Trip to Brittany  July August  1976

Saturday 24th July 1976

Simon woke at 5.00 am with a blocked nose, and went back for a short time, until Paul woke and they realised that we were going on holiday. We got up soon after 6 o'clock and left home about 8.30. The weather was fine and we got on well until we reach the Winchester bypass, where there were considerable hold-ups. However we reached Southampton at 10 o'clock and drove straight onto the boat, to the wonder of Simon, who had been trying to work out how the car got on the boat. We went up to the decks and found that all the seats seemed to be taken and spent the first hour or so on the top deck in the open, looking out over Southampton Water and then the Isle of Wight. The only available deckchairs were broken, but we used one folded down for the children to sit on. As we neared the Needles, the ship belched out some black smoke and either that or a few drops of rain descended on us and we decided to go "inside". After a walk around, we found some seats by the window, which was very fortunate and where we stayed for the rest of the voyage. We passed the "Queen Elizabeth" on her way back to Southampton after a fire on board. The children soon settled down to their new workbooks and drawing books and after lunch, busied themselves for the rest of the time and were so well behaved that several people commented on. At Cherbourg, we started travelling south. The children started looking out for different things in France, but soon they all fell asleep, so we had quite a peaceful journey, savouring the French atmosphere.
'Butterfly' in the park at Avranches
Paths went everywhere and the children ran off discovering one thing after another two ponds with fish and water lilies, an 11th century archway, streams and little Japanese type bridges leading to a sandpit, roundabouts and a bumpy slide, which the children loved, but I stood having "collywobbles" at the bottom.
Rosie, Paul, Simon & Emma in the park at Avranches
Simon on the 'bumpy' slide  in the park at Avranches
The steps were very steep. From a lookout point we could see St Michael's Mount. The sun set beautifully and immediately lights came on all over the park. There was also pleasant music being played over loudspeakers. We had noticed a group of children following us and eventually they plucked up courage and came and spoke to us in their little bit of English, giggling a lot. We talked to them for a bit, then set off back to the campsite, where we were soon all in bed.
At Granville we mistakenly took the coast road and wasted quite a lot of time looking for a campsite. Eventually we stopped at Avranches on a small site in the town. After pitching tent and having supper, Adrian helped a Dutch couple to pitch their tent and them giving us some wine in return, we walked towards the centre of the town. It was enough just to enjoy the French feeling of the place, but there were other treats in store. As we were passing a large Cathedral-type church, we heard a lot of hooting of car horns. We wondered what was up and then a long procession of cars passed, with white ribbons tied on the doors and we realised that it was a wedding. Some of the people waved to us and then they stopped for what seemed to be photographs by some park gates. Emma was delighted to see the bride. We decided to walk around the "square" and noticed that the park was open, so walked into a place so beautiful and exciting for the children, we were almost speechless. Gardens were laid out with patterns and designs, made out of flowers, the most exquisite being a breathtaking butterfly.
Sunday 25th  July                                                                                                                                                                           97 miles

We left the site at 10 o'clock and drove back to the park of the previous evening to photograph the butterfly and then drove to St Michael's Mount. We ascended the narrow High Street, full of people and tourist shops, right to the top, where the Abbey is and down again.
Back at the car, we had a picnic lunch on our new small ground sheet on the "beach", then drove to Dinard, where we stopped to see the plant where they make electricity using seawater. The difference in the tides is almost 60 feet at this point and we saw the enormously tall lock gates open to let the boats through.
After this we drove westwards through fairly flat country and eventually stopped at Binic. The small site is crowded with seemingly few facilities. We had supper, then walked down to the rocky, stony cove below, very reminiscent of the North Devon and Cornish Coast, then walked along the coast path to the small town of Binic and onto the sandy beach, which was very pleasant and deserted at this time of night. The children had fun drawing in the sand before we made our way back to the tent after another warm and sunny day.
At St Michael's Mount
At the Rance Barrage, Dinard
Monday, 26th July                                                                                                                                                                                    52 miles

