town built on a large stone outcrop on the bank of the River Oust with an unusual neo-gothic church and bridge, plus on a slightly different front, its brewery. You can visit the brewery (Lancelot) and discover the secrets of traditional brewing. Try some of the beer when you are there
There is also a cider maker in the village and you can take a guided tour. Additionally, in Roc St Andre is the Forest Adventure Park where you can go climbing up in the trees, along ropes and treetop paths. It's a really fun afternoon for all the family- so long as you don't mind heights.............just don't look down
A fifteen mile drive north from the gites takes you to Plöermel. This bustling Brittany market town has a good selection of shops both large and small. There's a big choice of cafe's and restaurants as well. If you like seafood then go to the 'Retour de Peche' (a great seafood restaurant, about 200 metres down the hill from the main square). It's an odd place- part grill and part buffet but well worth a try (see the restaurant page for more info and photos) If you like italian then try Le Malleville, they serve huge pizza's....
The Boutique Acteul is well worth stopping off at. It's stuffed full of interesting objets d'art for the house and home and don't forget the Lake of the Duke -Lac au Duc- A huge lake with sandy beaches, water slides, boat, canoe, water ski and windsurf hire. Prices start at 8 euros an hour.
The town centre is really pretty and has lots of specialist small shops plus there's an impressive church in the centre which is worth a look. Check out the ' working time' museum where clocks are the thing. For those military buffs there is a workshop making lead toy soldiers which you can visit
Twenty minutes drive south is the large town of Redon -described as the 'Brittanys City of Art'. The town, which was founded in AD832, is situated at the confluence of two major rivers. It recently won the national prize for flower displays so expect to see a hanging basket or two. The town has a lot of ancient historic sites to see. Visit the seventeenth century salt warehouses or stop by the Benedictine abbey and listen to one of the unforgettable classical concerts that they have there
There's also a huge hypermarket, so if you're after a huge choice of stuff to buy, this may be the place to visit. Don't forget to go down to the quayside for a coffee, or perhaps check out the tapas bar by the canal. There are also a couple of brocantes and second hand shops as well
At Porcaro is the local depot vente (Brocante, 'second hand place'). Here you will find everything you can imagine that would be in a French house- all up for sale. It's basically a house clearance centre and this one is like an Aladdin's cave- only ten minutes from the gites
The pretty fishing port of Vannes -35 mins drive- is on the edge of Brittanys Golfe Du Morbihan, which features in the book 'The World's Most Stunning Bays'. The bay at Vannes is over fifteen miles square and littered with islands, hidden coves and white sandy beaches
You could take a boat trip with Navix Tours and visit a couple of islands and tour the bay. The area is a huge bird haven. You can visit the exhibition centre and even watch the birds from the hides. There are lots and lots of good beaches nearby as well. To see Vannes the easy way then why not take the thirty minute tour on the little train that leaves from the port every hour
Alternatively, just take the weight off your feet and sit outside one of the waterfront cafes and watch it all pass you by. They all serve lunch as well if you fancy it
Rochefort en Terre
The well known town of Rochefort-en-Terre is a popular destination due to its attractive cobbled streets, numerous quality restaurants and varied shops. It is described as a 'Petite Cite de Character' due to its fascinating 16th-18th century architecture and the fact that it won the prize for the best kept town in Brittany in 2016. There's a large fortified chateau, a traditional French museum and various art exhibitions
Don't forget to visit the huge dinosaurs at the prehistoric park near the town: Le Parc Prehistoire
About thirty minutes drive away, A trip to Josselin is a great day out. This ancient Brittany town (founded in the 11th century) is built along the banks of a river and is dominated by its huge turreted castle. You can take a tour around it
Take a stroll around the towns narrow medieval streets and admire the half timbered old houses dating back to 1538. We definitely recommend lunch at one of the many restaurants on the river bank. Sitting outside on a hot summers day with a cold drink is a must. Hire a canoe or pedallo on the river in front of the fairytale castle. In August the town is closed off for a three day mediaeval festival---- jugglers, jousting, knights, spit roasts and even an open air cinema
Lizio is a pretty town close-by with several places of interest to see. There's the 'metal working poet' with loads of fun sculptures where the children can press buttons and then watch the displays do all sorts of odd things. There's the insectarium full of creepy crawlies, a pottery, a museum devoted to 'workers of the past'; and even 'The House of the Clowns' with regular shows and workshops for both adults and children
Should you be a beer drinker why not nip into the Lancelot brewery on the outskirts of the town for a tour and a sample of the product ?
