Brittany is a territory of character, fueled by a regional identity that is so strong that its people kept on trying to break away from France till recently! But what makes Brittany truly unique are authenticity and deeply rooted traditions, gracious nature and beautiful landscapes, the eternal rivalry between land and sea… Oh, and let’s not forget gastronomy and music!
Coming to the region for a wedding in Plougonvelin, we flew from Paris to Brest on Monday morning. Renting a car at the airport, we drove to Le Conquet where we had our hotel. After two days of awesome festivities, we took the car and hit the road back to Brest and then to the Crozon Peninsula for four days of much-expected vacations. The Crozon Peninsula is located at the edge of Brittany and is included in the Armorique Regional Parc. Characterized by a mild climate, gorgeous landscapes, and specific flora, the area is a true jewel for nature lovers, hikers, water enthusiasts, and peace-seekers.
Read on for our detailed trip itinerary and main activities.
1. Brest & Road to Crozon
On the first day, we drove from Le Conquet to Morgat, stopping in Brest on our way to visit Oceanopolis, the regional aquarium at the Moulin Blanc marina. The weather being desperately grey and rainy, we thought our best option was to be indoors.
Oceanopolis is quite a thing, it is one of the biggest aquariums in Europe. With three distinct halls/pavilions for Polar, Tropical, and Temperate zones (as well as an area dedicated to biodiversity), Oceanopolis has more than 10,000 animals and marine plants and over 1,000 species. The center has modern infrastructure, great educational materials, and is especially well-adapted for children. A full visit can take up 4 to 6 hours (especially with children) but we did it in about 2 without missing much.
Following our visit, we drove from Brest to Morgat. The road is really nice and you can stop on numerous occasions to admire the view. We stopped once at a local cider production farm called La Maison du Cidre de Bretagne, as we had previously seen we could get a tour of the farm and a cider degustation!
The tour was really good and the guide, who happens to be the founder of the farm, is extremely knowledgeable. He showed us the different areas of the farm and explained all the steps for cider production. Nothing too commercial, only clear explanations and some chemistry 🙂 We ended up the tour with a great degustation led by the guide. We obviously ended up buying a few bottles…
We finally drove the last kilometers to Morgat and reached the place where we were staying at the end of the afternoon. A very nice room in a villa, found on Airbnb, just above the waterfront and 5 minutes away from the city center.
In the evening, we had dinner at Saveur et Marée, a restaurant on the seafront with a gorgeous view. They serve excellent seafood and do have a good wine menu!
2. Hiking at the Chèvre Cape
Following an excellent breakfast at our Airbnb, our hosts were so kind and gave us a lift to the edge of the south of the Presqu’Ile de Crozon: The Chèvre Cape, literally the edge of the goat.
Our plan was to hike from there back to Morgat, a 9km walk following GR34 (a famous, long-distance footpath, which follows the coast of the Crozon peninsula – several days are needed if you want to do the full hike). With beautiful weather and light hiking gear, we started to walk at around 11 am. The area is truly stunning: you hike on the top of the land with a beautiful view over the ocean and the coasts. The water is (really) transparent and the flora looks more like the south of France or Corsica than anything you would expect in Brittany.
After about 2 hours, we reached the first stop we wanted to make: the gorgeous Ile Vierge (Virgin Island). In spite of what its name suggests, Ile Vierge is not an island. It is a fabulous beach with crystal clear water, beautiful surroundings, and an awesome view. To get there, you’ll need to go down from the top of the hiking path to the beach, using a narrow, steep, and sometimes slippery passage. Nothing crazy though… Once you’re there, it’s paradise so it’s definitely worth the descent! Another way to reach this isolated beach is to rent a kayak or an inflatable boat and paddle from the beach in Morgat to there. After tanning and swimming for an hour or two, we went back on the path and finished the few kilometers left to Morgat. We can only recommend this hike, it is truly awesome!
In the evening, we had dinner at l’Oceanic, a nice pizzeria in Crozon.
3. Road Tripping the Peninsula
On our third day, we took the car and drove to different locations on the peninsula. First, we drove from Morgat to the little fishing village of Le Fret / Kervéden. The weather was rather grey, but we found the village and its surroundings very nice, especially the port. Hard to find somewhere more peaceful! The crêperie is very good!
Driving north, we reached the Espagnols headland where you will find a stunning panoramic view of Brest’s natural harbor. What a wonderful point of view! You can also visit some of the defensive fortifications built there from 1812 to Napoleon’s abdication in 1814, such as a well-preserved Napoleon tower. Those were built to defend Brest and its access to the sea against the British and their powerful war vessels.
For lunch, we stopped in Camaret-Sur-Mer, which is quite famous for its port, artists (many painting/art galleries), and the Tour Vauban (“Golden Tower”), a historic fortification guarding the harbor and built in the 17th century by the famous architect. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We then drove to the Pointe de Penhir, which is very well known for the rock formation in the sea called the ‘tas de pois’ (= heaps of peas). Don’t forget your camera, the scenery is truly beautiful.
At the end of the afternoon, we drove to the Palud Plage, which features a spectacular, wild landscape and dramatic coastline. It is also known as the surfers’ beach. You won’t find many swimmers, but if you’re interested in surfing, that’s definitely where you need to go!
For dinner, we went to the Bar Crêperie Atao Aman in Morgat. A nice place if you want to sip a few cocktails before going for the traditional crepes’ fest!
4. Visiting Landévennec and the Abbey
The last day it is… We only had our morning free, so we decided to head for one of Brittany’s greatest ruins… the abbey of Landévennec. The location is simply splendid: where the Aulne river gets into the bay of Brest. The abbey’s ruins can be visited and a good number of signs and explanations help you imagine how it was before. Next to the ruins, a modern museum gathers nice artifacts and gives you the keys to understanding past and present times in Landévennec.
Following the visit, we drove back to Brest, gave back the car, and took our flight back to Paris!
- Renting a car is a must if you want to really enjoy what the region has to offer
- Good hiking gear (waterproof ideally!) will be appreciated (not mandatory though, as footpaths are in great conditions)
- Airbnb was maybe our best idea for this trip! Many options available and a great opportunity to bond with locals, who will be glad to share tips and ideas for your trip