After criss-crossing Europe in our motorhomes, we were planning to explore the beautiful regions of France. For this first road trip, after some research, we wanted to explore Brittany.
Visiting this region in a converted vehicle(van, camper van…) is ideal, as Brittany is a big place, so we were able to get to all the spots we wanted to see in Brittany (there were a lot!).
We detail below our 15 days itinerary (that you can easily adapt into a one week itinerary, we explain everything), because we like to read the itineraries of other travelers, even if we don’t follow them to the letter it always inspires us a lot.
We also give you all our best bivouacs, our tips for sightseeing and our best addresses.
- Our 15-day motorhome (or van) itinerary
- Itinerary 7 days – 1 week
- What we’d like to know
- D1 – Direction south of Brittany : Nantes
- D2 – Vannes, Gulf of Morbihan & Carnac alignments at sunset
- Day 3 – Quiberon & Quimperlé peninsula
- D4 – Concarneau’s closed city to the end of Europe, Pointe du Van
- Day 5 – One of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Crozon peninsula
- D6 – The incredible Crozon peninsula, our favorite!
- D7 – Côtes d’Armor : alone in the world on the Ile Grande
- D8 – The unavoidable pink granite coast
- D9 – Small stone villages & breathtaking views
- D10 – Emerald Coast: Cap Fréhel and Fort La Latte
- D11 – Dinan : medieval city
- D12 – Saint-Malo: the corsair city & Cancale oysters
- D13 – Mont Saint Michel: the wonder and our tips
- Day 14 – Renne: its historical center
- D15 Return
- Where to sleep for free in Brittany, our tips ?
- Where to park during the day in Brittany ?
- Where to rent a van or camper in Brittany ?
- Our balance sheet
Our 15-day motorhome (or van) itinerary
For this first trip we asked you on Instagram for your recommendations, we wrote down all your ideas on our map which we then completed through various blog postings.
Spoiler alert, there’s a lot to see in Brittany, it’s an incredible region, so we had to make some choices. We chose to drive along the coast of Brittany. We selected the places that came up most often. We also tried to alternate between city sightseeing days and hikes along the coast. We wanted to ride a maximum of 1 hour per day to avoid spending too much time on the road.
We started our journey with the southern Brittany, the Gulf of Morbihan to the tip of the Van (southern Finistère), then via the Crozon peninsula (which kept cropping up in our research), then through northern Brittany, the Côtes d’Armor, the Emerald Coast, then we changed departments to visit the marvellous Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy!
We chose not to explore North Finistère, so we’re saving that part for a future trip.
Itinerary 7 days – 1 week
If you have 1 week of vacations, we advise you to concentrate on the north or the south of Brittany.
- For the south, you can realize our itinerary from D1 to D6 (starting from Nantes to finish on the peninsula of Crozon)
- For the north, you can do the itinerary from D15 to D7 (starting with Rennes, then the Mont Saint Michel…)
What we’d like to know
- Brittany ishuge and there’s a lot to do, so we had to make choices to see as many places as possible in 2 weeks.
- Don’t hesitate to invest in binoculars, as Brittany is a paradise for seabird watching: by the sea and in nature reserves, the show is permanent! We recommend Nikon binoculars, which offer good value for money, or this one, for professionals!
- Along the coast, there are numerous barriers and prohibition signs, for example on the island of Quiberon, which made it difficult for us to park near points of interest.
- The Ile Vierge beach on the Crozon peninsula is closed to the public, as we found out when we arrived on site. Had we known earlier, we would have looked for another beach nearby.
- The guided tour of Mont-Saint-Michel is included in the entrance ticket, so we managed to join a group and the visit was really interesting.
- A final word of advice: don’t forget to be well-equipped to travel light. We’ve put together a list of our must-have motorhome accessories, so don’t hesitate to share yours with us at the end of the article.
