April 28, 2022 Douarnenez FR

Today was a little more of a chore than other days this trip. The good news is that it ended well and our final stop of the day made up for the trouble. The day began with a longish drive to get around Brest which is a large industrial port. There is probably a lot to do in Brest but we are avoiding big cities at this point on the trip.

A lot of the buildings in Brittany are covered in wisteria, it symbolizes long life. Wisteria plants live over 100 years.

We have now transitioned from the north coast to the south coast of Brittany. Brittany is a large peninsula sticking out from the mainland of France and at some point is the point furthest west on the French mainland. As we moved south the land became a little different and the weather warmed up a bit. Today started out as the coldest morning so far on the trip and by the end of the day it was the warmest we have been on the trip.

The church steeples in Brittany are really interesting. This one is from Sizun.

The first stop of the day was a small village called Sizun. It had an interesting church, but otherwise a little less than we expected. After taking a quick walk around we decided to head on.

These arches are connected to the church in Sizun. Arches coming off churches at an angle seem to be a common feature in Brittany.

We were thinking about staying in a town called Le Faou, it had a nice waterfront, but not much else caught our eye. So we decided to carry on.

Ton liked this boat propped up on the mud flats in La Faou.

Ton was really looking forward to the next town on our agenda as it was used to film the movie Tess in 1979. Locronan is one of the beautiful villages of France and it is a pretty town, but felt like one of the most touristy places we have stopped at. We gave it a good look, but after about 40 minutes we both agreed it was time to move on. Up to this point the weather had been a little dreary, but just as we were leaving the sun came out and it warmed up.

The Celtic words on top are a kind of dessert. It tastes good, but it is very difficult to order.
The village square in Locronan.

Our last stop today was Douarnenez. You may have noticed that the city names today do not seem so French. On this end of the peninsula the place names reflect the Celtic past much more. The signs as you go further west on the peninsula shift from French only to French and Brezh (Bretagne)in the Celtic language.

A mixture of French and Bretagne on the front of this creperie.

We were looking forward to Douarnenez as it is a center for the sardine trade which is famous, and a beautiful port town. The problem is that Greta Garmin decided to go on strike as we entered town. I had punched in a camp ground in town that was in her data base. After directing us down a series of increasing narrow roads she announced we had arrived. The problem was we were sitting in front of a building that most definitely was not a campground, it turned out to be a restaurant. Using the Camper Contact app I punched in the GPS coordinates for the campground and Greta took us to the campground, but we did not like the like the location. I told Ton that there was another campground closer into town, but there was a warning in Camper Contact that the street approaching it was a bit narrow (remember this warning was coming from Europeans who have a much different definition of narrow roads than Americans do). Again this campground was in Greta’s data base, and off we went. This time Greta couldn’t decide on a good route in and had us going in circles between two roundabouts. Fortunately Ton saw a sign for the campground and we followed the signs down a very narrow urban street that I assumed was one way but is actually two way, fortunately we didn’t run into anyone before we arrived at the campground.

The view of Douarnenez from near our campground.

There was one more hurdle before we were home free. The Grand Mere of the family was manning the front desk and she doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak French. At first I thought she was telling me that they didn’t have any space. But than she led me outside and was pointing and trying to explain something to me, but I was not getting it. Finally one of the guests came to our aid and it turns out she was trying to tell me to go pick a spot and come back and tell her which one we were in.

The entrance to the port of Douarnenez.

We walked into town and it was a really beautiful port formed where the Pouldavid River enters the Atlantic. The river is down in a bit of gorge so most of the city is a hundred feet or so above the port which makes the port pretty dramatic. It is full of pleasure vessels now, though it once was the center of the Sardine industry in France.

Some of the hundreds of pleasure boats in the harbor.

After spending a couple of hours poking around we headed back to the campground because Ton had found a tempting washer and dryer and decided to get our laundry done. When I went to get the tokens needed for the washer and dryer Grand Mere was still manning the desk, but I managed to explain what I wanted and she managed to understand my mangled pronunciation of French, in the end we were both a little proud of ourselves for pulling off the transaction unaided.

Another view of the port with the old Sardine wharves in the background.

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