La Roche Bernard
This really nice town is perched on a large outcropping overlooking the river Villaine. The town was founded a thousand years ago by the Viking chief Bern Hart. Having sailed up the Villaine and spotted this huge rock he then settled there due to its defensive position. Having carried out his fair share of pillage he then converted to christianity and built a large priory. The town became an important trading centre and boomed throughout the middle ages. There's some fantastic views to be had
The ancient bustling city of Rennes located at the joining of the rivers Ille and Villaine is less than forty minutes drive from the gites. The city, which was first settled in the 2nd century AD, is steeped in history and is the capital of Brittany boasting the regions parliament buildings. The city is quite large (but you can walk around it in half a day) and has all the attractions one would expect, including parks, a zoo and various museums
The heart of the town is hundreds of years old and pedestrianised. The network of old winding lanes opens into expansive cobbled squares filled with statues and fountains. Frequently, fetes, markets and bazaars occupy the squares and for nine days in July a major festival takes over the whole city filling the streets with dozens of performing artists. The shopping quarter is split into two areas, one where the small specialist shops are gathered and another where the big department stores can be found -e.g Gallery Lafayette
Rennes has a lot of museums and galleries and some are well worth a visit. The Musee des Beaux Arts has a really interesting ancient Egypt section with all sorts of things on display from decaying mummies to ancient pottery. The Museum of Contemporary Art is another good place and is free to get into
A great spot for all the family is the 'Champs Libres' This is a modern building in the heart of Rennes that includes a Planetarium, a History of Brittany museum and a hands on exhibition on how The Earth and Brittany formed and evolved since the birth of the universe .You can touch rocks from the dawn of time and see the very first life forms that appeared on earth. Try the earthquake simulator if you dare
Should you fancy a bit of something different in the evening Rennes also boasts Le Liberte which is a large concert/ theatre venue and has an ongoing succession of widely differing acts from Status Quo, Deep Purple, Mamma Mia and opera, to Killer Queen and The Aussie Pink Floyd
Loads of restaurants are located around a few central squares -and the odd side street- where you can sit outside to eat or drink and soak up the ambiance There's a huge choice of food available depending on taste and budget- Rennes has it all ...see the video below
Designated a Brittany 'Centre d'Art and Histoire' Auray is a busy market town and tourist centre with lots of art and antique galleries. There's a large selection of shops to check out -all small, and interesting. Go down to Port Goustan to the picturesque harbour that looks like it's straight out of a film set. Flower decked, timbered houses and inns surround the quay side, its a great place to sit and enjoy the scenery. Have lunch overlooking the port in one of the many bistros that line the riverbank
Pontivy is an attractive bustling riverside town with a good selection of traditional shops and restaurants, a chateau, two large supermarkets, a hospital, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Market day is Monday
Lorient, further along the coast, is a large city set on the banks of the rivers Scorff and Blavet. Lorient was a major port both in the past and present and home to the French navy's submarine base. You can visit the second world war submarine pens. In August the Inter-Celtic Music Festival is held, which is the biggest in Brittany with musicians from all the celtic countries
Just to the west is Guidel-plage another lovely sandy beach with restaurants close-by Larmor Plage - as its name suggests is concentrated along its fine sandy beach, with a busy water-sports centre, a favourite for windsurfing and sailing. There are pleasant beach-side cafes for less strenuous activity
Port-Louis is an ancient fort town at the entrance to the Lorient seafront. The fort itself was built in the heyday of the French East India Company- see photo- and well worth seeing. The Lohic promenade on the 17th century ramparts offers views of the little village of Gavres and the boats and dinghies that are beached at low tide. The Grands-Sables beach is a favourite with locals for bathing and water-sports
L'ile de Groix and Dinan
The Isle de Groix lies three miles off the coast off the Brittany coast near Lorient. The island is known as the place of the Greks, the local name for the large coffee pots favoured by the islanders, Groix is a land of contrasts. In the early 20th century it was the biggest tuna port in France, but it now relies on its wildlife and scientific heritage. Tourism accounts for much of its income. The giant rocks of Groix, its fields, valleys and scattered hamlets have all remained untouched and unspoiled
Dinan is about an hour's drive from the gites and is said to be Europe's best preserved mediaeval city. The town really needs a whole days visit and even then you will only just scratch the surface. Go down the hill and wander around the harbour on the River Rance at the bottom
Quiberon is a world apart, which is hardly surprising since it was once an island and is linked to the mainland only by a string of dunes called tombolos. Lovers of solitude and sightseers alike can lose themselves walking along Brittanys Cote Sauvage (wild coast), while the other side of the island offers an intimate, yet ever-growing, seaside resort, providing all the usual attractions and every type of water-sport you can imagine
Carnac, Quimper and Guerande
With its beautifully sheltered beaches, particularly mild climate, stylish villas and seaside pines Carnac has that Mediterranean feel to it. This summer resort, which is divided between the town and the beach and is one of the most elegant in Brittany, is known for its world-famous 'menhirs' -standing stones. In addition to its flourishing tourist industry, Carnac is also farming country, so it gains income from both sources and ensures that the landscape is well looked after. It's very pretty and the town is right on the beach
The lines of standing stones rise up from the moorland and scrub and cover about three square miles.. There are three main henges and even the smallest consists of over 240 standing menhirs. There is an observation post at the Kermario, from which all 982 standing stones can be admired. Like Stonehenge, all three are oriented towards the sunrise of the summer solstice
Quimper lies a few miles inland from the sea at the confluence of the rivers Steir, Jed and Odet and is a nice town to visit. The medieval centre is in Rue Kereon -Shoemakers Street- which leads off from the main square beside St. Corentins cathedral. On this same street you'll discover an excellent tea shop- La Macaronerie- with its wonderful macaroons, plus chocolates, cakes and of course, tea ! Quimper art gallery is worth a visit with work covering the 16th to 20th century. Also there's an organic market every Friday afternoon from 3pm to 7.30 in the Kerfeunten car park
Guerande is a magnificently preserved medieval town. The thick ramparts of the town overlook the famous square salt swamps which provide an income for the town. This natural sea salt is carefully gathered by the townsfolk using traditional methods, and goes on to grace the finest tables in France. Also known as 'Gwen Ran' or the white town, Guerande owes its livelihood to the salt, which in the past was so precious it was used as currency for commercial transactions. The salt flats are home to a magnificent array of flowers and birds, with egrets and blue heron amongst others
St Nazaire is a port town and famous for its part in the second world war as the Germans based their atlantic submarine fleet in the town. They built massive submarine pens which are still standing in their original (and now decaying) condition (see below left) and you can wander around freely and be impressed by the huge scale of the buildings
Whilst you are there go onto the Escal Atlantic which is a recreation of a traditional ocean liner and really interesting. Ocean liner building is St Nazaire's other claim to fame and they built liners including the world famous Normandie during a ship building history spanning several hundred years
Just a few yards from the Escal Atlantic is the submarine Espladon -in a dry dock- where you can buy a ticket and explore. Also at St Nazaire you can visit the Airbus factory and the naval dockyards
There are, of course, numerous other towns and places to visit close by. I could add a lot more to this page.......but come and see for yourself !
