Saturday, 25 June 2011

Laid Back at Le Camping Cabellou Plage

We left Quimper with every intention of staying in an Aire in Porzou that night.  We had heard and read so much from other motorhomers about this cost effective way of travelling around so of course we wanted to try.  In France les camping cars are welcome in villages and towns where it is recognised that motorhomers 
bring in custom pour les boulangeries, les epiciers et les bar-tabacs.  Special parking areas are set aside, sometimes with electricity and fresh water available, also chemical toilet emptying points.  I've also heard, (although I've yet to find out for myself) that some have toilets and showers.   The fees for staying overnight are reasonable and sometimes free, but as you would expect the camper vans are usually close together so OK for a one night stopover, although we know some people do stay for a lot longer. 

However our Aire adventure was not to be.  When we eventually found the Aire we had planned to stay at in Porzou, it was full and not nearly as big as it appeared in the photo in the Vicarious Books 'bible' ''All the Aires,  France''. 

Well we were at a loss as to what to do as we didn't have a Plan B.  Luckily we saw a car park ahead of us.  It was next to water, there were boats, it was picturesque - the perfect place to re-group and stop panicking.

So we parked, got out the folding chairs and settled down for a de-stressing Earl Grey tea and Egg and Tomato sandwiches. 

Porzou with Le Camping Cabellou Plage
in the Far Distance
It was so pleasant we talked of an overnight stay there.  As we tucked in, an English couple (Pauline and David) out for a walk stopped and asked where we were staying that night.  When we said ''here'' they looked at us doubtfully and said they'd found a great campsite with wonderful clean toilets at the other side of the bay.  They pointed it out in the distance, told us the name and after a little more chat went on their way. 

By the time we'd finished lunch we were both coming round to the opinion that the car park might not be an attractive option after dark.  So off we went to track down Le Camping Cabellou Plage.  It didn't take long to get there.  We drove in to find Reception closed.  There was a telephone number which I rang, but of course the answerphone message was in French.  Once again my comprehension skills were totally inadequate. 

Luckily we didn't have to wait long before a very pleasant lady (Valerie - I found out later) arrived carrying an armful of clean blankets (Le Camping Cabellou Beach also has Holiday Chalets on site).  Although we couldn't speak each other's language too well - she quickly grasped that we wanted un emplacement, mais non, nous n'avions pas resérvé.  It didn't seem to be a problem and she beckoned us to follow in Wanda.  Grasshopper drove, and I walked with Valerie down through the site.  I liked what I saw.  Very spacious pitches, separated by well trimmed hedges, mature shrubs and trees.  As it was early in the season there was lots of choice and Valerie seemed to understand when I said ''je voudrais un emplacement regarder la mer'' (yes I know - but I'm still learning).

She spoke with a gentleman who was hedge trimming.  He turned out to be Jean Christophe, one of the owners.  In perfect English he asked us how long we would be staying.  We thought initially three nights -maybe more.  He suggested we choose the pitch we wanted and pointed out a few that would be more sheltered from the wind.  Brittany is known for le vent, which (like Lanzarote - see April/May blogs) seems to blow most of the time.    In the end we chose a less sheltered pitch for the sake of a view of the bay and the boats. 

Un emplacement avec une vue de la mer.

The site exceeded our expectations.  We are so grateful to Pauline and David for taking the time to stop and chat and for recommending Le Cabellou Plage to us. Each pitch has its own fresh water, 10amp electricity and chemical toilet emptying point.  The pool and bar area is lovely.  Families will enjoy the children's play area.
Brave Souls in the Pool
Unfortunately it was too chilly for us to venture in to the pool.  Some people were brave enough though.  We were too early in the season to be able to benefit from the bar which opened the week after we moved on.  Fortunately, walking to the left out of the gate alongside the sea, we found a friendly Bar Tabac - Le Dundee, with tables outside where we enjoyed coffee and des Fars Bretagne.

Curious Fish (on the left) at Le Dundee

With only the road between Le Dundee and the sea, there is plenty of opportunity to drink in the view along with your café crème. 

La Plage Belle Etoile with Porzou in the Background
It seems that the people of Brittany get out and enjoy their coastline.  The beach near Le Camping Cabellou Plage is called La Plage Belle Etoile.  It was light at nights so we never saw if there was a beautiful star suspended in the heavens over the sand, but always there was plenty of boating, windsurfing practice and walking.

Messing About on the Water

Gaëlle, co-owner of Le Cabellou Plage as well as being Jean Christophe's wife, was also wonderfully patient and allowed me to practice my French with her even though she spoke perfect English and my linguistic attempts must have seemed excrutiatingly slow.  Gaëlle is happy to share information about the lovely places to visit in the area (see my next blog), and practical things like the two gorgeous patisseries to be found in the local village about 1km away, as well as the supermarkets for bigger shopping expeditions.  WiFi (weefee) is free and you can connect in the area near the bar.  It wasn't always easy to connect and it was very cold sitting outside the bar in the evenings.  If only it had been open! 
However a quick mention of WiFi connection difficulties to Gaëlle and it was sorted out the next night.
This is the perfect time to mention Nora and Neil from Ireland.  One of the problems I had with the lap top, was the difficulty I've had in seeing the screen outside (hence needing to try to connect in the evening).  Despite evening 'surfing' I found I had to cover both the screen and me with a huge blue towel in order to be able to see to email and blog.  Slightly eccentric I know.  Nora - who is a computer whizkid solved the problem for me in one easy step.  You probably all know this, but in case you don't, all you do is simultaneously press the fn key and the right arrow key - and bingo you can lighten your screen as much as you want.  To darken again press the fn key and the left arrow.  Simple when you know how!

We hope you are still enjoying your trip Nora and Neil.  You too Pauline and David.
Immaculate Toilet and Shower Block
People who regularly read my blog perhaps know by now that in common with other motorhomers and caravaners, a site gets the thumbs up (or down) depending on the state of its loos and showers. 

Well Le Cabellou Plage does get the upturned digit - because washing and sanitory facilities are new, well built and maintained, scrupulously clean, the loos have big flushes and there is an abundance of toilet paper. 

French Style Toilets (and very clean)

The showers although hot, are those interrupted water flow types, which is a bit irritating, and you have to remember to take your own soap and towel when you go to the loo because soap isn't provided and there are no hand dryers.  Also you have to sit on cold porcelain shaped like a loo seat, which is odd to British bottoms, however because everything is kept so immaculately clean - we got used to it. 

We found it quite difficult to leave Le Camping Cabellou Plage.  Gaëlle was happy for us to stay for an indeterminate length of time.  The site is reasonably priced, plus early in the season there are discounts to be had. So our three days stretched to six, but in the end Carnac beckoned with its mysterious menhirs, alignements and dolmans.  But first we enjoyed the delights of the walled city of Concarneau.  Please check out my next blog.
If you read this Gaëlle and Jean Christophe, and if you want customer feedback, we really enjoyed staying at Le Camping Cabellou Plage, it is a credit to you both and your hard work.  The site is attractive and in a beautiful and interesting area.  We definitely want to visit again and wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to everyone.  The only improvements I could suggest would be soap dispensers and a hand dryer in the loo. 

To see more details about Le Camping Cabellou Plage go to:

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