The morning started very damp and misty or "dusty" as Simon said, but soon cleared into another lovely day. The campsite was very slow to wake up, but we had decided to move on, mainly because the price was so exorbitant
over twice that of the site next door and didn't offer us what we wanted it had no room for the children to expand and explore.
We drove northwestwards along the coast and turned off to a little place called Trelevern, where we found a site on the coast at Port l’Epine. We stopped the car and had a look around, but the children immediately decided it a hit. We had some lunch, but they couldn't wait to run off and explore and we didn't see Emma again for the rest of the afternoon. She found two English children on the beach, from a nearby campsite and together they explored the wonders of the shallow rock pools left behind by the tide. We slowly pitched the tent and got settled in, then joined the children on the beach. We could hardly believe the multitude of sea life in the pools
small fishes, shrimps, winkles, and anemonies, hundreds of shells and seaweed. The tide began to come in and washed in so fast that we lost Paul’s sandals and found them under several inches of water!
The others all had a swim and then we came back to the tent and then drove up to Trelevern to buy essentials like bread, milk, wine, and yoghurt, which the children all enjoyed for pudding. While there we saw three young ladies dressed in pink dresses, black shawls and white lace headdresses. We weren't sure what they were doing, but Emma was pleased to see the headdresses that we had talked about. After supper we went back onto the beach. The tide was right in, leaving a beautiful fine sandy beach. We were the only people on the beach. After a while, the children stripped off their clothes and played in the water. Emma had a swim and Paul and Simon played with sandhoppers on the beach.
The sun was going down and it was very beautiful, reminding us more of Guernsey than Cornwall. We found lots of little yellow shells like we found in Guernsey. We put the children to bed then walked along by the sea, even more beautiful now with its pinkish glow from the sinking sun and had a look at a neighbouring campsite before coming back to the tent.
Emma washing out her costume
Simon, Emma & Paul playing on the beach
Simon with the sun setting at Port L'Epine
Tuesday 27th  July                                                                                                                                                                                         0 miles

The children woke late after a good night's sleep. The day was warm and sunny again, with a cool breeze in the afternoon. We spent most of the morning on the beach amongst the rocks and the children caught several small fish and shrimps and added to our collection of shells. Paul fell asleep at lunchtime, and when he woke up we went back to the beach. The tide began to come in and later we all went for a swim in the sea. After supper we walked along the beach to the end of the bay
it was just after high tide and back again. By then it was quite late and the children were soon asleep.
Wednesday 28th July                                                                                                                                                                            5 miles

We woke up very late and there was a heavy mist which didn't clear until midday, but when it did the day was sunny and hot with clear blue skies. Adrian drove up to the village with the children to buy bread and milk for breakfast. The children busied themselves on the beach until we joined them later on. Adrian caught lots of tiny shrimps which he cooked for lunch, but which proved rather a lot of effort for very little shrimp!
Simon                                                                                                            Paul
In the afternoon we drove back to the village to buy some Camping Gaz. We came back to the beach and found Susan and Roger there, the two English children from Monday, so we didn't see much of Emma. As the tide came in, we went for a swim, Adrian and I with goggles and snorkel which was really super. I saw an enormous fish, about 2 feet long.
After supper, including local thin pancakes and yoghurt, Adrian took the children to watch a combine harvester in a field by the campsite, while I washed up. We then all walked along the beach and threw stones into the sea, very beautiful again in the light of the setting sun. The children soon fell asleep when we got back and we returned for another look at the sea.
Simon                                                                                                                  Emma
Thursday 29th July

Another lovely day. We walked a long way out when the tide was out and came back to lunch, including Pate de Foix and celery salad, bought from a charcuterie van which stopped on the campsite. After lunch both Paul and Simon fell asleep and slept for the rest of the afternoon, in fact Paul had to be woken up. Susan came up to the tent for Emma, so we didn't see her for the rest of the time. I had a hot shower and washed my hair, which was very welcome. The wind got up during the afternoon, although it was still very hot out of the wind.
Friday 30th July