Our gites are only thirty minutes from the Brittany coast at Vannes and there are so many beaches dotted around that we can't even begin to show them all. Below are some shots from Carnac, Damgan and a few others. Brittany has the longest coastline of any region in France so there's a huge choice
There's a great selection of quiet sandy beaches in and around Damgan which is only forty minutes drive from the gites
Damgan's main beach is stunning and there's plenty of places to buy food, ice creams etc. The main town and its numerous restaurants is just yards from the beach. There's also a large play area with swings, slides and roundabouts -photo's below
One great advantage of Damgan is that its choice of beaches are all close together. There are the busier ones and also those that are very quiet.
Brittany beaches tend to slope fairly gently which means that the sea is shallow for paddlers and that the tide goes out quite a long way. It can come in fairly quickly though so be aware. There's a photo below showing the beach with the tide out. It takes ages to walk out to the sea. On one of the beaches there's an large area of rock pools. See the locals scratching around for their dinner -mussels, whelks and oysters are abundant and free to anyone who wants to collect them
It's a fun place for the kids to play and there's a swings and roundabout's area about twenty yards from the beach itself as well
A recommended restaurant in Damgan is the creperie,which is about two hundred yards from the beach. There's also a fantastic artisanal ice cream maker with more flavours than you can imagine. Below are a few shots of the town itself, less than a hundred yards from the beach. There are lots of small shops to choose your favourite souvenirs from. The glassblower's is a must see and don't forget to try the deep fried chi chi and chocolate
Whilst you are in Damgan why not drive up the road a mile to Penerf and go and eat in Le Pecher or The Bistro de la Mer ? Alternatively, stop off in Ambon on the way and go to the Escale Saveurs -see the restaurant page
Penerf, offering two great restaurants is truly scenic in its own right. The quiet bay is tranquil and calm and you can just sit there, relax and watch the locals busy fishing. There's a sandy beach as well and also an oyster fishery. Take a trip across the bay on the 'bateau taxi' for a couple of euros and stroll round the commercial oyster farms. It's very interesting as it's an real working cove and you can see the whole process of oyster farming actually going on in front of you
Carnac is probably Brittany's most well known seaside town and like Damgan all the beaches have a pale yellow soft sand. They are clean and well looked after and the children love them. Plus there's a nice promenade if you fancy a stroll and loads of places to eat and drink in the pretty town itself
You can take a trip on the fifty minute tour on the little train that takes you round the mysterious neolithic megaliths that make Carnac world famous. Also check out the Megalithic Museum which is packed full of fascinating artifacts
La Trinity sur Mer
About ten minutes drive from Carnac at Trinity sur Mer is Brittany's biggest yachting centre. The immediate vicinity of La Trinity has some beautiful, stunning beaches, a large marina and some excellent shops and galleries. It's well worth a visit
The peninsula stretches fourteen kilometres into the sea and boasts twelve sandy beaches and more than 2,500 hours of sunlight a year. The main town of Quiberon is one of Morbihan's liveliest and most popular resorts with a large sandy beach, promenade and plenty of beach sidebars, restaurants and souvenir shops. Departing twice a day from Quiberon is a ferry to the island of Belle-Ile
Belle Ile is Brittany's largest island, fifteen Kilometres offshore and has attractive beaches, beautiful and varied scenery with plenty of historical sites. There are guided coach tours, which are an ideal way for day trippers to explore the island. Monet painted numerous pictures on the island
Ile aux Moines
The island is just off the coast at Port Blanc near Vannes. Pay five Euros for the trip over (boats leave every half an hour) and check out the beaches there. Have lunch in one of the many restaurants. Hire a bike or a boat, or just go for a walk
Along the Northern edge of the Golfe du Morbihan are countless sandy beaches and all are generally deserted. Take a trip along the coast towards Lamor Baden and turn left towards the sea. Dozens of lanes wind down to the beaches. They pop out right on the sand so just stop and you're on the beach. There's so many hidden coves you'll never have time to find them all. The pictures below give you an idea of how quiet they are- this was midsummer
La Baule has a massive bay with a sandy beach and there's loads to see and do as well: water sports, bars, restaurants and shops plus a really nice town to walk around and there's a market most days in the summer. La Baule is known as the Monaco of the North and is pretty smart
The coastline here has a mixture of dramatic granite cliff tops and sheltered sandy coves. Walk along the cliff tops then climb down to a hidden beach, relax and go for a swim
Port Louis has a large sandy beach near the town with easy parking. It's a port that is rich in history with impressive ramparts and a town centre full of character. The fortified citadel dating from 1591 was used as a prison, barracks and arsenal and is now a complex of several interesting museums
This really nice small town is a bit further along the coast The town square is traditional in every way, packed with cafes with tables and chairs filling every space. Not only that but there's a great sandy beach which is perfect for sunbathers and walkers. There's lots for the children to do (trampolines etc) and loads and loads of rock pools to explore. Plus there's a fantastic cliff-top walk along a rough sandy track which winds its way around the rocky headlands and coves. The views are stunning and well worth the trek. Try one of the many restaurants in the town square
It's so quiet here. If you'd like your own 'personal beach' then head here. It's just south of Damgan on the other side of Billiers. Park up at the end of the headland and instead of opting for the main beach by the restaurant walk to the left along the cliff top path. In a few hundred yards you'll come across various little routes down the cliffs to tiny secluded beaches just a few hundred yards long. There are plenty to choose from and most are deserted
Auray has a beach, but we recommend a trip down to the estuary and port. It is absolutely stunning. You can go for a really nice walk along the river and then have lunch in one of the numerous quay side restaurants. Eat mussels, scallops or oysters if you like seafood. Alternatively try a French pizza, some pasta, or perhaps something more traditional in an auberge
If you don't fancy driving we can arrange a car to take you and collect you from any of the restaurants or towns- just ask !
