Second half of our trip to Brittany, France takes us to beautiful coastal town of Quiberon! First half of the trip in Saint Malo can be found here.
So after we arrived in Quiberon on the first day we settled into our amazing Airbnb! This house was serious goals, our hosts were a fabulously chic older French with three of the fluffiest cats ever. Their house was almost all glass and chalk full of amazing art and books.
The drive to get here was a little hellish as the town of Quiberon sits on the very tip of a very long peninsula with pretty much only one road heading there so there is a lot of traffic which isn’t fun in a manual car. In fact the pennisula of Quiberon is so skinny at points that the name, presqu’ile Quiberon, translates into “almost island” Quiberon. We decided to do something fun for dinner as there was apparently a really well rated beach-themed bar that had the best mojitos. We went to Un Petit Gout De… during their Happy Hour so with your amazing mojito you also get a free little tapas, which in our case was a plate of little quiches that were also fantastic! The vibe here is amazing, you feel you should be in the tropics not the north of France! Its an open patio down up in bright colours and tons of greenery!
For our first full day on the Southern coast of Brittany we decided to take it slow and just spend the day at the beach and exploring town. Quiberon has a huge beach right in town which is great for just parking yourself on a towel and hanging out all day. So that is pretty much what we did! The nice thing about Brittany is the weather changes so frequently so while it was warm all day it switched between hot and sunny and warm with some clouds so pale people like me don’t get burnt to a crisp. After reading for a while we walked to one end of the beach, grabbed quick crepes for lunch and then continued on to see this Chateau Turpault, which is a huge house built right on the sea. The house itself is currently under renovations but it is still very impressive and I am sure will be even more impressive when complete.
Afterwards we walked back to the opposite end of the beach, grabbing ice cream along the way! We stopped into some of the shops along the water, there was this one boutique with the cutest straw bags and clothing!
For dinner we were both craving burger ( something about beach vacations just makes me think of burgers) so we headed to Mouette a Bord. This is a really cute restaurants with a local/family feel. Its very casual and has amazing burgers, sandwiches and crepes!
We walked down from Saint Michaels into Carnac to explore the town, which ended up actually being pretty cool and was full of a couple cool art shops and a great design store. We popped into a boulangerie and a grocery store and grabbed food for a picnic.
With our picnic food in hand we headed back to the Quiberon Peninsula, stopping at one of the many beaches just off the main road. We settled in with our makeshift sandwiches and watched the surfers and kite boarders. The waves alongside the sides of the Quiberson peninsula are actually perfect for surfing, with a couple breaks of different sizes so that both beginners and experts can enjoy. I love surfing so I wish I knew earlier that this was a big place for it!
A Kouign Amann, a traditional Breton pastery which is pretty much baked layers of butter and sugar, so unbelievably good!!
After watching them for awhile we set off on the small road to drive down the coast and stop at many of the great viewing points along the “Savage coast”. We went to the Pointe De Percho, Arche de Port Blanc and then around to the Pointe de Conguel. This coastline here is honestly stunning, filled with steep cliffs, low colourful shrubbery and crashing waves. When it rains you can definitely see why its called the savage coast. In classic Brittany style it started raining at our last stop of the day so we rushed home to warm up before heading back out.
Tonight we decided to do a slightly nicer dinner as the top rated restaurant in town apparently had an amazing prix fixed menu that was a great deal. We had a hard time figuring out when Cafe de Maria opened up, so we definitely ended up showing up before they opened as the staff was still eating but they sat us down at a table anyways and were very gracious. ( I think it opens at 8, not 7:30pm but still couldn’t see a sign anywhere). Eventually we were happy we came very early as it did fill up fast and other people without reservations were turned away.
All the food was amazing but the show stopped was deinftley my main course which was an artichoke filled with steamed mussels and potatoes. The mussels were amazing, some of the best I have ever had. Also artichokes are one of those unexpected favourite foods, I never really eat them but when I do I love it so the fact that this came with an entire artichoke(!!) was amazing.
On a whim we decided to head over to Belle-Ile-sur-mer, the huge island just off the coast of Brittany. The ferry ride there is not cheap but once we got there we could immediately tell it was worth it.
If mainland Quiberon is like Cape Cod ( which I would argue weather, terrain and lifestyle wise it is) than Belle-Ile is Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket all wrapped into one place with French food! So this is my literal heaven.
The island has four main towns: Le Palais ( the largest and where the ferry gets in), Bangor, Locmaria and Sauzon. We made it to three of the four in our short day there.
We had grabbed the 9:45am ferry there, and let me say this ferry is not for the faint of the heart/stomach. It was very windy when we left and since Quiberon is a peninsula not a cove the water gets very very wavy. Just be prepared with Gravol if you are someone who gets seasick easily.
Once we got off in Le Palais we headed out to find bikes to rent. We grabbed bikes at Roue libre which had a great selection, friendly service and had won a bunch of awards.
Once we grabbed our bikes we headed out towards Bangor to see the Needles of Port Coton famously painted by Monet! The island is mostly flat with some hills and has either large shoulders on the road or a specific bike path to cycle along. We chose the road route as there were specific things we wanted to see but if you were down for just meandering the paths looked quite nice! Our initial plan was just to stop in Bangor, explore and then head to Port Coton and take a coastal path to Sauzon but once we stopped in Bangor we were greeted by the most amazing market ever! While much of France does shut down on a Sunday Bangor was happening and had an amazing market with all sorts of food vendors. We saw this guy selling incredible looking Paella for 6EU for a TUB! So we obviously decided we needed to come back for lunch so we rushed off to see the needles and then come back hopefully before he sold out.
