We review a family holiday to St Malo in Brittany and try out Brittany Ferries for the first time
I can’t spell it. I can’t even pronounce it, but the Breton delicacy Kouign Amann may just be the best thing I have ever eaten – it’s buttery, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth heaven.
I buy a whole cake, warm from the oven and it quickly diminishes as I sit on the harbour-side in Port du Crouesty – on the southern tip of Brittany.
Getting to this lesser visited area of the region was part of our adventure as we crossed the Channel by ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo.
The Brittany Ferries ship feels huge, with lots to see and do. Once you’ve stood on deck and waved goodbye to England, there are children’s discos and shows, a small soft play area, games room, restaurants and even a cinema.
It’s like a mini-cruise and we make the most of everything on our way back but the outward journey was overnight. So after a magic show we were all excited to get to our cabin and sleep onboard.
The nine-hour crossing soon passed and we woke up ready for Brittany. (For a detailed review of our crossing with Brittany Ferries click here).
Many people know and love this most westerly corner of France, returning year after year.
We were stopping on the Rhuys peninsular between the Atlantic and the Gulf of Morbihan. This is French holiday country – there’s barely an English accent.
And not many speak much English so I was glad my husband’s French is better than mine.
Port du Crouesty is a modern harbour development. We stayed at Pierre & Vacances resort, which is in a winning location.
Sandwiched between a busy marina and pretty beach, there are two outdoor swimming pools and plenty of good restaurants at the harbour, all within walking distance of our apartment.
If you are feeling active, you can hire bikes and there is also a sailing club.
Depending on when you stay, there’s also a children’s club and activities.
Our one-bedroom apartment had two comfortable sofa beds in the lounge. It was on the small side for the four of us but the view over the marina from the balcony made up for it.
Other rooms look over a great grassy area and lovely playground. For a more detailed review of Port du Crouesty, click here.
If the weather is good you don’t need to go far but we made the most of our wheels to explore the area.
We drove 20 miles to the historic walled town of Vannes. After getting stuck into its bustling market – and more French food – we headed for Vannes Aquarium.
The highlights were some of the biggest turtles we’ve ever seen and a crocodile which seemed to have been found after it ended up in the Paris sewer system.
More four-legged creatures delighted Josh and Jess on another day out, to Branféré Animal park.
This is more of a lovely parkland stroll with added wildlife than a traditional zoo. Wallabies wander freely around, giraffes and rhinos enjoy huge enclosures and birds of all shapes and sizes fly overhead.
In the middle of it all was a series of amazing nets placed among the treetops to run across. A high-level walkway with more than 17,000 square metres of netting. Great fun all round. If you don’t look down.
The Rhuys peninsular is blessed with beaches. We visited four in all.
Our favourite was one we had all to ourselves – Plage du Goh Velin was a five-minute drive from our apartment.
Armed with nets and buckets, we looked for crabs, collected shells, climbed rocks and even found a cave.
And every day we sampled more of the area’s amazing food – delicious sweet and savoury crêpes, baguettes, cheeses, pastries and seafood.
Our trip was during half-term but outside French holidays, which really made a difference, everywhere was quiet.
As we left St Malo in glorious sunshine on the aptly named ship Bretagne, we were lucky there was plenty of fun on the ferry to keep the holiday spirit going.
And there was one more surprise to remind us of the region. The chunk of Kouign Amann that I’d sneaked home.
The icing on the cake of our trip to beautiful Brittany.
Accommodation: We stayed as guests of Pierre & Vacances resort in Port du Crouesty, Brittany, France for the purposes of this review. All opinions are our own. For a more detailed review of the accommodation click here.
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