D1 – Direction south of Brittany : Nantes
We spent the first day of our trip driving from the Ile d’Oléron to Nantes. We found a great place to sleep, the Domaine Viticole de la Chevrue (Free spot Park 4 night), quiet and secure with a free tasting of a dozen different wines, in a happy and cheerful atmosphere, the owners are super friendly and really the type of bivouac we love with water and electricity, in short there’s everything!
If you don’t have as far to go as we do, you can cycle from the estate to the city of Nantes on your first day, or park in one of the parking lots near the city center.
For our part, we were already familiar with the city, so we decided to recharge our batteries after a day on the road. Allow at least half a day to visit the magnificent city of Nantes!
Pour votre découverte de la ville, nous vous conseillons de prendre le Pass Nantes valable 1, 2, 3 ou 7 jours, il vous offrira un accès gratuit aux transports publics aux musées (carrousel des mondes marins, la galerie des machines de l’île, musée d’histoire, musée d’Art…), aux croisières sur l’Erdre et aux visites guidées.
➡ Si vous faites 2 activités (1 musée et 1 croisière ou 1 visite guidée, par exemple) et que vous prenez les transports en commun, le pass sera rentabilisé !
➡ Driving time : 3h (it all depends on where you start;)
➡ Spot dodo Domaine viticole de la Chevrue (Free spot Park 4 night), we recommend it +++
D2 – Vannes, Gulf of Morbihan & Carnac alignments at sunset
We fell in love with the beautiful city of Vannes. Ideally located on the northern shores of the Gulf of Morbihan, you can easily explore the medieval town center on foot, stroll along the ramparts and end your visit at the lovely harbor. We had lunch at the very good Sarra’Zen pancake house, ideally located and the pancakes are cooked with fresh products!
We also made a stop at the Séné marshes for birdwatching, where up to 200 species have been recorded. A path is dotted with observatories for birdwatching, including numerous White Stilts.
We then took the road to enjoy the Carnac alignments at sunset.
We strongly recommend that you go at the end of the day to take advantage of the warmer lights, which give this place an even more mystical feel!
➡ Driving time: Nantes -> Vannes 1h30 (free parking Avenue du Président Franklin Roosevelt) then Vannes –> Carnac 30 minutes +
➡ Tree-linedsleeping spot in Carnac, west of the Dolmen parking lot, ideally located between the Ménec and Kermario alignments, recommended by other travelers we met in Vannes (thanks, to Tom and Sarah, if you’re passing by)!
Day 3 – Quiberon & Quimperlé peninsula
Going to the Quiberon peninsula on a sunny, warm Sunday in September means agreeing to share this corner of paradise with many other motorhomes and vanlifers.
What’s more, many parking lots are off-limits to motorhomes – we’ve never seen so many signs over such a short distance, and there are height barriers at the entrances to most parking lots…
We still went around the island to explore the different points of interest, the small lighthouse of Port-Haliguen, the Pointe du Conguel and the beautiful Turpault castle overlooking the sea.
We parked along the road, close to the natural arch of Port Blanc, and then enjoyed the pretty, unspoilt beach nearby. This spot is popular with locals for surfing and families, it has a pleasant atmosphere. Despite the difficulty of parking and getting around, we loved this wild island.
We recommend that you visit the peninsula out of season and during the week, to get the most out of it.
We headed for Quimperlé, not to be confused with its near namesake Quimper, to do the services, and as the spot is a 10-minute walk from the village, we took the opportunity to visit the pleasant lower town, with its pretty market halls, half-timbered houses and imposing Sainte-Croix church.
➡Travel time: Carnac – Quiberon 20 minutes, Quiberon – Quimperlé 1h
➡ Spot dodo Plage de Pouldohan 30 minutes away – pleasant wooded and quiet plot next to a magnificent white sand beach (6 places CC 48h authorized) – restaurant in Quimperlé le Wagon-lit.