Brittany restaurants are world famous for their cusine, and luckily The Old Ivy auberge is very close to our gites in Brittany. It's just two minutes quiet walk from Maison Crème, a minutes walk from Violette and Rose and two minutes drive (or thirty minutes walk) from Blanche and Orange. It's a traditional Breton restaurant and a great place to sample the local delicacies. The menu changes all the time and includes everything from snails and langoustines to steak and venison. All perfectly prepared and served in a fantastic friendly atmosphere
You can call to reserve a table if you like on 00 33 2 97 93 27 87, if not then just walk in, you can usually find a space. The menu is chalked up on a blackboard inside and out and you choose a main, starter and pudding from the selection If you'd rather just have a cool drink then why not enjoy a cold beer or lemonade on their newly installed outside terrace- Note Autumn 2018. The Ivy is currently closed due to the owners health issues. We have been told it will re-open sometime in the summer but there is no fixed date yet- We recommend the Megaliths restaurant instead (see below) which is less than two minutes from The Ivy at Reminiac.
The Megaliths Restaurant
The Megaliths restaurant is in the heart of Monteneuf, a minute or two from the gites and just over a mile from the Old Ivy in Reminiac. This charming traditional auberge serves a selection great fresh seasonal food. Inside one wall is decorated with a huge fresco of the local Bronze Age standing stones and the whole place is friendly and welcoming. It's open most every lunch time and most evenings and is excellent value- we often go there ourselves !
In the tiny village of Treal, just a couple of hundred yards from La Maison Bleue you'll discover this hidden away auberge
This is as 'real Brittany' as you are going to get. The restaurant is open every lunchtime but there's no clues its even there. You find youy way in via the small shop. Follow the dark passage to the rear of the bar and you'll find yourself in a large room full of tables with winre and cider on them. There's no menu or choice and only one price. Sit back, enjoy a drink -it's all included in the 11 Euros- and wait and see what comes your way. There's usually four or five courses including the cheese. This is a real 'workers' restaurant and is designed to fill you up. You'll see lots of artisans in there but also many of the local Treal residents enjoying the food
The town of Malestroit twelve kilometres away has a great choice of restaurants and cafe's. Whether you just want a drink and a snack sitting outside in the cobbled town centre overlooking the church or you want a full meal then Malestroit is a great place to go. Try the really nice pizzeria in the square which has got a huge menu from ranging from pizzas to seafood and steaks.
Alternatively check out one of the many great auberges which are a must to try. The Mill au Poivre has a large 'help yourself' starter buffet and a really warm friendly atmosphere. The Grain de Sel is quite trendy and offers a really nice choice. You could order the frogs legs. Alternatively nip in to the Cantonier round the corner and work your way through the menu there. If you'd prefer to eat near the canal then check out the rear terrace at Le Pont 9 restaurant
Don't forget the Creperie Mael Trech. Have a seafood galette for the main course followed by a banana and melted chocolate crepe for pudding. There's a big choice to be had !! It's a very casual place and you can sit outside in the square if you like - see below right photo
Le Relais du Maquis: St Marcel
Just up the road from Malestroit is St Marcel where the Brittany Resistance Museum is located (see museum page in things to do). There's a great auberge here on the corner of the square. At lunch time you pay eleven Euros then help yourself to as much as you can eat from the huge buffet (seafood, beef, fish, you name it and it's probably there) and that's just the starter ! Next comes a set main course, cheese and then a pudding. There's also a litre of wine...all for the eleven Euros
Ruffiac: La Grange
La Grange is a great little restaurant just five minutes drive from the cottages - It's open every lunchtime and most evenings as well. The place is really friendly and the food is lovely. There's always a good choice of set menus and it's all freshly cooked by the owner to order. Starters are a serve yourself buffet so you can choose exactly what you fancy. Select from half a dozen main courses, then puddings. With drinks it's usually about fourteen euros each and we often eat there ourselves
The Bonnes Joues: Monterrein
The Bonnes Joues is a traditional French auberge set in the corner of the church square in nearby Monterrein. Everything about it is fantastic from the interior decor to the warm welcome you'll receive from the English speaking owners right through to the regional food they serve. As you can see from the pictures below the place has real charm, character and a lovely atmosphere
The menu starts at about twelve pounds for a three course 'plat du jour' or you could treat yourself to one of the other menus (about 16 pounds a head for four courses) There's a great selection of things to try including -should you be feeling brave- a very nice snail pie
To find it go to Monterrein then head for the church and you'll see the restaurant on the far side. There's a green sign on the wall If you'd like to book in advance (although it's not usually necessary) ring 00 33 2 97 93 74 63 53 and ask for 'Magali' as she speaks fluent English and is very friendly
There is another restaurant in Monterrein called the D8 which does 'workers' lunches only and it's worth a visit at midday: set meals at low prices
