We feel so grateful that we have the freedom to travel through France in our camper van during these Covid times.
Having the opportunity and the privilege to walk somewhere different every day and drive through beautiful countryside is very special and it’s hard not to feel rather guilty when so many friends and family in the UK and the Netherlands are stuck in their homes unable to leave except for local walks or to go food shopping (or to go to work in certain situations.)
In France there is currently a 6pm – 6am curfew but that doesn’t affect us as we are happy to be back on our home on wheels during those hours – besides, there is nowhere to go as all pubs, bars, restaurants etc are closed.
During the day, we only venture out for daily exercise and have managed to keep food shopping to the absolute minimum by stocking up very well in the Netherlands before we left.
Of course, visiting chateaux, museums, or art galleries, going on wine tours or having tastings, etc are not possible so there’s no sightseeing to be done in that way but we are content to enjoy the ever-changing countryside and the wonderful sea views. In the words of that wonderful Nina Simone classic “Ain’t got no……got Life…”
After staying near St Malo for a couple of nights, we headed inland to a very nice sounding village called Plesin Trigavou where there was an old disused railway track which had been converted to a walking/cycle path.
When we drew up to the car park, we realised that we had already stayed in this rather out-of-the-way village in 2018! The reason we had headed there the first time was because the area boasts a wonderful collection of 65 megaliths probably dating back to 2000 BC.
On our previous visit of the site we both felt it had an extraordinary atmosphere and returning there, we still felt that same sense of mystery, it is quite an astonishing place to visit!
Our daughter Hannah and husband Pieter had recommended a free camping spot on the coast of Brittany near Trébeurden, a former sardine port.
We couldn’t believe how beautiful it was and that we could park for free in a place with such glorious views. France is definitely the number one country for camper vans!
We had a fantastic walk from the headland (called Bihit) where we were parked, to the town, marvelling at the sea views and as we approached the town, the endless stretch of sandy beach.
We met quite a number of others having a stroll or on a serious walk and without fail, they were very friendly and said “Bonjour” as we passed by. Not all the walkers wore a mask but everyone maintained appropriate social distance.
We ended up (as we so often do) gazing at boats in the small marina, at the other end of the long stretch of beach. It might have been small but it was protected by an amazingly mighty sea wall. We imagined how ferocious the weather and waves must be in stormy weather to require such an edifice .
Just next to the marina was the entrance to the headland which was connected to Ile Milliau (Milliau Island) – only accessible when the tide is out.
There wasn’t enough time to cross over that day so we contented ourselves with a walk around the fabulous headland where we marvelled at the wonderful shapes of the wonderful pink granite rocks found in this part of the world.
We walked back in time to enjoy a fantastic sunset. That night was the last night before the six pm curfew began. It took a while to dawn on me why a constant stream of cars was drawing up and parking next to us. Then I realised with the start of the 6 pm curfew the following day, this would be the last time locals would be able to come and view the sunset for who knew how long. You really don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone!
The following day we drove round to the car park near the marina so we could hike over to the Ile Milliau.
The tide was still on the way out when we arrived but the sand spit between the mainland and the island was clearly visible so we started to clamber over the massive boulders and rock hop our way down to the beach.
Rock hopping is not my strongest suit but with Jonathan’s occasional steadying hand, I made it to the beach in one piece.
Going outside my comfort zone was well worth it as the island was glorious. A narrow path skirted its circumference and we walked past wonderful, oddly shaped, granite boulders glowing pink in the sunshine and lots of golden gorse in full flower.
The rocky northern tip of the island reminded us very much of Cornwall – just over the water in the southern-most tip of England. All part of the same original land mass we supposed.
It was a great place to feel the wind in our hair and to gaze out to sea.
Circling back on the other side of the island we came across a row of cottages which have been renovated for paying guests. The oldest parts of these buildings stem from medieval times. In the north-eastern gable-end is a relatively well-preserved but very small medieval monastic cell (3.5 metres (11 ft) by 4.5 metres (15 ft) and its height is 2 metres (6.6 ft)).
Just behind the cottages is a spectacular example of a gallery grave which was built in the Neolithic era. In an adjacent field to the grave (called locally Ty Liac’h) aerial photographs have shown traces of about twenty prehistoric circular huts.
We arrived back to the beach in plenty of time before it was covered again by the high tide, and walked across the short distance to the mainland. As the tide was further out than when we made our earlier crossing, there wasn’t quite as much rock hopping to do!
Our stay at Trébeurden was the highlight of our stay in Brittany – thanks for the tip Hannah and Pieter!