Any trip to the Gulf would be incomplete without visiting Vannes, the principal town in the area.
We stayed at
which is a Flower Camping Site at Conleau.
The site is fine, our judgement is a little clouded by the fact that the pitches were very wet and muddy and they had limited sanitary facilities open and there were quite a lot of units on the site but we only intended to stay the night.
Its big plus is that it is a very pleasant half hour walk, along the canal to the town centre.. There is a bus but why take that when you can walk, even if it was raining, passing the cruise boats as you go and the various trips and cruises to the islands of the gulf. As you reach the quayside of the port area, there is a large tourist office,where we picked up a map and details of boat trips. In front of you is the main gateway of this medieval walled town. There are a number of gates to explore and the old laundry, by the very pretty gardens outside the wall, is worth a visit.
There are many narrow cobbled streets to explore and at its heart is the .Cathédrale Saint-Pierre which blends Romanesque and Gothic styles,.There are many colourful half-timber houses and most are found in the Place des Lices square.
The plan on our return was to take the opposite bank of the canal and then cross over at the bridge, that we had passed earlier in the day. What we had not bargained for that it was high tide, and the bridge had been swung open to allow the passage of boats to the harbour at Vannes. What was also becoming readily apparent was that there was no way they were going to swing that bridge back in any hurry so we had to retrace our steps back to Vannes.
Any trip to the Gulf of Morbihan would be incomplete without a cruise of the islands or a trip to one of them, Our preference was to do a walk on an island rather than sitting on a boat and the Île aux Moines was our choice so in September and this necessitated a trip to Port Blanc, for the five minute crossing to the island.
We stayed at Campeole Pen Mar, which was only a ten minute walk to the boarding for the ferry.
This was as is the case of many sites a mixture of mobiles and camping. The camping was under pine trees and as there were only half a dozen units, it was very pleasant indeed. Unfortunately it did not do bread , though there was a vending machine in the aire, five minutes down the road.
On the first day we went down to the coastal path, accessed from the back of the site and less than 500 metres, and turned left and headed towards Arradon, a very pleasant coastal walk and everywhere evidence of shellfish industry, which is big business in this area.
On the second day we headed down towards the ferry, all prepared for our idyllic and peaceful walk around the island of Île aux Moins,only to be confronted by a mass of humanity. I expected the island to be busier at the weekend but what was going on here. Further enquiries from the marshall revealed all, there was going to be a race, over 2,000 people, on the island but what type of race? My first reaction was lets cancel and come another day but the problem with that was that the weather for this day was set to be glorious and this was not the case for the following day. So decision made, we decided to cross but would our day be ruined by the crowds. We called into the local tourist office for guidance. Could we escape the crowds but sadly the response was in the negative and the tourism official was more interested in chatting up the local policeman than really giving us much guidance. So armed with our tourist map, we set off on our walk and not very long after we were joined by runners but this was a race with a difference. On this race the runners had to overcome a number of quite challenging obstacles, as they made their way around the island. Without being disparaging, think of it as a 10km run combined with 'It's a Knockout'. As with all races there were fun runners but there were also some very serious competitors and some of the obstacles were not for the faint hearted.
As for our walk, well the good news was that the runners only followed the coastal path for the first section and so we achieved our aim of a relatively peaceful walk around the island. It is,however, only a small island and we were provided with a number of opportunities to see the antics of the contestants. The conclusion of the day was that we had a great walk around the island,often very peaceful, on a beautifully sunny day and you could have easily been in the Mediterranean and this was combined with a real buzzy atmosphere and great fun watching the contestants .tackling their obstacles.
The name 'Izenah' apparently is the Breton word for the Île aux Moins, both with the same meaning, 'The island of the monks'