With fabulous beaches and fascinating attractions, southern Brittany makes an ideal destination for a family holiday. Carolyn Boyd sought out three of the main attractions.
Branféré animal park: Set in the pretty rolling hills of central Morbihan, this large animal park in the grounds of a 19th-century château is a must¬see destination for anyone with children. A guided path shows you around the whole park, with excellent viewing points from which to admire its 120 species. Children can get hands-on experiences with a small petting zoo that includes pygmy goats and donkeys, while the ‘African plain’ gives visitors the chance to see such animals as giraffes, kudus and zebras roaming in a large open space. (Tel: (Fr) 2 97 42 94 66,
www.branfere.com) Carnac: The famous standing stones at Carnac are one of the biggest collections of Neolithic granite menhirs in the world. There are three sites to explore: Ménec, Kermario and Kerlescan, with around 3,000 megaliths between them. Ménec is home to the Maison des Mégalithes visitors’ centre, which explains more about the site’s fascinating prehistory and the mystery surrounding the stones’ particular alignment. Meanwhile, Carnac¬Plage offers a fantastic beach of fine sand with gently rolling waves, which makes a lovely picnic spot. To book a place on a guided tour of the Carnac stones (offered in English in July and August), call (Fr) 2 97 52 29 81, or for more information visit www.ot-carnac.fr.
Cycling the Canal de Nantes à Brest: This 19th-century waterway runs for a total of 385 kilometres, but for an easy afternoon jaunt, why not try hiring bicycles from Malestroit and cycling the pretty stretch as far as Le Roc¬Saint¬André? With plane and beech trees lining the route, this part of the canal makes for a relaxing ride as canal boats cruise alongside. At the end of the afternoon, enjoy an ice cream or coffee in the surrounds of Malestroit’s colourful colombage houses. Bikes can be hired from MBK – Location de vélos, 45 Faubourg Sainte¬Anne, 56140 Malestroit (Tel: (Fr) 2 97 75 13 36) just a few minutes’ ride from the canal.
Carolyn and family rented a gîte through www.cheznous.com. For more information on Brittany, log on to www.brittanytourism.com