Leaving blustery Lampaul Plouazel behind, we travelled inland to Le Folgoet before heading to St Thegonnec.
Although these towns are relatively small, they both have HUGE churches and monuments. St Thegonnec in particular is noted for the elaborate parish close (thank you Wikipedia) which was quite astonishing and had some great carved figures on the calvary in the church yard.
The aire at St Thegonnec was really pretty – all the parking bays were separated by hedges & even had picnic tables. Have I mentioned the French obsession with “pique-niquing” yet? It really is something to behold – we are going to have to buy a red checked table cloth & a vase of (plastic) flowers!
We then wove our way through a gorgeous National Park to Quintin which was once the centre of the linen weaving industry and our last stop in Britanny. We stayed at the municipal campsite so we had the added bonus of electricity and basic facilities. Once again we were next to a lovely lake and there was a mysterious megalith in the field behind us – I’ve since found out it is called La Roche Longue.
We stayed here a couple of days as it was just lovely & the weather was great. There was a fishing competition over the weekend where we sampled the best frites yet! Another treat were the gorgeously wrapped eclairs from the local boulangerie/patisserie – our waistlines are expanding!
Leaving Brittany, our next stopover was Ducey in Normandy – a town that was liberated by the Americans. We followed the old town trail before visiting a free art exhibition in the Chateau des Montgommery which was being restored.
By now we were about 2 weeks ahead of our (loosely) planned schedule so we spent the next few days in domestic bliss at a campsite at Barneville-Carteret – cleaning, washing & ironing and (best of all) watching Homes Under the Hammer on tv! The Tour de France will be passing through the region in July and all the roundabouts are decorated with a cycling theme. Each village we passed through seems to be holding a Tour festival. I was getting totally over-excited & can’t wait for 2014 when it’s coming to Yorkshire!
Suitably refreshed our next planned stopover was Arromanches, a good site to visit the WW2 landing beaches in the area. Yet again the aire was full so we drove on up the coast to St Aubin-sur-Mer and spent 5 days chilling out at one of the best campsites we’ve visited so far. The facilities were out of this world – brand new shower/loo/washing block, numerous swimming pools & even a spa – gorgeous!
Next stop on our route home was Veulettes-sur-Mer, a tiny town sandwiched between 2 huge cliffs. This area is known as the Alabaster Coast, for obvious reasons. The aire was just off the main road, opposite the beach and we even had warm, fresh bread delivered in the morning – yum!
Normandy, like Brittany, is a beautiful region and one thing that surprised us was the amount of half-timbered & thatched buildings we saw. A town we drove through called Pont L’Eveque (I think) took our breath away – it was first glimpsed from the top of a hill and was just awesome.
Our last week in France saw us having a total blow-out with yet another campsite stay at Le Crotoy in the bay of the Somme. The whole area is now so tranquil and a haven for wildlife that it is really difficult to imagine the carnage and destruction that took place here. Throughout all our travels in France we have seen superbly maintained memorials and visiting this area has been very emotional.
The town itself was really lovely & had a great sea-side feel to it – but in a good way! Apparently Joan of Arc was imprisoned here for 3 years before going on trial in Rouen & the ever-helpful Wikipedia also informs me that Jules Verne wrote 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea whilst staying here. We treated ourselves to a trip on the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme which took us from Le Crotoy to St Valery-sur-Somme, another lovely town we had driven through a few days beforehand.
Next stop was Calais for the ferry and here’s a photo of the fabulous trompe l’oeil at the aire.