Our first taste of Britany was from an Aire de Service in Batz Sur Mer, overlooking a jagged line of pale rocks bitting into the sea. A local had squeezed himself above the waves to sound out his bagpipe in the golden evening light. A group of friends was playing petanque right there on there on the path, in front of picniquers drinking their third aperitif. It was so picture perfect that I kept waiting for a voice to shout "cut" and for a camera crew to come out of the bushes.
We have been surfing along the west coast of France on a massive heat wave, from aires de service to five stars camping, fueled by bread, croissants and cheese all the way to here, an Ireland made in France. On the way, we stopped for two nights in the Loire Atlantique, the unofficial start of Britany. The sun was shining on the spetacular port of St Nazaire, where we saw a cruising boat being built, and on the salt "fields" of Guerande, where Maxim and Callum saw how salt is being slowly collected from drying sea water.
The people here celebrate their celtic heritage, they are Breton first and then French. This is the land of Asterix and Obelix, with long forests, wild beaches and succulent food. Think crepes with salted caramel, brut cider, crumbly biscuits and cakes, fresh sea food and fish soupes and of course cheese...Heaven...
There is something here about the air and the light that makes you want to breath in deeply, to open wide your eyes and savour the moment. It makes you yearn for long walks in green wispering forests, to villages where time stopped a long while ago.
According to Maxim and Callum, Eden made in France might be found here, in the Domaine of Bel Air (beautiful air, how right...); There is an inviting heated pool, queue free facilities and room for sword fighting. But lately, they have ignored all that. Down the hill, as part of the camp site, there is a massive entertainment park, an elegant garden with a kids club, pedal powered boats to explore a little lake, pedal go karts, bobsleights, bouncy castles, all types of swings and even hammocks under the trees for pedal tired parents. We leave them to their gang of friends in the morning, between our second and third coffee, and get them back just in time for lunch. The village, with its creperies and bakeries is a twenty minutes walk away along little walkway between fields and forest.
We will stay here until the rain will chase us away. This sunday, we will drive further east to meet with friends met in Tahiti who have just return from their trip around the world. Then, we will make our way to Annecy taking our time to cross the centre of France.