D4 – Concarneau’s closed city to the end of Europe, Pointe du Van
After 20 minutes of cycling, we take the ferry (cost 2€ round trip) from Passage Lanriec (place Duquesne) to the walled city of Concarneau. This way we avoided going around the Moros bridge.
We cross the walled town to take 1,000 photos, then get a bit of height on the ramparts before heading for the large and beautiful white sands beach (1 km along the coast).
We recommend you to go to the Pointe du Van at sunset, to enjoy the beautiful lights of the end of the day during the golden hours!
It’s time to think about our itinerary, because on this first trip to Brittany, we unfortunately can’t see everything. We decided to go to the Crozon peninsula, located at the western end of Brittany, famous for its wild coast and its beautiful beaches. We’ll be back another time to visit North Finistère.
➡ Driving time : Concarneau – Pointe du van 1h22
➡ Spot dodo parking with ocean view pointe de Beuzec (15 minutes from pointe du van)
Day 5 – One of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Crozon peninsula
The Guardian has classified the beach of Ile Vierge, located in Finistère, as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (yes, it is possible)! Even though we don’t particularly like rankings, as we consider everything to be beautiful, we went along to get curious.
From the parking lot, allow around 3km round trip, following the GR34, you’ll cross a pine forest before reaching a viewpoint, from where you’ll enjoy a beautiful panorama of the creek with its turquoise waters. We felt as if we were in the calanques of Marseille. Unfortunately victim of its success the access to this idyllic beach became too dangerous.
To finish this beautiful day, we enjoyed a beautiful red sunset, one more, on the Cap de la Chèvre, the southernmost point of the Crozon peninsula.
➡ Travel time: Pointe du Van to Virgin Island 1 hour and 10 minutes then 15 minutes to Cap de la Chèvre.
➡ S leep spot: Cap de la chèvre park4night
D6 – The incredible Crozon peninsula, our favorite!
Second day on the incredible peninsula of Crozon, we had a lot of fun!
Heading west, we passed the Pointe de Dinan, the immense beach of Kersiguénou, a stop at the Lagatjar alignments, then explored the surrounding area and the beach of Pen Hat in greater depth.
To finish this beautiful day, we walked in the city of Camaret sur mer to the guard tower designed by Vauban to defend the harbor, then we went along the coast, and the fortifications which protected the access to the harbor of Brest, until the pointe des Espagnols from where we enjoyed a beautiful view of Brest.
This nature reserve is a real concentrate of Brittany’s finest! In short, we’re already looking forward to coming back to explore more of this little corner of paradise.
A 120 km coastal path (sentier des Douaniers) takes you around the island on foot, and we’re keeping this dream itinerary in the back of our minds for a future hike.
We recommend Fourn’île in Crozon, where everything is organic and homemade. It’s an excellent bakery with Breton products (of course) brioche, far, kouign-Amann… which we devoured!
➡ Travel time : Cap de la chèvre – Pointe des Espagnols about 1h counting the numerous detours
➡ Spot dodo point of the Spanish (quiet but not crazy).
D7 – Côtes d’Armor : alone in the world on the Ile Grande
Linked to the mainland by a small stone bridge, Ile Grande is located in the heart of the pink granite coast. We cycled along the coastal path around the island (approx. 7 km, all doable on foot), passing marshes, harbours and numerous beaches.
Once a granite quarry, the island is now largely covered in small pebbles. We didn’t see many people on our walk in September, so we quickly got the feeling of being alone in the world, a feeling we love!
➡ Travel time: Pointe des Espagnols – Trèdrez-Locquémeau, about 2 hours with a stop for services and shopping
➡Spotdodo : Pleumeur Bodou, concrete parking, next to the Gallic village, authorized stop 24h
Honestly, we knew absolutely nothing about the existence of this rating prior to our research on Brittany. Of course, we quickly realized that this was yet another must-do in Brittany, a place almost unique in the world, and the photos of other travelers clearly made us want to come and see this little spot for ourselves!
The pink granite coast extends over 30km, the area not to be missed is the one located between Trégastel and Ploumanac’h.
