From London, we flew to Brest in Brittany. Being in France, our first stop was naturally a boulangerie in a lovely riverside town called Morlaix. Each of the children insisted on ordering for themselves in French and got a real kick out of doing so. Hooray!
We hadn’t planned to spend much time in Brittany, it was simply the most logical airport to collect our car, but it didn’t take long before we were enchanted by La Belle Bretagne.
The countryside felt very English, with leafy lanes and hedgerows, and gorgeous villages of stone cottages adorned with hanging baskets, with front doors and shutters painted in my new favourite colour, Breton blue. Fields of wildflowers stretched to the cliffs, overhanging clear turquoise waters and while there were walking paths everywhere along the Emerald Coast, after such a day of travel we didn’t dare suggest it. One of the children was very resistant to any stops, being fixated on reaching our campsite and in particular, the pool.
We mooched alonghen we saw a sign for Fort la Latte, we thought we might as well take a look. This was another gem, where we heard tales of knights and port cullises and “murder holes”, down which boiling oil or rocks could be poured upon the assailants. We saw battering rams and stocks and dungeons… and although one of the kids professed to be “bored”, the same child was later seen acting out all we had learned.
We were all happy to finally reach the campsite and the pool. We’re mostly staying in campground cabins for this trip, so the kids have access to the play spaces, pools and potential friends. We stayed at Huttopia Baie Mont St Michel, a new complex arranged around a lake. The cabin was clean, shady and well equipped. Perfect
The next day we headed to the walled city of St Malo, much of which was destroyed in World War II and lovingly rebuilt.
We walked along the ramparts, and then over the causeway to the Fort du Petit Bé, accessible only at low tide and constructed in the 12th Century. We visited St Malo’s cathedral, where Jacques Cartier received his blessing before setting sail in 1534 in search of a western passage to China, and instead claimed Canada for France.
Then we visited the Cité d’Aleth and the World War II memorial, which lies on a headland directly opposite St Malo, guarding the entrance to the harbour.
This was the fortified base used by the Germans. We read about how the Allies laid siege to the town, and the whole day transported me straight back to the pages of our book club book, All the Light We Cannot See. The gun in which the Americans placed their flag upon victory remains in place.