As we had not booked up for a proper holiday for 2015, we decided to have a weekend away in Roscoff. So on Thursday 18th April we travelled 12 miles down the road to board the Pont Aven – the Brittany Ferries flagship that left from Plymouth at 8.45 p.m. on the overnight crossing to Roscoff.
On this particular crossing there is provision for early boarding at 7.00 p.m which enables you to have a meal in the lovely elegant A la carte restaurant, Le Flora which is situated at the rear of the ferry, and is a really good way to start your holiday, and we have eaten in here on a few occasions and thoroughly enjoyed it.
As you cannot book a table on this particular crossing, we decided to go down straight away, and managed to get a nice table near a window. There is plenty to choose from on the menu but we always start with the buffet where there is a variety of different salads, meats and fish and you can have as much as you can eat. Followed by a plated main meal which I chose fillet of beef, and it was cooked perfectly as I do like my steak well done, so to make sure it was cooked correctly they sliced it, where Steve likes his medium so it was in one piece. Then it is help yourself to a buffet of desserts and cheeses. Fat and full it was back to our cabin for a glass of wine as we left Plymouth.
The crossing was fairly calm although I didn’t sleep very well and we arrived at the port of Roscoff just after 8.00 a.m. As it was too early to check into our hotel we drove the short distance to Saint Pol De Leon. We had a quick drive around the centre and then drove out of the town and found a super little headland called Sainte-Anne. There was a grassy hillock where there were loads of rabbits eating the grass – sweet, with loads of burrows that they had built into the sides. In front of the hill there was a sandy beach with a rocky backdrop which did look a bit like a tropical island.
There were a few ladies who were actually swimming from a slipway and as it was quite hot and sunny and we had all our bags in the car, we thought that we too might take a dip. We decided to pop back into the town and get a baguette and some pate, and then come back to this little place for a swim and then lunch which included a glass of wine of course (as I had come prepared with a box to last us the weekend).
Mission accomplished and it was back to the headland only to find that the tide had gone out and in this particular area there is a large tidal range, it was now impossible to swim, well unless you wanted to walk a very long way to actually get to the sea. We therefore just sat on the beach in the warm sunshine, and as it got so hot, decided to leave the beach and found a park bench in the grassy area to have our lunch.
After lunch we went back down to the beach to soak up some more of the lovely sunshine. It was now about 1.30p.m. so packed up and drove back to book in to our hotel, the Hotel Le Brittany. It was situated right at the end of Roscoff with only a narrow road between the hotel and the sea. We were shown to our room, which was lovely and furnished with antique furniture which was in keeping with the beautiful hotel building, including a large and very comfy bed. The bathroom was large and very modern with marble tiles. We had a fabulous sea view ( which we had paid extra for, but well worth it). The view from our window was spectacular and as stated above there is a huge tidal range, so I have shown the view when the tide was out and when it was in
We particularly booked this hotel a) that it overlooked the sea and b) it had a Michelin starred restaurant which looked lovely, so were keen to try it. We had a quick look at the menu and although it was in French, and our french is not that good, we decided to book a table for 8.00 p.m.
We then took the 15 minute stroll along the harbour front to Roscoff town centre which is very quaint and also had a look at what other restaurants were on offer where we might consider eating tomorrow night. There was quite a range of restaurants, but the majority specialised in fish, after all Roscoff is a fishing port. The only problem with this is I do not eat fish or shellfish in any shape or form.
Mid afternoon it was now very hot, so we stopped had had a cool drink in a sea front bar, before we walked back to the hotel. We decided to ask if we could take a menu upstairs to try and translate it a bit further with the use of a translation from Google search on the iPad. Well it was a good job we did, as it transpired that every dish on the large menu had some sort of fish or shellfish included, even if the main part was actually meat, there was some sort of fish aswell eg steak with oysters!!! There was actually nothing on the menu that I could have eaten. This was a big problem and very disappointing as the view from restaurant was beautiful with an uninterrupted view of the sea no matter where you were sitting. As you can imagine it was not cheap so we very reluctantly decided to cancel our booking which was a real shame.
We therefore had to walk back into Roscoff and chose to eat in a super French Pizzeria that also did a variety of other Italian dishes in addition to a wide variety of different dishes.. Although there was plenty to choose from we both went for a pizza which were freshly cooked and delicious (unlike ones you get in the UK). A bit different to the Michelin starred hotel restaurant but it had a lovely relaxing atmosphere and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I even had a dessert which is most unlike me as I am a savoury person but enjoyed that aswell. We had a really good evening, and of course a lot cheaper than it would have been in the hotel. Two pitchers of wine later, a dessert and coffe and it was the 15 min walk back along the harbour and sea front to the hotel in the late evening sunshine.