We left in the direction of theRenote Island (north of Trégastel), we advise you to take the main path at the end of which there is a beautiful view on the coast and on the lighthouse of Mean Ruz in Ploumanac’h (better known as the lighthouse of the pink granite coast) is waiting for you and then follow the east coast to reach the parking lot, since this island is only accessible on foot (about 2km there and back).
This second part is less frequented and therefore wilder, with beautiful beaches where you can rest and observe the peculiarly shaped pink rocks formed by erosion.
Afterwards, we headed for Ploumanac’h (voted France’s favorite village in 2015), where you can join the customs path (there it is again) or the coastal path for a closer look at the lighthouse, its beaches and adorable little port. In short, we loved the day!
➡ Travel time : Trèdrez-Locquémeau – île Renote – Tréguier, about 1h
➡Spotdodo: Tréguier waterside parking lot Park4night, a two-minute walk from the town center in a quiet location, we were about twenty motorhomes once again it’s crowded in Brittany
D9 – Small stone villages & breathtaking views
We noted two charming villages to explore on our way to Tréguier & Paimpol, in the north of the Côtes d’Armor.
The first one is worth the detour just to see its magnificent Saint-Tugdual cathedral, its beautiful granite and half-timbered houses. The medieval historical center has kept all its charm.
The second one is interesting for its adorable small port and its pleasant city center, we were there on a market day, it was a very good atmosphere!
We stopped by chance at the Vivre grocery store, located right in the center of town. The pretty storefront attracted us, what a great idea, we ate delicious sandwiches with fresh, organic and carefully selected products, everything we love. The homemade lemonade with rhubarb syrup was to die for. In short, a must!
On the advice of the owners, we went to the cliffs of Plouah, the highest in Brittany, which are indeed vertiginous, and the cliff path offers beautiful views of the wild coastline. Unfortunately, we were there on a grey and rainy day, so we weren’t able to enjoy the turquoise water, but we’ll be back!
➡ Travel time : Tréguier – Saint Brieuc about 1h
➡Spotdodo: Tréguier waterside parking lot Park4night, a two-minute walk from the town center in a quiet location, we were about twenty motorhomes once again it’s crowded in Brittany
D10 – Emerald Coast: Cap Fréhel and Fort La Latte
Nous attaquons notre exploration de la côte d’Émeraude qui s’étend du Cap Fréhel jusqu’à la Pointe du Grouin.
The ideal way to link these two must-sees is by taking the Douanier trail (there it is again), which links Cap Fréhel and Fort La Latte along 5 km of coastline. This is one of Brittany’s most beautiful hiking trails, and in addition to passing through two emblematic sites, it offers some very fine views. You can park your car at the Fort La Latte parking lot which is free of charge.
We had a very rainy day, so we had to give up this hike. We were only able to take advantage of a small lull at the end of the day to go out. We were nevertheless impressed by the impressive lighthouse of Cap Fréhel, which stands proudly facing the sea.
On the other hand, we had the unpleasant surprise of arriving in front of the closed gates of Fort La Latte due to bad weather (in September!), so we can only advise you to check the opening information before your visit (not like us)!
➡ Travel time : Saint Brieuc – Saint Cast le Guildo (east of Fort La Latte) about 1h
➡ Sleep spot: Saint Cast le Guildo port parking in height at the water’s edge Park4night
D11 – Dinan : medieval city
Dinan, another must-see in Brittany, even though we visited the town partly in the rain, we loved its medieval atmosphere. From the cobbled streets, the half-timbered houses to the old stones and the ramparts, one has the impression of strolling in the Middle Ages .
Thanks to the rain, we discovered a small, free and instructive museum on the history of the town in the tourist office, which served as a refuge during a heavy downpour. (parking gratuit au pied du pont sur une grande prairie park4night à 10 minutes à pied du centre-ville, ça monte, et 5 minutes du port).