This is a really nice place with a great selection of traditional food plus a speciality pizza oven. The owner is the mayor of Augan as well so you'll be in safe hands. There's a bar to the front of what looks like a very old building but don't be put off by that as inside it's very friendly and welcoming
Little Italy restaurant in Guer (just ten minutes from our gites) is a pizza parlor. However, they also offer all types of Italian food as well. There's a great takeaway menu and we definitely recommend the pizzas which are about eight Euros each. Another great pizza place in Guer is Lazarro, which is bright and modern with great service and open seven days a week morning and night. Just past Guer on the other side of the motorway is St Cyr where the French military school for officers is based. Here you'll find quite a few eateries and we like Norby's which is about as close to an English pub atmosphere as you're likely to get with a large selection of 'pub type meals' available
Le Petit Keriquel: Chapelle Caro
At Chapelle Caro you'll find the Petit Keriquel. This small restaurant opposite the church has a great selection of half a dozen menus which start at twenty Euros. There is also an a la carte and children's menu -nine Euros. The choice is excellent, from filet of sole to scallops, oysters, pheasant and rabbit. There's loads of options. The owner is a very good chef and makes use of mostly organic products on his menu. If you'd like something different then this is definitely the place to go
L'Escale aux Saveurs: Ambon
This restaurant is really nice and we try to visit as often as possible. It's location in Ambon is perfect as it's only ten minutes from the beach at Damgan -see 'the beach' page. We tend to go to L'Escale on the way to the coast, have lunch then move onto the beach itself afterwards
The restaurant itself is a traditional auberge but with a modern twist and the surroundings and ambiance are spot on. The decor is really well done to feel cosy but bright and contemporary at the same time. The most important bit -the food- is great. The menus are extensive. You can opt for a set menu of three courses including wine for only twelve Euros a head where you choose from the cold buffet for starters -eat as much as you like. Then select from the choice of three main courses -one of which could be a wood fired pizzas. Finish up with a selection from the dessert tray and a pitcher of wine or soft drink all included. We tend to go for this choice and come away stuffed- but if that's not enough then try the eighteen euro menu...snails, venison and all sorts of other choices. Then there's the 'a la carte' offering everything from the humble omelette right up to large seafood platters. The choice is huge and it's all fresh, there's definitely something for everyone
To find it head for Damgan from Malestroit and Questembert. After a while you will come to Ambon: about three miles from Damgan. Ambon is a small town and you'll arrive at the top of the hill at a roundabout. Straight on is Damgan. To get to the Escale aux Saveurs turn right instead of going straight on and you'll see it after about hundred yards on your right. If you arrive at midday or early in the evening then you wont need to book but if you prefer to you can call the owner -Fabrice- who speaks English on 02 97 41 11 67 and reserve a table. Believe me it's well worth a visit, especially if you're going to the seaside
Also at Ambon is Le Fournil creperie a really nice traditional creperie. There's all sorts to choose from simple ham and cheese right up to scallops and snails- Real Breton food !
On the River: La Roche Bernard and Lizio
Go to La Roche Bernard and take one of the restaurant boats down the river. Have an excellent meal and a boat trip all rolled into one. A five course dinner plus a four hour cruise is about 35 Euros. If not then maybe try the fantastic auberge in the town centre square. There's plenty of other restaurants to choose from as well
In the nearby mediaeval town of Lizio you'll find Le Restaurant Leglaneur. This is a traditional Auberge with a great selection of local Brittany specialities. Menus range from ten Euros for a simple lunch right up to twenty seven Euros for the full works. Here's a sample menu.. Kir maison, Gourmandise perigourdine du Glaneur et feuille de St Jacques, Cote de boeuf grillee a la cheminee, Grillade de porcelet, Garniture de legumes, Brie sur salade, Delice aux poires, Gateau Breton, Vin: Muscadet et Bordeaux. You could try a sample plate of a bit of everything just to make sure you don't miss out !
Le Jardin des Saveurs: Plöermel
Plöermel is ten minutes from our gites and Le Jardin des Saveurs is a really nice restaurant serving such things as snails, smoked duck, scallops and Creme brûlée. If you just fancy a quick snack or a coffee then pop into the Cafe de La Tour Brasserie in the square
Also in Plöermel is the Retour de Peche. This restaurant is open every evening and Sunday lunchtime. You choose from a huge starter buffet packed full of everything you can imagine. Then you decide on your main course which is grilled over an open fire in front of you. The options are varios meats i.e steak, lamb, kebabs etc or a selection of various whole fish. Then it's back to a different buffet table to select your cheese course and onto another large buffet for the puddings. You can eat as much as you like and go back as often as you want. In fact they encourage you to do so
If you're after something a bit less French you can always try the Vietnamese & Thai restaurants in Plôermel- they are both very good
There's also the more 'American' Buffalo Grill which does a great steak. Plus It's open seven days a week 11 am to 11 pm. Next door to that is Del Arte Pizerria and also Macdonalds
Le Ferme aux Moines: St Grave
La Grange aux Moines is a traditional auberge which specialises in home cooked food.....Also in St Grave the auberge 'Chez Antoine' which is a really nice restaurant that isn't expensive... good for a lunchtime stopover !
