Road trip – seventh stop: France

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The last day in Italy was packed: within one day we arrived in Livorno in the early morning, went to Siena for lunch and drove to Monaco. Now we have to make a plan where to go next. Though we never stop dreaming about Ireland/ Scotland/ England, we look for the wind nearby.

roadtrip france map

The wind forecast predicts some wind in Hyeres/ La Bergerie. You may know this area from a former article I wrote about how I came to kitesurf. Nine years later we go to this place again. Where the passion for kitesurfing began. And we soon find out, it’s not campervan-friendly at all. Almost on every parking are height limiter for cars. We park our van in a side street of a quiet neighbourhood in Giens.

roadtrip france - giens bike tour

The next day it’s still not windy. We decide to take our bicycles for a tour. But first, we drink a coffee in a bar next to the port. And then another one followed by some Corse pastis. And later we start to play cards. Oh well, we are good in acclimating, right?

The bicycle tour is postponed. Later we find out that the island isn’t built to cycle around.

roadtrip france hyeres bergerie beach kitesurf

The next day has good wind for kiting. Unfortunately a bit onshore. And as it seems no wind somewhere else, it’s busy on the water and at the beach. We have a good session in decent wind waves and strong wind. But the place is packed with wind- and kitesurfers and we think about hopping to a place with fewer crowds. We prepare our campervan and head west.

roadtrip france - cape dagde beach

Cap d’Agde is as the name suggests, the cape, which is located in front of Agde. The Cape has only been around about 40 years. The construction area arose by silting before Agde. The place reminds me to El Gouna, a rather artificially appearing city in Egypt. Straight we go to the beach. Because, as so often, the wind forecast announces wind for the next day. Unfortunately, there are also here a few parking spaces with height restrictions. But we’re lucky at the harbor because the restrictions were put on the back side. The next morning we already wake up by our shaking car. Heavy raindrops are hammering against the roof. We wait and hope for better weather. Before noon the rain stops and we both decide to go kitesurfing. We remain in the water until every single muscle fiber hurts. But it’s worth the pain.

Later we find out, that Cape d’Agde is well known for the nudist beach. Luckily it’s offseason…

The next day every muscle still hurts. The wind forecast predicts no promising days in southern France. We decide to go to the west coast. Yet, the wind blows the right direction for neither ground handling at the Dune du Pyla or a wave session in Biarritz. After two days in choppy conditions, we crave for a beautiful wave.

roadtrip france - dinan bay kersiguenou beach

Just at the right time, a friend posts pictures on Facebook of beautiful waves. And soon we have our next destination in its sights: the peninsula Crozon in Brittany.

roadtrip france - after kitesurf session kerguisenou dinan bretagne

We go to the Bay of Dinan. The Bay is three sides encompassed by cliffs and provides, depending on the tide a wide sandy beach. The beach is accessible from three sides: Kerloc’h, Kersiguenou, and Le Goulien. Both are fascinated by this place. The rugged beauty, the sea and the perfect waves heat every surfer’s soul. We enjoy kite sessions with little wind, but all the more beautiful wave. And behind the waves is mirror-like sea for freestyling. With the strong wind, the waves grow.

Another look at the weather forecast tells us that the next few days aren’t windy. So we decide to look at Brest. We park the campervan at the harbor and ride our bikes through the city.

Brest is a military-influenced city. Many buildings were destroyed during the second world war. It isn’t surprising that the current city is reminiscent of Stalin’s city maps. Orthogonal road network, wide streets, grey buildings. The only building that held stand all attacks is the fort.

As in other countries, we also visit a friend we know from South Africa: Kevin. At the north coast of Brittany in Lannilis, we spend the traditional evening: in a creperie with a lot of cider. But before we go out to eat, he shows us his home spot.

roadtrip france - saint marguerite sunset

The beach of Saint Marguerite provides a magical view of the rocks in the water. As he tells us, one can, depending on the tide kiting around the rocks.

Kevin’s mother recommends us the coastal road along the south drive. After we spend the night in Saint Marguerite we do this. We drive the proposed route with hundreds of other Frenchmen. So many people because a) it’s Sunday and b) the last day of vacation. This does not diminish our pleasure to enjoy the fascinating view.

roadtrip france le conquet sunset boats

In the evening we arrive in Le Conquet, the westernmost tip of France. We enjoy the sunset and a pub visit with the local fishermen.

The oh-so-small chance of another session at our new favorite place brings us back to the Crozon peninsula. The bay of Dinan attracts us like a magnet. Unfortunately, the chance of wind diminishes by heavy rain and we spend the time with shopping, knitting or playing cards.

roadtrip france dinan bretagne beach bycicle

Even on my birthday, there is no wind. And so we start a bike ride to the nearby village Camaret-Sur-Mer. Because Wikipedia has reported to me that there is a UNESCO world heritage site: the tower of Vauban. The tower has been protected since 2008 and is just as long in revision.

Without visit but exhausted from the up and down of our bike tour we are looking for a restaurant. We let finish the day with crepes and cider. One should adapt, right?

We have already become accustomed to the temperate climate: daytime it is usually around the 18-20 degrees and the nights are pleasantly cool with about 10 °. Thanks to the Gulf Stream the water is not cold. I need neither boots nor gloves.

The next day, however, is quiet. The time is ripe and we forge our next stop. It’s only accessible via ferry, which departs from Cherbourg in the Normandy. Along our way, we stop in Saint-Malo. This is another city that was destroyed by the Second World War. But this time the builders have kept the former plan and everything set up as before. “Très pittoresque!”

roadtrip france - saint malo

The town center is surrounded by a wall (intra muros) and on three sides by water. According to Wikipedia, it is the most visited city in France. We are lucky. Because there was enough space to look around.

roadtrip france saint malo kevin pub coffee tea

In the city, we meet our friend Kevin again. When strong, offshore wind, we look at a few kiters. But before we go to the water, we get some “dutch courage”.

roadtrip france saint malo sunset sea

When we step out of the pub, we notice that the wind has calmed down. Then no kite session …

We head towards Cherbourg.

Merken

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