We ate at Miette’s, located right in the center, for an excellent burger and homemade gnocchi. We didn’t leave a bit of it, the easy but true joke!
➡ Travel time: Saint Cast le Guildo – Saint Suliac (about 1h)
➡ Sleeping spot: Saint Suliac with a view of the port Park4night
D12 – Saint-Malo: the corsair city & Cancale oysters
Unsurprisingly, we loved Saint-Malo, and you’d have to be hard-pressed not to enjoy strolling along its ramparts, admiring its impressive fortifications and exploring its town center, where all the houses are made of Chausey granite, giving the town a unique character.
Another aspect we really appreciated was the opportunity to visit certain islands that are only accessible at low tide (Grand-Bé and Petit-Bé islands). We will do a detailed article on this city that we loved! (Free parking behind Intermarché, the Rochebonne promenade which runs along the sea front allows you to reach the ramparts in 20 minutes Park4night)
We then went for a stroll through the center of Cancale, before taking the coastal path down to the harbor. (Free parking next to the cemetery, 5-minute walk from downtown Park4night)
➡ Travel time: Saint Suliac – Saint Broladre (Cherrueix) about 1h passing by Saint Malo and Cancale
➡ Sleeping spot: Saint Broladre (Cherrueix) 500 meters from the beach with a distant view of Mont-Saint-Michel Park4night
D13 – Mont Saint Michel: the wonder and our tips
We’d never been to Mont-Saint-Michel, so we wanted to round off our Breton holiday in style, and of course we loved it. We give you our tips to make the most of your visit!
- Tip 1: A visit to Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey is a must, whether you’re a believer or not. Entrance to Mont-Saint-Michel is free, but there is a charge for admission to theabbey and all its public rooms.
- Tip 2: We advise you to book your queue-cutting tickets in advance, as this is one of the most visited sites in France, and we were surprised by the crowds in September. This ticket includes a 1-hour guided tour, which we discovered on arrival.
- Tip 3: When you arrive to avoid the crowds that stagnate mainly in the main street, the one where all the stores are located. We advise you to go directly to the ramparts after the main gate (stairs on your right) or to take the stairs on the left just after the post office.
- Tip 4: For a dream picnic spot with a view of Mont-Saint-Michel, eat on the Mont-Saint-Michel dam pedestrian bridge, just before the access footbridge to the site. Buy or plan your picnic before you get to Mont-Saint-Michel, as there’s really no such thing as good value for money. There is very little free space for eating on site.
➡ Travel time: Saint Broladre (Cherrueix) – Sougeal parking area (south of Mont Saint Michel, driving time 30 minutes
➡ Sleeping spot: Sougeal parking area, very quiet Park4night
Day 14 – Renne: its historical center
For this last day of road trip we made a stop to walk in the city of Renne that we already knew. It’s always nice to walk around in such a beautiful city (we will dedicate an article for this day soon).
➡ Travel time: Sougeal – Rennes parking area (about 1h)
➡ Spot dodo : Crevin parking area (south of Rennes) + services
It’s a 4-hour drive to the island of Oléron, where we’re currently staying. At the end of each road trip, we drain all our tanks to avoid stagnant water!
Where to sleep for free in Brittany, our tips ?
For those of you who have been following us for a while, you’ll know that we’ve spent several months traveling around Europe in motorhomes . On our French coasts, there are many restrictions compared with other countries (Italy, Greece…). On the Quiberon peninsula, for example, we’ve never seen so many no-parking signs over such a short distance, and what’s more, there are high barriers at the entrance to most parking lots…
The rule is the same everywhere in France: wild camping is forbidden, while parking is tolerated wherever cars are allowed. Of course, it’s best to keep a low profile and avoid laying out all your camping gear in the parking lot “in cuckoo mode, we’re settling in for the month”, and to stay for a maximum of 24 to 48 hours (some parking lots indicate the authorized duration at the entrance).