Le Pelican: Rochefort en Terre
Rochefort en Terre is full of great restaurants and a really nice mediaval town to wander around. It won the prize for the most beautiful village in Brittany a few years ago. You could go for the rather sophisticated Pelican restaurant in the centre or the lovely Restaurant Les Ardoisiers just down the cobbled hill
If you prefer something really laid back then go to the Pont d'Arz, on the way into the town. It's great value and always really busy. Alternatively drive on to La Gacilly and check out the Pizza Rooms or you could always sample Le Gacilien and eat outside down by the river
Penerf and Damgan
If you're at the coast then you really must visit Le Bistro in Penerf. Try the freshly caught mussels or the great salads. There's also Le Pecher at Penerf and Le Chocolatier. They are only a couple of hundred yards apart so you wander between them, check out the menus and see what you fancy !
Auray, Rennes and yet more Brittany restaurants.........
When you're at Auray visiting the beautiful old port then you might be rather overwhelmed by the choice of restaurants all around the quayside. Take your pick; we've sampled most of them and they've all been great. Lots of choice of well presented food at really good prices. - mussels and chips are about twelve Euros. If you want something more simple you can opt for a seafood omelette, a pizza or just a plain club sandwich
Should you be in Brittany's capital, Rennes -less than 40 minutes drive from the gites- we recommend La Brasserie, just down the side street opposite Galerie Lafayette. It's a great little place with a fantastic menu and is what real France is all about. It's one hundred percent authentic with a real buzz about it and locals coming and going all the time. Also in Rennes we like the more contemporary restaurant L'Amiral which specialises in all sorts of seafood
Slightly further afield La Creperie at Larmor Baden is a lovely eatery and you can sit outside in the village square for a leisurely lunch
Still hungry ? Try: Josselin - Hotel de France, Ploermel -La Table Rond, Neant Yvel -Bonne Table, Mauron -Le Brambily, Serent - La Taverne, Caro -Les Bruyers, Guer - Le Bistro Gourmande.... there's so many others to choose from we can''t list them all here
There are also the famous Brittany crepes. Every town has a creperie and you can even buy them hot at the markets and at roadside stalls. The creperie ' Chez Marie' at Carnac is not to be missed. Visit La Riveraine at Malestroit as well. Failing that, just pick one up from a stall on market day or at a fete and eat it on the hoof
Beer, Cider and Wine... a few pointers........
Brittany has many small breweries and you can visit some of them such as Lancelot at Le Roc St Andre -which is only about fifteen minutes from our gites. The 'biere' is divided up into three main sections; black, brown and white (Noir, Bruin and Blanche). White is normally lager (i.e Stella or 1664) although it can sometimes be like some of the specialty white German frothy beers. Brown is the closest they have to bitter although it's not exactly the same. Black tends to be more stout like but not as heavy. It does tend to be strong though and is traditionally brewed with various bits floating in it
On tap you will usually only get lager but bear in mind that if you do want it on tap as opposed to in a bottle you must specifically ask for it. Ask for 'une biere pression' (pronounced 'be air press e on') or more usually 'un demi' (a half)
Cider is also a local favourite with a lot of it about. It's nearly always sold in jugs in restaurants and can be quite nice. It's also very cheap
Wine is not really made much in Brittany but naturally there is an unending supply from elsewhere in France. Bottles start at about 1. A decent Bordeaux red will set you back about 3.00. Best bet is to try a few and see what you think
BRITTANY PARKS, ZOOS AND GARDENS
There are so many Brittany parks and gardens it's impossible to mention them all so here's just a selection.....
Branferé animal park is at Malansac -just twenty minutes away. This stunning park was founded in the eighteenth century and now holds host to a great mix of wildlife from kangaroos and zebras to flamingos and parrots. The beauty of it is you can touch and even feed most of the animals (e.g. the kangaroos) Take a picnic and make a whole day of it. Don't forget to visit the chateau in the grounds or to go on the brilliant aerial walkway
La Bourbansais is a zoo at Pleugueneuc set in the beautiful grounds of a huge chateau. It's really nicely laid out with lovely paths winding through the various animal enclosures. Mostly the animals are kept in by moats rather than fences so you feel much closer to them. It's well worth a day trip- I'd say it's Brittany's nicest zoo
You can see lions, tigers, panthers, giraffes, wolves, crocodiles etc. In addition check out one or more of the free shows (the hounds or the birds of prey demonstration). You can also visit the chateau itself. Don't forget to take the children to the bouncy castles (there are about eight of them and they are all free) and be careful not to get lost in the sweetcorn maze .There's a restaurant for lunch, drinks and ice creams in the middle of the zoo and you can use their picnic benches if you want to take your own food
Of all the Brittany parks this is the biggest; a huge safari park at Nantes and is a great day out for all the family. You arrive in your car and drive around yourself crossing sixteen huge areas which take you across the five continents of wildlife. See lions, tigers, giraffes, elephants, monkeys, buffalo, rhinos and dozens of other beasts; all are roaming free and come right up to the car. Remember to keep the windows closed ! If you prefer you can take a tour in a landrover. You're also allowed to get out and pet some of the animals (not the tigers). There's a good restaurant for lunch as well
The Insectarium at Lizio is only about fifteen minutes from the gites but it's not the place to go if you don't like creepy crawlies. See the lot, from the tiniest fleas upwards and understand their place in the world. There's also a giant bee colony
The Golfe Bird Reserve
At Vannes the Golfe du Morbihan is Brittany's premier national park and a massive bird sanctuary. The bay is about 15 miles square and is teeming with birdlife. You can walk along the reserves specially constructed paths above the marshes, use any of the 'hides' to study the birds or take a guided tour
The Bee Sanctuary
Near the town of Le Faouet you can visit the bee and stick-insect farms. Take a guided tour (in English) and find out everything you needed to know about the little beasts. See what they do and how they live.. Why not buy some genuine untainted honey ? None of this stuff reaches the shelves of Tesco's !!
