Brittany: central town to stay in

Feb 15th, 2011, 12:59 PM
  #1  
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Brittany: central town to stay in

Hi -- my husband and I will be visiting France in mid-May and want to visit Brittany. Any suggestions about towns to visit where the weather will be nice enough to hike or bike? We aren't squeamish about a little drizzle or overcast, but we'd prefer to avoid downpour and have at least warmish (60ish Farenheit) weather. We are thinking about towns near Morbihan or Finnestre (please excuse my awful spelling), but as these are a long drive from Paris thought we'd ask for advice.
We tend to like to park ourselves in one town - in a self-catering cottage or like -- and then drive (betw 30 mins to hour) to hike or bike paths. Any central place to recommend?
hikergirl11 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2011, 01:13 PM
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I wish I had spent more time in Vannes. The area is beautiful around there too. It all is - can't go wrong in Brittany.

Would you consider Fougeres and around there?
flygirl is offline  
Feb 15th, 2011, 01:37 PM
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The area around Vannes might fit your bill. You might be interested in my Trip Report: France, summer 2009. Click on my name to find it.
Michael is offline  
Feb 15th, 2011, 02:06 PM
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There have been some recent Brittany threads on Fodors and Trip Advisor to which I and others have responded and where you'll probably find some useful info relevant to your trip. I think just about any info I could provide to assist you has been mentioned in these threads. It is all info that is relevant to the areas in Brittany in which you express interest. Here are links to the threads:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ttany-trip.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...f-gavrinis.cfm

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic..._Brittany.html

http://tinyurl.com/63hkudf

http://tinyurl.com/4b8xxgh
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Feb 15th, 2011, 02:08 PM
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Vannes would be lovely. But if you want to stay in a central place, easy to reach practually anywhere in Btittany, the Josselin area might be a good idea. Review a map of Brittany. Richard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/josselin
iris1745 is online now  
Feb 15th, 2011, 02:10 PM
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Gouarac is the biking center for Brittany
cigalechanta is offline  
Feb 17th, 2011, 11:23 AM
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Thanks so much everyone. So, I've found a lovely gite in a small town near La Ruelmain -- near La Roche Bernard. It seems to be about 1/2 hour from Vannes. I think we want a small town vs. a larger town -- am I wrong that Vannes is larger & more touristy? Josselin also looked wonderful, Iris1745, but many of the gites were for so many people (we are just 2).

Ruelmain seems to be a great place to cycle and do casual walks. I know it is not near real hiking (though Finnestre seems to be about a 2 hr drive -- maybe we'll day trip one day). But it just looks so lovely.

Any thoughts about this town? Also, any thoughts about a half-way point between Paris and this town? We arrive in Paris after an all night flight -- don't know if we'll want to push 5 hours of driving that first day.

Thanks for all your help. Esp. the web sites.
hikergirl11 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2011, 03:56 PM
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Vannes is a small city but if you want a small town then you probably don't want to stay in Vannes. I would recommend a visit to Vannes since it is lovely. If you are interested in both Morbihan and Finistère then I would think you might want to choose a town between the two regions. Somewhere between Pont-Aven and Hennebont would be more central to both areas. Where you are is half an hour east of Vannes and just under an hour from Carnac.

I don't know what websites you've been searching for gîtes/self-catering rentals but here are a bunch of sites (there are still others) to continue your search if you want to have a look:

www.abritel.fr

www.homelidays.com

www.gites-de-france.com

www.clevacances.com

www.holiday-rentals.co.uk

www.frenchconnections.co.uk

www.papvacances.com

www.cheznous.com

www.vacationinfrance.com

www.francelodge.com

I've never been to the town you've chosen and it's really in the very southern most part of Brittany but if you've done your research and it suits you then go for it. I just think it's a bit removed from the places you say interest you most. When you say you'll day trip to Finistère because it's only two hours away remember that's a total of 4 hours of the day spent driving not to mention the time you'll spend driving around once you get there.

If you've looked through the links I've provided then you'll note the info I've mentioned about tourist offices. They'll have all kinds of info about hiking and biking trails and bike rentals. Personally I just bike on the white roads shown on the Michelin maps as it takes a lot less planning effort.

In regards to driving after an all night flight I think that is not a good idea. Dangerous for you and other drivers on the road. Either spend that first night in Paris and start fresh the next day or take a train to Vannes and pick up your rental car there.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Feb 17th, 2011, 04:24 PM
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Great information from FMT. You could also consider taking a train from Paris and hiring a car in Rennes.
iris1745 is online now  
Feb 17th, 2011, 04:30 PM
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P.S. http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/p92590
iris1745 is online now  
Feb 18th, 2011, 11:02 AM
  #11  
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Yes, I saw that one iris1745, thank you, alas not available on my dates!
Thanks again, everyone, French Mystique you are a wealth of info. I came upon the rental in Ruelmain by searching properties near Vannes, which seemed to be everyone's recommendation.

I have put aside Fougeres, Dinan etc and that area as others have told me that the weather for hiking/cycling in May will be better in the south.

By the way, I've had terrible troubles with gites de france.com -- always get an error message on the English site. Anyone else ever have this problem? Am going to try another site -- just going to go down FM's list.

Wish me luck!
hikergirl11 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2011, 11:58 AM
  #12  
 
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Gites-de-France is updating its system and in the process made a lot of the information unavailable. Finding a gites as opposed to a B&B seems to be particularly troublesome.

My trip report does list a B&B/Gites which was very conveniently located.
Michael is offline  
Feb 18th, 2011, 12:10 PM
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I've been able to bring up the gîtes-de-france website without problem but I haven't tried any searches to see if it is functioning properly. Try typing it with and without the hyphens and don't leave any spaces between the words. See if that helps.

BTW, I wasn't trying to dissuade you from renting the place in Ruelmain. Just wanted to point out its location in relevance to the places you said you'd like to visit. Sometimes when I vacation I like to be in a town or city and within walking distance to services and other times I like a completely anonymous village in the middle of nowhere that no one has ever heard of. You seem like you know what you are looking for so rent it if you like it. Good luck hikergirl11 and come back if you need more help.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Feb 18th, 2011, 12:12 PM
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One more trip report - http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-movements.cfm

We stayed in the northeast, in Dinan, then in the south at Pont-Aven. Both lovely, but when we go back it will be to the Pont-Aven area.
Gardyloo is online now  
Feb 21st, 2011, 10:52 AM
  #15  
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Hi everyone

Haven't finalized yet, but after talking it over w/the hub this weekend I think we are going to stay for 3 days in Ruelmain for our "middle of nowhere" fix and 3 days in Pont Aven for our "nearer to cool stuff" fix. Split the difference! Found lovely gites in both places willing to rent for 3 days. Astonishingly cheap (esp. compared to Paris) -- both gites seem to rent for 45-50 Euros a night. Should I be worried?

Also, thank you for the recommendation about train to Rennes. I think we are going to train from CDG to Rennes and rent a car there to break up the driving. I guess we'll overnight at a hotel or B&B near Rennes and then start fresh in the a.m.

Thanks to all of you for your collective wisdom!
hikergirl11 is offline  

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