Southwards (Bretagne to Medoc)

(1252 – 2130 km)

The West is explored, all works in the base camp are done. Time to start going southwards onto the long run of my road trip.

It’s the beginning of May and the weather seems to be changing to the better constantly. I am on my way to Quiberon and the endless caravan of camping cars on the opposite lane with direction to Brittany seems to proof that. It looks like someone has given the international starting signal for the camping season.

Its market day in Quiberon and after an extensive, but fortunately not expensive, stroll along the stalls I’m heading to the tourist information center. Just to be informed that I can cancel my next destination. The ferry to the Belle Ile isn’t in service because of a strike. Sad, but the trip lands on my to-do list for the next time.

After a bicycle ride around the town and a fantastic sunset at the Côte Sauvage I make the plans for the next days.

Lighthouse Quiberon

The megalith field around Carnac is one of the oddest places I know. A long time ago someone has placed a lot of big standing stones over an enormous area and no one really has any idea why. Nowadays they just stand around and invite me to take pictures from all possible angels and perspectives.

Menhir formation Carnac

I circle around the most interesting area of the field and then go to the little fisher village Etel, a once famous tuna harbor. I visit a small but nice museum about the history of the so called Thôniers, the ships used to catch the tuna.

And to complement the day I head to the salt town Guérande and afterwards, in the evening, make a detour towards the salt fields. This is the place where the Fleur de Sel is harvested from the evaporated sea water.

Salt field Guarande

spend the night at a supermarket parking lot and go further to a camp ground in Longville sur Mer in the morning. And now it's time to surf. In the evening, after the strong on-shore wind has calmed down, I surf a couple of waves on the beach part named BudBud.

On the next day the wave conditions worsened and I take the route to La Rochelle. I stay a little bit inland in a town with a charming lost place touch.

A lost place?

In return I wake up early in the morning and go to Port Minimes in front of La Rochelle. The little ferry is not in operation in the morning and so I walk around the harbor and through the shipyards to the town gates.

Ancient tower and modern art at La Rochelle

Also in La Rochelle I’m right in time for market day. The market hall and the surrounding streets are buzzing and there is an awesome offering of delicacies of all kind.

Market day La Rochelle

Nearly every sidewalk in the old part of the city is covered by arcades. This has the advantage that in case of rain you stay dry without an umbrella during your shopping activities.

Stay dry in La Rochelle

I drink an Espresso in the fashionable Café de la Paix and wander back to the harbor and take the little ferry back to the Port Mimines.

It is only in the afternoon and I’m heading forth to the Ile de Ré. Unfortunately because of the concentration of french bank holidays it is high season on the island. I can only move stop-and-go and at the lighthouse on the North cap there is no parking space available far and wide. I turn and drive with a snail’s pace back to the mainland and forwards to the next big island, the Ile de Orleron. I make myself comfy at a tiny parking area and spend the next days with surfing and idleness on the endless sandy beach of Plage St.-Trojan.

But the trip is supposed to go southwards and therefore I collect my things and drive to the harbor of Royan and take the ferry to the Medoc. This saves me of the long way around Bordeaux and I’m immediately at the Cote d’Argent. And here are waiting over a hundred kilometers of sandy beach und countless famous surf spots.

Cheers, Thomas