These are right next to the aquarium in Vannes (see below). Well worth a visit as long as you don't mind walking through hundreds of swooping butterflies !
Pont Scorff Zoo
This a great Zoo and very well done, beautifully laid out with the animals given plenty of room and well cared for. You can see all sorts of beasts here from lions, giraffes, elephants and hippos, to bears, wolves, crocodiles and leopards. Spend the day, either take a picnic or eat in one of the on site restaurants which are cheap and good value. Don't forget to buy popcorn as you go in so you can feed the kangaroos and the ostrich !
Wild Boar farm
This unsurprisingly, is a farm devoted to no other animal than the wild boar. I've no idea why. If you have a hankering for a bit of boar then I suggest you look no further. They also sell the beasts- not whole I'm afraid but in bits; potted, tinned, sausaged and jointed. Alternatively, just go into a local restaurant and order it from the menu (look for sanglier). It's very nice.. a bit like steak but not
Farm of the World
Situated near Carrentoir about ten minutes from the gites this is a great place to visit. The farm is set in a huge parkland and boasts over four hundred animals from across the world. Starting with the humble chicken and the slightly shirty camel right up to bison and alpaccas. See all the animals up close, go into the petting park and touch and feed some of them. Either walk around the grounds or take the tour on the 'Disney' train. Enjoy a picnic followed by a game of crazy golf
At Le Sterou this is a large park of 'game type' animals which wander freely through the grounds. There's an aquarium as well
Bird Park- Bruz
A collection of over a 1000 exotic birds ranges from parrots to ostriches all at Rennes
This exceptional collection of sea life at Vannes aquarium is and very nicely done. From sharks to piranhas it's all there. The aquarium is the home to the famous crocodile found in the sewers of Paris There's also a smaller aquarium in Redon with a different variety of fishy things
If you fancy even more sea life then you could always go to the Oceanarium du Croisic at Le Croisic near St Nazaire- It's about an hours drive from the gites and has fifty plus large aquariums filled with life from three of the worlds oceans. It's a good place to visit and really well laid out, modern and well presented
There's an undersea glass tunnel you can walk through with sharks and manta rays swimming over your head and beside you. There's penguins to be laughed at and the huge shark tank is amazing. You walk up above it, then you come down beside the massive glass wall on one side. The view is incredible and the sharks are actually pretty scary. There's also a presentation about the sharks and their environment every couple of hours
To the north west at Brest enjoy the thrill of an unforgettable day discovering the world's oceans. Located at the western end of Brittany in an exceptional maritime and scientific environment This place will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the worlds oceans with three separate zones. You can watch the seals, penguins and crabs in the polar zone. Move onto the sharks and seahorses in the tropical zone then ake part in the feeding of the sea lions in the temperate zone
At Plouagat, a unique centre holding lots of slimy, creatures from amphibians to reptiles
This centre near St Malo has snakes, alligators chameleons, turtles, lizards and much more......
Garden of the Wood
Set in the heart of Josselin this garden boasts a landscaped walk which features local plants and trees. In total, there are fifteen acres of 'wild' pathways and it's all free !
