If your perfect holiday involves a good dose of adrenalin, head to Brittany for a holiday packed with activities, says Alison Weeks
We might dream of holidays spent lounging by the pool, but in reality all that relaxation can get a bit monotonous. Sometimes a more active holiday can actually be more restorative and more memorable, especially when it involves new adventures that the whole family can enjoy.
With some 2,700 kilometres of coastline and numerous forests, Brittany is the perfect place for an active getaway. From mountain biking to sailing, there is an endless list of activities to try and you will find the experts to guide you in any outdoor pursuit, whether you are a beginner or an experienced thrill-seeker.
The ideal way to discover the beautiful Breton countryside, mountain biking is extremely popular in this region. It’s easy to see why, with the wealth of green belts and cycle paths available. Modelled after ski resorts, Brittany’s mountain biking centres provide cyclists with an organised network of trails ranked according to difficulty.
Open all year, the Arguenon Hunaudaye resort in Jugon-les-Lacs offers 200 kilometres of signposted trails though lush forests and around the area’s many waterways. Although mountain biking doesn’t require any particular skills, it can prove a little more challenging than an ordinary cycle ride, especially to those of us accustomed to cycling on flat roads. At the centre you’ll find everything you need to get started, from bike rental (including helmets) and experienced guides to accompany you on your ride.
Office de Tourisme de Jugon-les-Lacs
1 Place du Martray, 22270 Jugon-les-Lacs
Tel: (Fr) 2 96 31 70 75, www.jugon-les-lacs.com
Stand up Paddle
Originally from Hawaii, stand up paddle boarding, or SUP’ing, has become increasingly popular in Brittany thanks to the enthusiasm of local surfers. Unlike surfing, stand up paddling is very easy to learn. There are a few key techniques, such as how to hold the paddle and where to position your feet, but the rest comes naturally and the extra-wide surfboard proves very stable. After a few attempts, even beginners find themselves gliding through the water with ease. Like surfing, the objective here is ultimately to catch a wave, but paddling through the water upright seems to be half the fun – not to mention a great workout, because maintaining your balance on the board exercises the major core muscles.
P�le Nautique des Deux Mers
1 Route de Saint-Malo, 56510 Saint-Pierre-Quiberon
Tel: (Fr) 2 30 91 50 01, www.polenautique-quiberon.com
Situated north of Carnac, For�t Adr�naline is an outdoor adventure park offering visitors the chance to get in touch with their inner Tarzan. The park features 12 different trails that range in difficulty, with something for everyone from toddlers to adults. Each course is made up of a system of ziplines, rope bridges, trapezes and swings, enabling participants to climb, cross and swing through the forest. Taking that first step off the platform can be a bit daunting, but it’s a liberating experience to soar through the treetops. With your harness securely hooked to safety cables, you can put your fears aside and enjoy a birds’-eye view of the forest. Throughout the park, experienced guides are on hand to, quite literally, show you the ropes.
For�t Adr�naline Route du Hahon, Fontainebleau le Hahon, 56340 Carnac
Tel: (Fr) 2 90 84 00 20, www.foretadrenaline.com
Learn to Sail
The Cit� de la Voile �ric Tabarly, named after the great French navigator and sailing pioneer, is a unique tourist destination for sailing enthusiasts. Here you can experience the world of sailing with interactive displays that allow you to design your own boat and simulate life on board an oceangoing vessel. After enjoying all the centre has to offer, set sail on a Kaidoz 31 with a capable skipper for a hands-on sailing lesson, where you will learn to hoist the sails and steer the boat yourself. After you have had a go at the helm, sit back and enjoy the ride, but be forewarned that this isn’t a pleasure cruise – the boats are made to get the most out of the wind, not for smooth sailing!
La Cit� de la Voile �ric Tabarly
Base de sous-marins de Keroman, 56323 Lorient
Tel: (Fr) 2 97 65 56 56, www.citevoile-tabarly.com
Flybe (www.flybe.com) operate daily flights to Rennes from Southampton airport.
By car, travel to Roscoff or Saint Malo with Brittany Ferries.
Where to stay
H�tel/restaurant le Vivier
9, route de Beg-Er-Vir, Lomener
Tel : 00 33 (0)2 97 82 99 60
2 rue Joseph Loth
Chauss�e du Sillon
Tel : 00 33 (0)2 99 56 84 84
R�sidence H�teli�re Duguesclin
66 rue de Brest
Tel: 00 33 (0)2 96 85 54 80
Where to eat
Cr�perie du Vieux Port
42-44 rue Surcouf
Tel: (Fr)2 97 50 01 56
9 rue de la Fosse
Tel : 00 33 (0)2 99 20 02 22
Le Yacht Club
Tel: 00 33 (0)2 99 88 53 97
T�l. (Fr)2 99 36 15 15
Comit� D�partemental de Tourisme de Haute-Bretagne/Ille et Vilaine
Tel: (Fr)2 99 78 47 40
Comit� D�partemental de Tourisme du Morbihan
Tel : (Fr)2 97 54 62 97
Comit� D�partemental de Tourisme des C�tes d’Armor
Tel : (Fr)2 96 62 72 01