The day started cloudy, but cleared by mid-morning giving another fine day.
The tide came in late, so we didn't have a swim, but walked along to the neighbouring campsite before coming back for supper, including soya mince which we found quite acceptable and pancakes. Afterwards we drove along the coast to Port Blanc, where we walked along a little path by the sea, looking lovely from a different angle, in the fading light. Having suitably tired out the children, we drove back to our tent.
Simon chasing seagulls and in his 'car' at Port L'Epine
The children at sunset at Port L'Epine
We decided to go out today and drove into Perros-Guirec where we stopped by the harbour and bought the children the ice cream that we had promised them and also some peaches and pears quite reasonably.
Emma on different parts of the beach at Port L'Epine
North of the town we stopped at a viewpoint and looked back towards our campsite. The coastline here is really tremendous, full of indentations and small islands. We stopped further on for lunch, after I had bought some bread. The beach here was a sort of sports club for children, like others we had seen, full of trampolines and slides, volleyball etc and a bit hard on our children as they couldn't use them. After lunch we drove to Ploumanac'h which is famous for its pink granite rock which forms itself into lots of different shapes by erosion. We walked around the coast and eventually up to a lighthouse, which we climbed up. Simon said the spiral stairs were like little cheeses!
The harbour at Perros-Guirec
We drove to Trégastel, which had similar rock formations, then down to see a space communications centre before driving to TTrebeurden. We stopped by a beach here, again a sports centre and the children had a paddle in a sunny paddling pool, then we drove back to the campsite. It had turned very windy and quite cloudy.
Paul, Simon & Emma at Ploumanac'h
Adrian, Simon, Paul, Rosie and Emma at Ploumanac'h
                                 The lighthouse                                                Adrian, Simon, Emma & Paul up the lighthouse                                  Gargoyle on a chapel
All at Ploumanac'h
View from the lighthouse at Ploumanac'h
Saturday 31st July

It was cloudy this morning and we even had a few spots of rain, but generally the day was cloudy interspersed with sun and often windy. At lunchtime we walked up to the bar to see if they sold bread, but as they didn't, we drove up to the Trelevern village again
In the afternoon, at low tide, we walked out over the rocks across the bay and round the headland of Port l'Épine. It was quite warm and sunny then and they children's fishing nets became butterfly nets as we walked around the headland. On the way back we passed the van selling pancakes etc and as we only had 1 Fr. on us, only bought one pancake which we shared. It didn't taste much different from an English one. Adrian then had a shower and I had a game of boule with the children. We had supper, which was much enjoyed, of steak pudding and fresh carrots, potatoes and courgettes; oranges with ideal milk, then cheese and biscuits and wine of course. Afterwards we had some races on the beach with the children and a paddle and found the sea surprisingly warm.
The bells on the church at Trelevern
View down to the campsite from Trelevern
Emma & Simon on the beach at bedtime
Sunday 1st August                                                                                                                                                                                 170 miles

We had decided to move on today and left about 10.30. It was another fine day, sunny most of the time. We drove to Lannion and then along the coast by a very long bay to St Efflam and across to Morlaix. We bypassed Morlaix and headed north through St Pol with a Cathedral & church tower to Roscoff, the port for Brittany Ferries.
From here we made for Cléder and looked at a campsite by the coast, but although it had a nice beach, it seemed rather windy and we decided not to stop.
. We had lunch a bit further on by the coast, then headed south through Lesneven and Landerneau and then on a fast road to Quimper, arriving earlier than we thought at about 3.30. There appeared to be numerous campsites on the south coast, but we hadn't imagined them to be quite so crowded and after finding site after site full, continued round the coast and finally found a site on the other side of Concarneau. We pitched one half of the tent and had supper, including chips bought on the site Fr.3.50 (40p) for one portion.
We found that our site came out onto the beach of a little bay and had a walk round there, stopping to look at a small travelling circus on the beach.
They grow a lot of Artichokes in Brittany
Monday 2nd August

