Camping Municipal Penthievre is located on the D768, the main road from Plouharnel to Quiberon. We have been there time and again because of its superb location and it is where we got the idea for our current lifestyle! Click here to find out how.
For the Canine Crew
- Off lead walking – there is extensive off-lead walking straight from site in both directions along the beach by the side of the bay, in the forest behind the beach and across the road from the beach on the Atlantic side, known as the Cote Sauvage.
- Dog-Friendly Cafes – all the local cafes and restaurants that we tried welcomed the dogs. You can sit outside the lovely, local bakery, Le P’tit Creux Breton, which does a mean coffee and irresistible, fresh cakes. The hotel, L’Auberge du Petit Matelot welcomed us all inside for a coffee or a beer and offers free internet.
For the Humans to Do
- Cycling – there are some fantastic cycling trips around the area on little back lanes and tracks. It is possible to cycle right around the Quiberon peninsula, a very scenic route which takes in the Cote Sauvage and many pretty little villages. There is also a wide and well-maintained cycle track to Plouharnel, where there are a few shops, a supermarket and several restaurants and cafes.
- Markets – France is famous for its markets and in the summer, there is a market every day in one of the local towns; some are larger and better than others. Days and details can be found at the campsite reception. Our favourite was the market in St Pierre, a short drive or cycle south, in the direction of Quiberon. The produce is very good, but unlike markets in the UK, prices are considerably higher than in the supermarket.
- Vide Grenier – you may also see the odd ‘Vide Grenier’ advertised. These are bric-a-brac or antique fairs.
Sightseeing Don’t Miss
- The Standing Stones at Carnac – the Alignments at Carnac are the largest in the world, consisting of thousands of 4000-year-old Neolithic standing stones, also known as menhirs. The stones were hewn from local granite and erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany. For more information, click here.
You May Not Have Thought Of
- Auray by Train
- About 20 miles away from Penthievre, Auray is a gorgeous medieval city. The hostelry named ‘Benjamin Franklin’ harks back the fact that the man himself arrived at the port of Saint-Goustan on 3 December 1776 at the beginning of the US War of Independence to seek military aid from Louis XVI. You can wander through the steep, cobbled streets and have lunch at the scenic little port of St Goustan. The train to Auray goes direct from the little station at the campsite; the station at Auray is about 15 minutes’ walk from the centre. Train tickets can be purchased from the bakery, Le P’tit Creux Breton.
- Take your Bike on the Train to Auray and Cycle Back –you can take your bike on the train to Auray (check the timetable for which services allow bikes) and cycle back – a pleasant route which you can plan to cycle down the river from Auray, take in Trinite-sur-Mer (excellent ice cream!) Carnac and other pretty, floral villages. You will pass mussel beds, salt pans and the inevitable standing stones or ‘Dolmen’, formations of which seem to be apparent at every roadside or junction!
- The campsite is basic; utilitarian concrete shower blocks and the loos have no seats or paper provided; it is the location which is spectacular; direct access to a beautiful, sandy beach, next to a fragrant pine forest and a short walk from the Cote Sauvage. We go there time and again!
- There are some fast-food outlets on site and the family-run bakery, Le P’tit Creux Breton is within easy walking distance.
- Free WiFi is available in the immediate vicinity of reception. We found it slow and frustrating, preferring to connect to the WiFi while treating ourselves to a coffee in the friendly hotel across the road, Auberge du Petit Matelot.
Where’s the Water?
- The Bay of Morbihan offers a massive area of wonderful, flat-water windsurfing.
- Launch from the Campsite – you can launch directly from the beach at the campsite at high tide, avoiding the cordoned-off swimming area. The water recedes a long way at low tide, so expect a long walk with your kit if you don’t keep an eye on your tide times! The prevailing wind tends to be cross-offshore, so the immediate vicinity of the beach is a little bit gusty and sheltered, which can make leaving and returning to shore entertaining for spectators. The wind tends to be a lot stronger and cleaner across the narrow Isthmus, to the south of the campsite. (One of our BEST windsurfing days ever was a crossing of the entire bay from Penthievre to Quiberon, a 7-mile reach to Carnac, then back to Penthievre!)
- Launch from Carnac – The main windsurfing beach is at St Colomban, where you will find a small windsurfing centre and helpful locals. The prevailing wind at Carnac is cross shore and it is a little less tide-dependent than Penthievre. There is parking close to the beach, although you will need to arrive early to be sure of a space. Note that dogs are not permitted on any of the beaches at Carnac.
- The Cote Sauvage – cross the road from the campsite and you are on the Atlantic! The wind is stronger and cleaner here since it comes straight in from the sea with no obstructions. The prevailing wind is onshore / cross onshore and the conditions are what you would expect on the open sea; it is wavy (bump and jump) but not usually terrifying. (The “If you look at it and think you’re going to die, you probably will” test for safety applies here.) The seabed is largely sandy, but be aware of some submerged rocks and reefs in places (it is worth scouting the seabed for hazards at low tide.)
- Wind and Tide – for current weather, wind and tide predictions at Penthievre, click here.
A Good Read
The Battle of Quiberon Bay – Britain’s Other Trafalgar – This book is a historical tome, perhaps a little heavy going, however the obscure Battle of Quiberon Bay (20 Nov 1759) is actually considered to be as significant as Nelson’s victory in 1805 at Trafalgar! In 1759, Britain had few troops at home and when Admiral Hawke attacked the French fleet, they were en route to a rendezvous with an invasion force! The French exploited their local knowledge by disappearing among the treacherous shoals of Quiberon Bay in terrible weather, assuming the British would not follow. Hawke, however, audaciously pursued them under full sail and saved Britain’s bacon by destroying the French fleet.
To find out how we got on with our first ever trip abroad in our brand new caravan, just 3 weeks into our caravanning career… check out Livin’ the Dream Week 3 – The Great Continental Divide.
The following blogs detail our stay at Camping Municipal Penthievre;