Travel: Benodet, Brittany
We have been planning to visit France as a family for ages and finally got around to it this year. We camped for ten days in Benodet which is on the coast of Brittany, travelling across on the ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff. It's not an area any of us had visited before and we fell in love with it. There were many things we loved about our holiday and how it compared to our usual camping holidays in the U.K. . I have written about my favourite things about the area and why I would love to return.
The quiet beaches.
St Ives is our favourite place to visit in the UK but in the summer holidays there is no denying that it is so busy there. The beaches are heaving, restaurants fully booked and traffic queuing. There was none of this in France. We just couldn't believe how quiet the beaches were. We managed to get a car park space late in the morning next to the beach and could pick our spot for the day. There were also really clean and beautiful. Not all beaches had amenities but this just added to their charm and leads me to the second thing I loved about Brittany. The lack of crowds made the pace of the holiday much slower. We didn't have to rush to get to the beach to beat the crowds and could arrive when we wanted.
The area was not over developed.
Benodet is a very popular tourist destination and has several huge campsites. Even though this is so it is not over developed and still has a quiet charm to it. The surrounding villages still have the small basic, village shops and give you a taste of the French culture.
Enjoying the French Culture.
It really surprised us how shops and businesses still close at lunchtime and reopen mid afternoon. This is so different to Britain and really showed how laid back the French was of life is. The afternoons were so quiet, both on the beaches and in the towns. Also we made the mistake of visiting Quimper on a Sunday because nothing was open. This was a real shock to me as I would have thought a city would be open but I do admire the French for not doing so. There was a festival in Quimper though which we really enjoyed and was the reason we visited on a Sunday. There was a parade through the streets of people dressed in traditional Bretagne outfits, playing music and dancing. It was absolutely pouring with rain but the streets were still crowded and the locals proudly waved the Brittany flag to the parade participants.
Wherever I looked there were beautiful houses, both old and new. The colours, textures, and cute shutters made each and every property so gorgeous and very Instagrammable. I took so many photographs but could have taken so many more (the other two thirds of the family got a bit impatient with waiting for me whilst I constantly wanted to take photos). Even the unkempt houses with peeling paint were just beautiful and I was taken a back by how 'French' they all looked.
I could not believe the huge hydrangeas that were literally everywhere. There were rows and rows of them in front of houses, lining roads, on roundabouts, along the coastline and even at the supermarket. They were absolutely stunning and since returning home the ones I have seen here are tiny in comparison.
The cycle paths
There were many other things that we loved about Benodet in particular. One was the flat and safe cycle path that ran from our campsite into the town. This encouraged families to cycle more and it was lovely to see it used so much. I will cherish the memory of cycling behind my son with the sun going down over the sea to my right. It was really amazing.
The ferry from Benodet to Sainte Marine
This is a very short ferry ride but so worth it. The sun was beaming when we got the ferry in the afternoon to go to beautiful Sainte Marine for lunch. The sea is so clean and there are lots of lovely boats in the harbour. Sainte Marine is absolutely stunning and has a small selection of excellent cafes, creperies and restaurants. It is immaculately kept and obviously a well loved village. The small beach is overlooked by most of the eateries and provides a safe play area for children. We visited Sainte Marine twice in the ten days that we were there because it was my favourite place. I'd love to go back.
We will definitely return to Benodet in the next few years and would recommend the campsite that we stayed on. I hope you have enjoyed my summary of the holiday and please ask if you have any questions about the site or area. We are currently looking where to go camping in Europe next year so any suggestions would be gratefully received.