We drove into Concarneau and spent half an hour trying to park. By then it was 12 o'clock and the banks closed, so we walked round the market and then into the old town. The town was full of small tourist shops, but there was quite a lot to see.
Back at the campsite we all had hot showers and after supper we walked around the site, which is now very full. The children had a go on a little roundabout before bed and then we returned for another walk by the sea.
Around Concarneau
We had lunch sitting on the quay, overlooking the old town, then drove back to the campsite, having first got some money. We walked on to the beach, but the tide was out and it looked rather dirty and too cold for a swim. We came back to the tent and later drove to the Cape of Cabellou and walked around the point. This area was full of pine trees and rather grand houses, altogether very pleasant.
Concarneau from Cape Cabellou
Emma, Paul, Rosie and Simon at Cape Cabellou
Tuesday 3rd August

We packed up and left and drove eastwards through Quimperlé and Hennebont, where we got caught in a traffic jam, as all the roads converged on one little bridge. We had decided to try the numerous sites at Carnac, half expecting them to be full, but not as full as we found them. Everywhere had a "complet" (site full) notice outside and feeling a bit despondent we stopped for lunch. The weather was boiling hot. After lunch we decided that we would have to drive inland a bit and tried one or two sites a bit inland from Carnac. The third site we tried had enough room for us, so we pitched the back half of the tent and drove off to the beach and found that we were only a couple of miles from the sea. We are near the "alignments", lines of ancient stones called "menhirs". We drove to Quiberon across a sandy track, where we found a wonderful beach, like an enormous Woolacombe
miles of beautiful sand and great rolling waves. Adrian and I had tremendous fun swimming over the waves, but they were a bit rough for the children. There were relatively few people on the beach. We drove back and pitched the rest of our tent and got settled in.
Wednesday 4th August

We took a while to get going this morning, after the effects of the previous evening's wine. I walked through the farmyard with Simon and Emma to get some bread and milk from the next campsite. We had discovered the farmyard the previous evening
a real ramshackle old place, with a few cows, horses, turkeys, chickens, ducks all rambling over each other, rather like something out of a film set for Tom Jones. We left the site about midday and drove through Carnac (Emma thought it was tarmac) to one of the beaches a beach of fine sand with hundreds of shells, and a very safe place for the children to play. We parked the car right by the beach no car park charges. We stayed all afternoon on the beach. It was very hot and we swam quite a bit. Simon fell asleep, so we covered him with towels and he didn't wake up until we left the beach. We drove to a very large Co-op store, which was very crowded, but cheaper than smaller shops and we bought quite a few things including plastic sandals for Emma and Simon. Outside was a separate greengrocer's store, which I liked very much, you walked round and helped yourself and had it weighed at the checkout. After supper we had a short walk to the menhirs and Adrian and I saw a rabbit.
Thursday 5th August

Another beautiful day. I did some washing and about midday we left the site and drove towards Quiberon, in search of one of the lovely little coves we had seen when we were searching for a site. When we did find one, we read the notice which said "no bathing on this coast". The coast is called "Cote Sauvage" (the Wild Coast) and is very beautiful, but obviously thought to be very dangerous.
We had lunch overlooking one of the coves, then drove further up the coast, where we found quite a pleasant beach and spent the afternoon there. The children all had a go on the lilo in the sea and Adrian and I swam with the mask and snorkel and saw lots of fish.
We walked out across the rocks to a little island. Back at the campsite we all had a hairwash before supper and had a short walk around the site afterwards.
The beautiful "Cote Sauvage"
Emma, Paul & Simon having fun on the lilo at Quiberon
Friday 6th August