So to bed with the sound of the waves lapping against the wall. We were however woken up at 4.40 am by the loud arrival of a delivery lorry parked right underneath the window. He was there for about 10 minutes unloading into the hotel then drove off, could not believe that there was a delivery to the hotel at this time of the morning and on a Saturday. However, with all the sun, sea air and walking it didn’t take us long to get back to sleep.
Breakfast was served in the lovely restaurant and a very good choice was on offer, and no fish!!!! In addition to the continental breakfast choice I even tried a crepe with a caramel sauce, which I have to say I wish I hadn’t bothered with, but it was a novelty.
After breakfast we walked in to Roscoff to catch a boat to Ile De Batz which is an island a 15 minute boat ride from Roscoff. This was a beautiful place with lovely Bretonne houses overlooking the harbour. It was quite overcast and quite cold and there was a bit of a sea mist so we didn’t see the Island at its best. However we followed the cliff path around the island passing numerous little deserted white sandy beaches (tropical islandy) some fantastic property and scenery. Pleased to say that all of a sudden the sky cleared a bit and it got very warm, but it was short lived as the fog rolled in a again which spoilt the view. We walked for about 3 hours, hoping to walk around the whole perimeter of the Island but you could probably add on at least another 1 hour to achieve this, which our feet were telling us that they had had enough. There is a tropical island garden to the other end of the Island, but we didn’t manage to see this – so perhaps next time.
We therefore cut across the centre and back to the harbour front and stopped at a creperie that we passsed when we got off the boat. We had a beer, cola and a chocolate and banana crepe taking in the scenery and the little boats that were now on their sides as now the tide had gone out a very long way.
After spending a good few hours on this lovely island, as there wasn’t much water, we had to walk quite a way out along a jetty to catch the boat back to Roscoff. The same had to be done on arriving back to Roscoff, as with the incredibly low tide the boat had to moor a long way out, which meant a walk along another jetty which was probably about quarter of a mile to get back to the quayside. By this time it was the coldest part of the day but it soon warmed up once we got back into the town centre, although it was still quite foggy out to sea.
We bought a French muffin and ate them with a cup of coffee when we got back to the hotel, and a sit down and to rest our aching feet after all that walking (throughout the day probably about 6 miles).
As we had enjoyed our meal the night before, what was the point in finding somewhere different to eat, so we deccided to go back to our little restaurant, so once our feet had come back to life, it was another 15 minute stroll back into Roscoff. We had another good meal and chose a pasta dish this time, so we went to France and ate Italian. The walk back was a struggle and we were pleased to be able to throw off our shoes for the last time for the day.
We had a reasonably early night but with the window open and the sound of the waves it was very relaxing and so to sleep hoping for an unbroken nights sleep. It was not to be as we were woken up by a group of noisy French teenagers who decided to walk up and down the road a few times shouting and being annoying, obviously having been out drinking on a Saturday night and making the most of it before going home. They ended up climbing up the wall of a little chapel on top of a hill just up the road and decided to ring the bell by using the rope that was hanging down the wall and the whole neighbourhood must have heard it. After a while it all went quiet, so we managed to go back to sleep.
As we had a disturbed night we did have a little lay in before going down to breakfast, but we were in no hurry as it was packing up and returning home day on the 3.00 p.m. ferry. After breakfast we packed the case and checked out. We stopped at the Red Bus wine and beer supermarket to stock up on our wine – naturally, as this was another reason to pop over to France.
We still had a few hours to wait before going to the ferry port, and found an lovely car park overlooking the sea where we could see the ferry waiting. We sat in the sun for a while on some rocks overlooking the sea before eventually making our way to the port.
We boarded the Armorique ferry just after 2.00 p.m. It was a lovely afternoon and sat out on the deck until it was time to get something to eat. Unfortunately the Armorique is not quite the same as the Pont Aven as there is no lovely restaurant, just a self service, so the end of the holiday didn’t match up to the beginning.
After the 6 hour crossing we got home at 9.45 pm unpacked had a glass of wine watching the tele before going to bed, but found it quite difficult to go sleep as there was no sound of the waves to lull us to sleep.
We enjoyed this little break so much that we did a similar trip but this time to St Malo
Weekend in Roscoff France June 2015