Brittany and Normandy

August 1995

This was a “let’s take the car and a tent over to France for two weeks this summer” idea. I arranged the trip across the channel through the Hoverspeed Sea Cat between Dover and Bolougne. We had got a set of information from the French tourist office, which included helpfully enough a set of leaflets detailing the municipal camp sites in the Brittany and Normandy regions of France.

Before leaving the UK we decided that we’d go to Eu for our first night as it didn’t look too far from Boulogne, which should give us a chance to driving on the “wrong side” of the road. We had made no reservations at any campsites as we hadn’t really worked out where we were planning to visit. We arrived at the camp site in Eu, pulled up at the reception desk and I asked for “une emplacement pour une tente et une voiture pour deux nuits s’il vous plait”, which seemed to do the trick. We put the tent up and sorted ourselves out. We spent the two nights in Eu very peacefully, just relaxing and winding down. The campsite was very nice, not too many people there, the showers were free if simple, and all in all it was a very pleasant introduction to French campsites.

After consulting the Rough Guide to Brittany and Normandy, and the camping leaflets our next stop was Arromanche. We stayed there for three nights. Whilst there we ventured to Bayeux for a day trip and of course had to go and see the tapestry. The Arromanche campsite was busier than that at Eu, and the spaces for camping were slightly smaller, and the showers had to paid for. But, the town iteself was busier and did a roaring trade in pancakes and galettes.

From Arromanche, our next trek was down to Carnac Plage on the west coast of Brittany. Carnac Plage was very busy, as it seems to be one of the places that the French go for their holidays. Condsequently we couldn’t get into the first camp site we visited, this was partially because we wanted to stay for 5 nights. We found a campsite in the end which was quite a walk from the town, but was quite near the sea and so all was fine. On our first afternoon we walked into the town and stopped at a cafe/bar place for some food and ordered pizzas, we ordered a forestiere (mushroom pizza) and a hawain pizza – this turned out to be cheese and tomato with a beefburger on the top – strange… So during our 5 days we spent a lot of time on the beach reading and swimming, hired bikes one day and cycled off to the monoliths that are around there, and generally took it easy. We treated ourselves to a meal in a little french bistro, and has “assietes de fruits de mer” as a starter – we hadn’t anticipated the number of shellfish that you can get on a plate, it was a very entertaining experience and I have no doubt that our faces were a picture.

After the 5 days there, we moved on back into Normandy and stayed in Fecamp. Again I strolled up and started off in French asking for a placement for the car, tent etc and was asked if she could speak to me in english as she found it easier. So, we stayed there until we needed to get the crossing back to Dover.

All in all a very pleasant break. The standards of the French campsites are much better than the English ones and it was great to have the freedom to decide where to head to next. We made the holiday cheaper by alternating going out for dinner, with buying things from the Supermarkets and cooking them on the gas stove, or the two disposable bar-be-ques that we’d brought with us. We also discovered a liking for red wine! We left Fecamp and drove to Boulogne stopping at a hypermarket to pick up some wine to take back to England with us, some cheese, and presents the families and then spent a little bit of time wandering around the streets of Boulogne before getting on the sea cat back to England.