The day was still warm, but hazy some of the time with an occasional tiny cloud. It still took us all morning before we got out and we drove down to one of the beaches for the afternoon. Again Simon fell asleep. We had a swim with the goggles and Emma had several swims. We walked out to a little island across a causeway.
We went back to the beach and Paul and Emma built a large castle, which a French woman jumped on enthusiastically, before she realised the children were still there, and she then helped them build it up again amid lots of laughter.
In the evening there was a conjuror on the campsite, who produced a lot of fun for the children. Later we had a drink with the two couples next door.
Rosie, Emma, Paul & Simon on the 'island' near Portivy
Saturday 7th August

The day started cloudy and after I had had a shower, we went for a walk along the menhirs before lunch.
We had lunch at the campsite and the sun came out and it became very hot, so we drove down to the long sandy beach at Quiberon, but today the sea was very calm. We had a swim in it, it felt quite chilly. Adrian made a game on the sand for the children with the balls and we stayed until about 6 o'clock, when it got a bit windy.
                  View along the menhirs                                                           Rosie, Paul, Emma & Simon                                                              Emma on a menhir
All at the Menhirs
Simon, Emma, Rosie & Paul on the beach at Quiberon
                 Paul on the beach at Quiberon                                                 
Saturday 8th August

A very hot day. In the morning we drove into Carnac to the market, where we bought some French beans and a pepper quite cheaply, which we had for supper and some cakes called far (like custard tart), which we had for lunch. In the afternoon we drove to la Trinité, a nice harbour by the sea, and then started looking for a beach. We ended up at Locmariaquer, where the beach was gritty rather than sandy and stony in the water. We left quite early and walked to a dolmen called St Pierre and then drove to the largest menhir
La Grand Menhir and the merchants table “la table des Marchands”, a large tunnel of stone.
Paul, Emma, Ian, Stephan, Helena, Simon & David
And Emma by the tent
Paul, Emma & Simon at the Grand Mehnir
There is an English family with two boys next to us and another family with a boy and girl who were friendly with them and soon our children were playing with theirs.
After supper we were invited to a "booze up" in the next tent with two more couples and we drank and chatted until quite late.
A lot of blond children, not all ours
Monday 9th August

We got off quite early this morning, before 11.00 and drove down to Quiberon.
We drove right to the end of the peninsular, where there is a nature reserve, a long piece of land jutting into the sea. Cars are not allowed on the reserve and the children made for the rock pools on the beach. We took a cine film. It was warm and sunny, although slightly oppressive. I thought I saw a swallowtail butterfly and we saw several sand lizards. We had lunch sitting on a little wall by the beach, then drove back along the "Wild Coast" of Quiberon. We had intended going to our favourite beach, but the skies gradually blackened and we had a deluge. We got back to the campsite and found our tent rather wet!! Water was pouring straight through from back to front, ruining the nice clean groundsheet that Adrian had washed the night before. I stayed in the car with the children, while Adrian wearing just his trunks, did the rescue operations. The torrential storm lasted for about an hour and then the campsite came alive with people trying to put things right.
Simon by the tent, helping (with the dishcloth)
Most were in a far worse position than us and the site resembled an anthill after an upheaval. The other two English couples returned, from only a few miles away and didn't even know it had been raining. We had some supper and then went for a walk along the menhirs at Ménec.
Paul & Simon after the storm
Sunset at the menhirs
Sunset at the menhirs
One of my most favourite photos of Rosie, she looks so happy
Tuesday 10th August

We were off quite early again and drove to the long beach at Quiberon and took a cine film. The beach was almost deserted. The children spent some time fishing and caught several shrimps and a small plaice like fish. After lunch we had a swim. The waves were fairly big.
.We had promised the children an ice cream and we each had a French cake, before driving back to the Co-op at Carnac. After supper, we drove to the tumulus of St Michel and came back to have a drink with the others.
Simon, Paul, Rosie & Emma playing the 'ball' game
Paul, Rosie & Emma
All on our favourite beach at Quiberon
The tide came in quite quickly and it got windy, so we left the beach mid-afternoon and drove to Auray. The children all fell asleep, and Simon stayed asleep for some time, as we walked around the old town and along the river.
Emma, Rosie, Paul & Simon asleep! in Auray
A Street in Auray
The harbour in Auray
Wednesday 11th August

