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France: Ferry to Caen/Cherbourg/St Malo- which would you choose?

(8 Posts)
erebus Mon 27-Jun-11 18:27:24

We have 2 DSs, 10 and 12. We are thinking of going to near-France for the last week of August to attempt to reduce our chances of the late August weather-washout that is always Cornwall and Devon these days (camping!).

Given the choice, what would you do?

Which of the above gives access to the more attractive areas? We went to central north coat Brittany 2 years ago and it was very nice but we wouldn't be wanting to drive for more that say 2 hours at the other end. We didn't look around St Malo or Cherbourg on that occasion as one was at 2 a.m (V. late arrival of Brittany ferry, as usual!) and it rained heavily the whole way along the motorway out to Cherbourg on the way back.

Should we:
A)get a cottage/gite?
b) Camp?
c) chalet holiday park with swimming pools etc?

As a family we like the beach, walking, old towns but tend to keep away from the type of holiday that involves on-site 'evening entertainment'!


WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Mon 27-Jun-11 19:44:33

We just spent a week camping at Chateau de Lez Eaux which probably ticks most of your boxes, we really enjoyed it. It has touring pitches, Eurocamp/Keycamp and chalets, a great pool complex (indoor and outdoor pools) a shop, bar and takeaway but no entertainment apart from the TV in the bar, and bar football, pool table etc. Our DCs are younger but there were plenty of older ones there. 10 mins drive to beaches, also nearest village which has a few restaurants and shops, an hour or so to Mt St Michel, a bit longer to St Malo, which is a lovely old town. An hour or so the other way towards Caen is the Arromanches D-Day attraction which is supposed to be excellent, we would have gone if our DCs had been a bit older.

We travelled Portsmouth Caen on the fast cat, arriving at lunchtime, it was choppy and the kids were seasick both ways, it was then about 90 mins easy drive to the campsite. Might think about non Fast cat crossings next time I think, however the timings were good, our return ferry was about 12.3o so we were back in Portsmouth by about 3.

LillianGish Mon 27-Jun-11 19:55:45

I would go to St Malo and then drive to the Morbihan. The Golfe du Morbihan is absolutely gorgeous and supposedly has it's own micro-climate so generally warmer than other poarts of Brittany. I would try and find something through Gite de France (or alternatively try some of the English companies like French Country Cottages if your French is not that great) or just google the area where you want to stay and go on the tourist info site.

gapants Mon 27-Jun-11 20:09:49

I second the Golf du Morbihan, my SIL lives there and we go every year. The little town of Auray is beautiful with a lovely port and nearby woodlands to walk/bike around. Vannes is a small city with medieval architecture, a port lots of shops and cafe.
The beaches are clean, water shallow and warm. Lots of water sports.Carnac has the standing stones, it is a bit more "touristy" Quiberon is beautiful with a long stretch of golden sand. There are a coupled of little islands you can get a shirt ferry ride to, bike round and have lunch at.

We have camped here and it was low key and lovely. Lots of french, german and belgian campers it is a bit out of the way, but you can walk to the beach There are also tents and chalets to rent too. nice big outdoor pool, small shop and cafe. Outdoor play area and table tennis.

About 2.5 hours drive from St Malo. We use Brittany ferries, which are excellent and well worth the £25 more to get a premium cabin. We overnight on the way out and day cross on the way back.

Lizcat Mon 27-Jun-11 21:08:34

Forget Brittany Ferries and their massive prices. Use LD lines portsmouth to Le Havre at least 50% cheaper and sometimes nearly 75% cheaper on both Ferry and fast cat. No frills, but I would rather save my money for the actual holiday.

sittinginthesun Mon 27-Jun-11 21:13:35

It is pricey, but we enjoy the overnight ferry, and it part of the holiday for us. We have had three holidays in Brittany - my favourite is overnight to St Malo, breakfast in Dinard, and then drive down to Carnac. We usually do a Key Camp, as my boys love the freedom. Favourite place is probably Quiberon. X

jenpet Tue 28-Jun-11 09:39:35

We live near Vannes, on the Golf du Morbihan. I think you will find it difficult to find a cottage or gite now (we're booked up already for next August!) but you may find a campsite, as the French tend to return home by the last week of August to get ready for La Rentree.
Personally, I prefer the overnight to St Malo, but it really depends if you prefer more time at sea or more time driving. From St Malo down here is about an hour and a half, from Cherbourg three and a half hours, Caen about the same.
If you do decide on this area you're welcome to cat me if you have any more questions

sittinginthesun Tue 28-Jun-11 13:46:41

Lucky you, living there jenpet! We went for the May halfterm holiday and had a wonderful timesmile

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