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French Connections

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  • A short cruise across the Channel

    On my recent trip to Brittany the ferry was very busy with both vehicles and foot passengers. Hardly surprising, as people stranded by the flight ban were, of course, taking to the sea instead.On my recent trip to Brittany the ferry was very busy with both vehicles and foot passengers. Hardly surprising, as people stranded by the flight ban were, of course, taking to the sea instead. Sea travel seems normal to me as I once lived on a Greek island and had to get a boat to go anywhere, but I was still reminded of just how easy and pleasant it is. On our outward journey from Portsmouth to Le Havre with LD Ferries we travelled overnight and managed to sleep well in calm seas. For the return we allowed time to stop in gorgeous Honfleur and resisted an expensive harbour view to enjoy one of those typically fantastic French lunches at a little restaurant called Relais des Cyclistes, close to the tourist information office. I can heartily recommend the set menu of three generous courses for just 12.50 euro, made all the more delectable for being eaten outside in warm sunshine. Once on board, the five hour crossing seemed to fly by. We found a nice sheltered spot on the top deck, watched the port and town disappear, dozed in warm sunshine, came inside, chatted and played cards and watched a glorious sunset across the sea. Ferry companies report increased bookings this summer after the ash crisis and no doubt train services to France will be popular too. If you’ve never tried these alternatives to flying, perhaps now is the time to –er- take the plunge?
  • Adventures in Brittany

    This time next week I shall be exploring new French territory for me – the land and seascape of Brittany.This time next week I shall be exploring new French territory for me – the land and seascape of Brittany. Another first is my method of travel, as I’m going with a friend in her camper van, the whimsically named Mazda Bongo. Our adventure has been easy to organise. We booked a crossing overnight from Portsmouth to Le Havre and searched this site for Brittany B&Bs and hotels on a map. We’ll use those for overnight stops and our home on wheels for lunch and tea breaks. We’ve driven through France together before and know that my friend is good at route planning and navigation while I’m more confident at speaking French - and that we both like markets, harbours, churches, views and history, so we’re optimistic that all will be well. Luckily, we also both love French food and wine! I really enjoy Cornwall so I’m sure I’ll appreciate the rocky coastline and wide open spaces, the sense of an ancient land whose spirit and traditions survive. Our ultimate destination is the medieval town of Vannes and the prehistory of Carnac, with its miles of standing stone and Megalithic wonders. Carnac is on the Golfe de Morbihan, which boasts gorgeous islands, wild beaches, a seabird sanctuary and a mild micro-climate. Brittany, here we come!
  • The Pont-de-Normandy, one of the largest cable stay bridges in the world. - Photo Friday 17 December 2010

    When the bridge was constructed it was a source of national pride that it was the longest cable stay bridge in the world.