Parc Chateau Plessis
Near the town of Auray and overlooking the Golfe du Morbihan, this park and chateau has a large collection of rare and ancient plants
These large gardens near Breal contain unique plant collections such as the French national iris collection. In addition, there's a variety of landscapes to explore, all with their own specialised plants. It's really well laid out and very smart. The plants are well tended and labeled up so you know what you're looking at. There's also a lot of gardeners at work that are more than happy to chat to you about the plants
Of special interest is the Brittany Barefoot Walk, which, as it says is a walk for about twenty minutes without your shoes on. If you decide to try it out you put your shoes and socks in a locker and set off down a narrow path. The ground surface changes about every thirty metres or so to give you loads of different walking sensations underfoot. You even have the option to do it blindfolded....Plus there's a play park for children
Just outside Ploermel (Le Circuit des Hortensias) This beautiful park is part of the national collection and boasts well over 5000 plants.... there's a tea shop as well
La Maison de l' Automobile
Twenty minutes away from the gites, at Loheac the huge Manoir de l'Automobile has 15000m2 of exhibitions and over four hundred immaculate vehicles. It's a great visit for everybody. There are cars from every walk of life all lovingly cared for. You can see the really old stuff right up to the modern F1 cars. In fact there's a whole Formula One starting grid on display as well and there's often racing on the circuit as well. Go-karting and quad bike racing are also available
Machines de L'ile
This is an odd place but very interesting and well worth the trip. Set in the former shipyards of Nantes you can go and discover some extraordinary machines. There's the huge mechanical elephant which is over twelve metres high and can carry fifty passengers on a tour of the Ile de Nantes. From the inside you'll see all the moving gears, make the elephant trumpet and even control some of its movements. Traveling high up on its back is like being four storeys up on a moving house. The views of the River Loire are amazing, an unforgettable experience
Move on from there to the large gallery of machines which is a 'living exhibition' as artisans bring to life a whole host of machines from sea monsters to amazing flying machines
The Resistance Museum
This exhibition is located about ten minutes away from the gites on the outskirts of Malestroit. Having just opened its doors it's a modern well presented museum charting the darker days of the second world war when the Germans had a large base at Malestroit. It describes the course of events from the occupation to the formation of The Resistance and finally to the huge allied parachute drop that liberated the town and surrounding area
There's loads of exhibits from tobacco tins to full size tanks. You can take a trip in an armoured personnel carrier or if you prefer watch the old footage in one of the cinemas -English subtitles. The whole place is very well done and extremely interesting
La Maison des Paludiers
Brittany's salt workers....... Now I know that this sounds a bit dull, but really it's not. The town of Guerande is internationally famous for its hand harvested salt and the industry there dates back over a millennia with the skills being handed down through families generation after generation
The area surrounding the town is covered in man-made salt marshes that are flooded once a month by the high tide. The Paludiers -salt workers- then harvest the salt by hand. This may sound simple but the whole process of building and maintaining the special salt marshes and lagoons right through to the actual harvesting of the salt is a long, complicated and highly skilled job. The resulting salt is like none other on earth and is used in the top restaurants of the world
The Maison des Paludiers takes you through the whole experience -in English- with a series of films and demonstrations. You can also visit one of the working lagoons and see the salt being stacked, harvested, dried and readied for sale
The Transatlantic Liner
Inside two huge bays of the former submarine base at Saint Nazaire the 'ocean liner' L'Escal Atlantic takes you on a journey back to the hey-day of the glamorous transatlantic liners. Covering three levels and 3,500 square metres of exhibition space L'Escal Atlantic totally re-creates the atmosphere and the interior of an actual liner, many of which were built in Saint-Nazaire including La Normandie and La France
Embarking is like joining an early twentieth century cruise ship on an actual transatlantic crossing. Visitors become passengers who discover cabins and staterooms, feel the 'wind of the open sea' on the promenade deck, experience the noise and heat of the engine room and maybe enjoy a leisurely drink in the liner's bar... But beware, the end of the voyage might not be as relaxed as you would expect- these ships can sink...luckily there are lifeboats !
After the ocean liner experience, we recommend strolling around the now empty submarine base. It's a very odd but amazing place. The buildings have been left just as they were when the last world war two submarines departed. These are massive cavernous concrete constructions with huge wet docks running into them. All are completely deserted and you can look where you like. If this was in the UK it would have been turned into a shopping centre or knocked down. You certainly wouldn't have a free rein to poke around on your own
You can also get up onto the roof of this colossal building (see photo) which is made of acres and acres of bomb proof concrete- some of it rather worse the wear as the Allies did have a good try at destroying it whilst bombing Brittany during the war. The views across the docks are spectacular and it's a great place for a picnic lunch
Continuing the maritime theme at St Nazaire you can visit one of the worlds leading shipyards which opens its doors so that you can discover how the giant cruise liners of the seas are built. Accompanied by a guide, you are taken around the dry docks in a bus. The six km-long itinerary takes you safely and comfortably through the shipyard and explains the whole process of shipbuilding, from the steel plate storage area to the actual outfitting basin. There are usually a couple of liners underconstruction
Also at St Nazaire you can see the huge hangers where the worlds biggest planes are made. You are taken by coach to the factory in Gron just outside Saint-Nazaire and then walk through two groups of impressively bright and calm workshops, called Polaris and Comete. Purpose built visitors balconies allow for spectacular views over the fuselage sections of the different Airbus planes including the gigantic sections of the A380. You can see the double line of aircraft on both sides of the vast hall. This is where these plane sections are delivered from with final assembly taking place in Toulouse or Hamburg. The cargo plane; Beluga, nicknamed the ' flying whale', lands at Saint-Nazaire on a daily basis to pick up these fuselage sections but as the A380 sections are too big, even for this outsized cargo plane they have to leave Saint-Nazaire on a special ship down the Loire
Tour of the Port
Saint-Nazaire Port is France's 4th most important, and the number one on the Atlantic coast. Visitors can discover a series of impressive docks along the Loire river concluding several kilometres upstream at the oil refinery of Donges. Linked to 400 ports all over the world these terminals are important platforms for the regional economy and for everyday life. The thousands of containers which pass through here transport everything from household appliances to all kinds of groceries
Located at the famous second world war submarine base where the German fleet was hidden, you will discover everything there is to know about submarine design, build and operation. Go inside the French navy submarine 'Espadon' which was decommissioned and retired to Brittany in 1989 and get to see a real 'working' sub in the flesh. Check out how the sailors lived and worked in such cramped conditions. Take a tour around the shipyard and learn all about the role of submarines in both world wars
House of Bats
The House of the Bats is not the place for the faint hearted. This attraction at Kernascleden takes you into the spooky world of the bat; an unforgettable journey with these beasts of darkness. See what they see, hear what they hear and find out what it is to be a bat !
Take a trip to this real farm and see the way things were done a couple of hundred years ago. There's demonstration and tastings of traditional dishes
Art in the Chapels
This is a bit off-the-wall and is a multi venue