After getting some money, we drove to Carnac-Plage, where we found an ice cream shop selling about 20 different flavours of ice cream. After each choosing one, we walked back past a fantastic charcuterie, where we had to stop and look at everything. We bought some pizza, rather a large piece, costing about £2, which we ate for supper. It nearly burnt our mouths out, but made rather a good meal for the last one at the site. We drove to our favourite beach at Quiberon, where we had our last swim. In the evening after starting to get sorted out for tomorrow, we had a drink with the other English couples.
The last time on our favourite beach at Quiberon
Thursday 12th August                                                                                                                                                                             127 miles

We got up early as it was our day to leave and we were soon busy packing up, alongside our neighbours who were also leaving. When we came to do the groundsheets, they were thick mud from where the rain had washed down and we even had grass growing on top of the lower groundsheet where the mud had settled.
Stephan, Ian, Emma, Helena, Paul, David & Simon
The children say goodbye to their 'friends' at the campsite
We left about 11 o'clock after saying our goodbyes and taking pictures. We drove past Auray and Vannes and then headed northwards. We had lunch in a very pretty forest near Paimpont. It was beautifully warm and there were lots of butterflies.
.After lunch we followed a route north to Dinan. All the children fell asleep. We walked round Dinan, a town, full of old half timbered houses and cobbled streets. We walked right down to the river and back up again through the "English garden" which showed signs of the dry summer, to the car.
Simon, Rosie, Emma, Paul & Adrian having lunch near Paimpont
We continued north-eastwards to Dol where we found a municipal site and pitched our tent. After supper we walked into the quaint old town, past the vast old Cathedral, then back to the site.
The old and pretty town of Dinan
Friday 13th August     our wedding anniversary                                                                                                                                  187 miles

The morning started damp and misty. We had our last breakfast
the food had lasted very well, then left and drove towards Avranches and then northwards, taking a small road for a change. We headed for the eastern side of Manche and had lunch in an open field, where it was warm and sunny.
We were near the Normandy beaches, but got lost several times on the smaller roads, which were so badly signposted. We saw the sea at St-Vaast-la-Hougue and then drove to Cherbourg. We stopped and bought some wine and then drove to the boat. We were 1½ hours early and were surprised at the number of cars already there. After a wait, we all moved forward, but were rather annoyed to be pushed to one side with one or two other cars with trailers. Our patience was almost exhausted, as we saw car after car drive passed us onto the boat, knowing that we would have difficulty in finding seats. At last we boarded, almost the last and almost immediately sailed.
I love this picture of Emma on the Manche Pennisula
The boat had been late coming in and was loaded in about half an hour and left only 10 minutes late. We soon found seats in the cafeteria and later had a good meal. The voyage went quite quickly and soon we were at Southampton and off the boat, and after a quick inspection for rabies, on our way home to Reading.

Total mileage 1100 miles
We had lots of time at Cherbourg to take the queue and our boat
Some pictures that the children drew while we were away
Emma - just 7 years old
Paul - nearly 5 years old
Simon - 3½ years old
Simon on the beach at Quiberon                                     
Our Boat
Sunset on the beach
Emma, Roger and Susan at the campsite
Little girl sucking her thumb
The conjuror
Our meal on the boat
The butterfly at Avranches
St Michael's Mount
A fish and crab in the sea
A tightrope walker at the circus
A digger
Some of the road signs we saw
A lifeboat
Our boat home
Father Christmas - no idea why in the middle of the summer, ask Simon!
A person - hope it wasn't Adrian
A slide
Brittany 1976