On the way out from Bangor to the needles you go up and down some hills but I am proud to say I made it up every one ( could not say the same on the way back unfortunately). You pass through some beautiful fields and adorable cottages on this road, this entire island is so picturesque. You can tell you are at the viewing point for the needles as there will be a bunch of cars and buses. The view you get here and along this entire road is honestly incredible. You can definitely see why Monet chose this spot as a spot to paint. The water is a perfect blue with foamy waves, the rocks are incredible rising out of the water and there are low wild flowers all across the landscape. After we took a million photos we cranked it back to Bangor for lunch!
The paella was 100% worth the diversion and extra hills as it was delicious and so much food for 6EU! We sat in the market square and people watched for a bit before exploring some streets in town. Since it was a Sunday pretty much everything but the market was closed so we just took photos of some pretty houses and then went back on our way.
The way to Sauzon was pretty flat right in the middle of the island so there was a very pretty farm scenery. We made our way down to the Apothecary Grotto, which is nothing to do with medicine but is instead another beautiful lookout point over the cliffs of the island. On our way up from here it started to drizzle so we booked it to Sauzon and sat down at a cafe along the port just before it begun to pour. The port of Sauzon is very cute, full of brightly buildings and little boats in the harbour. Thankfully the rain didn’t last long so we were able to walk along the port and take photos.
The bike ride out of the port is quite beautiful as you slowly ascent the hill over the harbour. We began our ride back towards Le Palais where we then dropped our bikes and explored some of town. Again unforunately so much is closed on a Sunday but we were able to go into a couple art galleries, a photography studio and a couple stores. Also I had the best sweet crepe ever in town: a salted caramel apple crepe!!!! We grabbed ice cream and sat along the port while we waited for our ferry.
This was an absolutely incredible day, I really want to come back and stay on the island for a couple days because it seems like such a beautiful and relaxing place- but still had so much to do. We both agreed that biking around the island might have been our favourite part the entire Brittany trip so far.
To top off our perfect day we headed off to Le Vivier to eat their seafood platter on their beautiful patio. Everyone said this was the best place to get a reasonably priced seafood platter and an incredible view. We got there early and I am very happy about that because it filled up super fast but we secured a place on the patio ( bring a sweater- it is windy here!) and sat down for our dinner. The seafood platter was amazing!!! The bread they serve it with is not really but we knew that based on reviews online so it didn’t phase us at all. But back to the seafood, this was by far the best deal for seafood platter in town as it comes with so much! 6 oysters, a bunch of prawns, crevettes, an entire crab and little sea snails- if we hadn’t done so much biking today I would have been full of just this! Since we got here so early we didn’t end up staying for the famous sunset but we did get to watch the sun slowly start to retreat over the waves.
After dinner we headed home, did a quick change into warmer clothing and headed out to the Chateau Turpault to finally watch the sunset over the coast. The sunsets here are quite beautiful and definitely worth it if you get a clear night.
For our last day in Brittany ( whelp!) we decided to head over to another beautiful medieval town. Rochefort En Terre has won every award/distinction that a town in France could possibly win, it is a “plus beaux ville” “petite ville character” and often called one of the prettiest towns in all of France. So obviously we had some high expectations. It is a little far from Quiberon but most definitely worth the drive.
Getting to the town is quite easy, as is parking ( the town itself is car free so you have to park outside the entrance) however I would recommend coming early as parking spots fill up.
The town is actually out of a fairy tale or a Disney film, you can’t actually believe this is a real place where real people live. There are perfectly blooming flowers all over the streets, ivy coloured buildings and the brightly coloured of old medieval houses. While the town is small there is still a decent amount to do as there are a bunch of stores, ateliers, an old castle/estate you can walk up to and numerous cafes. We started our day by wandering through every nook and cranny we could find, constantly being surprised by new little paths leading to a garden full of hydrangeas or an art studio. We grabbed coffee and a crepe in the main square and then headed up to the castle. It is not really a castle but more of an estate and you currently cannot go in but the outside is beautiful and the grounds have beautiful views over the rest of the town.
We stopped by a boulangerie on Rue Haute Candre to split a sandwich for lunch. This is definitely the place to go. The sandwiches are delicious and super cheap and it was very busy when we were there. There are a bunch of choices but our personal favourite is ham and cornichons. After getting our sandwich on a bench outside we headed off to see the church in town. This is a catholic church from the 12th century known for its statue of the Virgin Mary. It is a beautiful church with big stained glass.
Lastly we grabbed ice cream from an artisan confectionary and glacerie on Rue des Scourtets on our way out, very content with our peaceful morning in a fairy tale town.
By the time we got home from Rochefort-en-terre it was mid afternoon so we decided to grab our books and just head down to the beach for a chill afternoon. On the way back from the beach we went back to Un Petit Gout De… for more happy hour mojitos.
For dinner tonight we just wanted something low key so we decided to head to Galletes du Port for pizza. This was honestly the only bad meal of our trip. I am not sure why it has such good ratings on Trip Advisor or Yelp because this was honestly the worst pizza I have ever had in mu life. I wouldn’t even call it pizza. Its like thin cardboard with way too many weirdly cooked toppings. Neither of us could finish and we both love pizza so yeah it was weird. Not sure if pizza is just different out here and we didn’t know but don’t go here expected your typical Italian or North American style pizza or you will be disappointed.
After that strange dinner we grabbed snacks for our early train ride tomorrow and begun the process of packing our bags for the second last time!