At the risk of diving head-first into the usual cliché, it’s impossible to understand the beauty of Brittany without experiencing it first-hand. Stunning beaches, beautiful countryside and the most enchanting French villages – all right there within easy reach of the UK. What’s more, take the car along for the ride and a brief hop to the continent really can be transformed into the trip of a lifetime! Brittany Ferries has the widest choice of ferry crossings to France sailing into the ferry ports of Cherbourg, St Malo, Caen, Le Havre and Roscoff.
If looking to get the most out of Northern France with limited time available, any and all of the following road trip ideas in Northern France come highly recommended:
Get Back to Nature
First up, you’ll want to set time aside to visit Brest, Landerneau, Carhaix, Châteauneuf du Faou and Le Conquet – all having their own unique local charms and treasures. What’s more, they also happen to all fall within the extensive and spectacular Armorique Regional Natural Park, where you’ll have the opportunity to get back to nature with the local puffins, dolphins and otters. And if all that wasn’t enough, the local cuisine really is the stuff dreams are made of!
The Perfect Picnic
Take the car and the whole family right to the top of the Monts d’Arrée and take in some of the best panoramic vistas anywhere in the region. The drive up itself is hugely enjoyable, while the parkland at the top makes for the perfect picnic…if the weather’s on your side! Wild boar and the Montagu’s Harrier represent just two of the protected species you might spot here with a bit of luck!
Meet the Sea Birds
Les Sept Iles are made up of seven completely unspoiled and uninhabited islands, which can be visited by way of an organised boat trip. Leave the car to one side for a while and get acquainted with the local contingency of manx shearwaters, kittiwakes, guillemots and puffins. The whole experience is one that has you forgetting you’re in France and feeling as if you’ve discovered some lonely and forgotten outcrop in the middle of nowhere. Of all the excursions you take while in the region, you’ll definitely want to ensure your camera is charged for this one!
Enjoy Belle-Ile beach Life
This tiny little island proves that the best things really do come in the smallest of packages. Small it may be, but Belle-Ile is home to no less than 60 simply stunning beaches. That’s not a typo – 60 of them! There’s a car and passenger ferry service available from Quiberon to whip you and yours over in no time. With so much glorious coastline to explore, it’s a little too easy to lose a whole day or weekend here!
Indulge at Mont St Michel
There’s far more to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mont St Michel than beautiful scenery (you’ll want your camera) and rich history alone. Quite simply, there’s probably nowhere better in the region to indulge your inner-foodie. Langoustines, mussels and the salt marsh lamb that’s the speciality of the area, this is the place to sample what could be the finest food in the North of France. The gorgeous views on all sides simply serving as an added bonus!
Get lost in Forêt de Paimpont
Steeped In legend and folklore, the extraordinary Forêt de Paimpont is the perfect place to lose yourself for a few hours and write your own fairy-tale. After all, this is supposedly where the mythical forest of King Arthur lies…somewhere. Along with the Valley of No Return, the Fountain of Pure Youth and so much more besides. You’ll want to stop by a tourist office first to pick up a map, but the forest is lined with so many marked pathways you’ll have no trouble getting in and out.
Likewise, Huelgoat is a living, breathing fairy-tale village the likes of which you have to see to believe. The whole place looks as if it was designed to be a movie-set, though it’s all completely real and natural as it gets. The nearby lake is a truly breath-taking site, while the village-centre cafes make for idyllic afternoons doing nothing but watch time go by.
Last but not least, if you’re just about deserving of a bit of pampering by now, you might want to try yourself to an ‘interesting’ mud and seaweed spa treatment.
Thalassotherapy has been a Brittany staple for more than 200 centuries, which despite looking and feeling a bit on the odd side can actually work wonders for your skin. Arrive exhausted, leave revitalised and ready to take on your next adventure! For more road trip ideas around the area of Brittany, we recommend visiting Wanderlust’s article on road trip ideas in Brittany.