We reassure you, we still managed to find beautiful “wild” spots by searching well, we even managed to have some spots with sea views by moving away from cities or very touristy places!
For our spot searches, we used the famous Park4night application, with the paying option (about 2€/month or 10€/year) we can add filters to our search, “rating higher than 4/5”, “free CC stat. area”, “playground” ideal to keep our little monsters busy 😉
We also complete our research by trying to locate parking lots far from civilization on Google maps and by asking other travelers (this is how we found the parking lot right next to the alignments in Carnac) or friends on the spot.
To summarize, to park for free in Brittany, you have several options:
- The communal areas (many town halls play the game), indeed we are often packed like sardines, it is not at all instagrammable, for one night, it is largely feasible. For example, we slept in the area next to Village Gaulois to explore the pink granite coast. We were a 15-minute bike ride from Ile Grande and a 15-minute motorhome ride from Ploumanac’h, which is just perfect for exploring this very touristy area! Services are generally free, so what more could you ask for?
- We avoid parking too close to the road (we like peace and quiet), to restaurants, especially at weekends, and to busy areas so as not to disturb other motorists, especially the locals. For example, on the Crozon peninsula, unauthorized camping is forbidden, although some parking lots allow campers to camp for up to 24 hours. We advise you to read the latest Park4night reviews carefully as the permissions change regularly.
Our final tips for sleeping out in the wild: we advise you to opt for pitches far from the main points of interest, in the early or late season (May, June and September), and to ask the locals if it’s possible to park for a night!
You also have many great campsites with dream locations, sanitary facilities where you can take showers with a good flow, and fee-paying caravan parks with a very low daily fee (the network Camping car park is top, we used it a lot in the east of France during our first steps as camper !
Where to park during the day in Brittany ?
To park for the day, we were generally able to park for free near the main sites. We mainly used Park4night to search for our locations. We don’t use Google maps very much, as there are a lot of barriers to parking in France, and they’re not necessarily indicated on this application.
On one of our first motorhome outings in Biarritz, we couldn’t turn around at the barrier because the access road was too narrow, so we had to back up several meters in the middle of town. In short, we’re keeping a close eye on things.
We love this mode of travel, so we try to cause as little inconvenience as possible to show that cars and converted vehicles can cohabit in the parking lots, and we respect the various prohibitions.
We advise you to read the signs when you arrive or to ask the locals or shopkeepers. For example, to get toIle Renote on the pink granite coast, the aquarium parking lot is closed to motorhomes, but out of season we’re allowed in for a few hours.
Where to rent a van or camper in Brittany ?
We advise you to rent your motorhome, van, camper van, etc. between private individuals, using the Yescapa platform, which puts tenants and owners in touch with each other. It’s a French company, based in Bordeaux, and with over 13,000 vehicles on offer, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for!
For our part, we used this platform to test several motorhome models before choosing our own. We have always been satisfied with the different vehicles and we have also had plenty of advice from the owners who usually take the time to explain the operation of the vehicle.
The operation is very simple you select your city of departure then your dates of travel, then the platform proposes you the available vehicles. Then, you can sort by price, number of beds, unlimited kilometers, foreign travel possible or not…. And the most important according to us, the comments of the other tenants, to read the various returns gives us full of information (reliability of the advertisement, arranging hirer, available…) and reassures us!
Once you’ve found what you’re looking for in your vehicle, don’t forget to equip yourself to travel with peace of mind. We’ve put together a list of our must-have motorhome accessories, some of which may surprise you!
Our balance sheet
As you’ll have gathered from this article, we loved our stay in Brittany, and if you enjoyed it as much as we did, don’t hesitate to give it 5 stars below. We were amazed! We can’t wait to come back to this incredible region, we’ve already got plenty of spots we’ve written down for this second Breton holiday!
We hope you enjoy your stay! Thank you for reading all the way through, please feel free to drop us a note below, here or on our Instagram and ask any questions you may have. We read all your messages and we will answer you with the same pleasure!