TGV to Bretagne
Bretagne is connected to Paris through TGVs (high-speed trains).
The travel time from Paris Montparnasse to Rennes is 2 hours, to Brest 4 hours. TGVs also connect Paris to Quimper (Southern Bretagne). The high-speed line will be extended from Le Mans to Rennes. Works should start in 2009 and, once in service, the new line will connect Paris to Brest in just 3 hours.
TER regional trains are very good to move within the region.Related to:
I find it more convinient to travel to this region using a private car. The first time I was in Brest, it was by air, and I didnt see much of Bretagne. Driving from Paris, is more fun, as you get to see a lot of places on the way. You also have the choice of stoping over wherever you so wish.Related to:
- Road Trip
PENN AR BED
Compagne Maritime -PENN AR BED provides a tour of three of the Islands..Ouessant, Sein, and Molène. On this occassion, I made my stop at Ile d'Ouessant. It is quite interesting to have a sea cruise in one of this boats. I did enjoyed my cruise to Ouessant.Related to:
Transport on Ile d'Ouessant
On the Island, you need to pay 2euros to entre this bus, wich takes you to and from the Boat once you are on the Island. However, your money finishes at the tourism office where you either walk or rent a bicycle to contnue the adventure on the Island.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Rent or Bring a Car
A trip through Brittany to see its many and variedsites and vistas can only be done by driving a car. The traffic in the largest cities is easily managed and the backroads are well paved. French drivers are careful and polite. Of recent years more superhighways have reduced much interpoint time and the advent of GPS is a godsend, but careful study of town maps still relieves driving tension. Be sure to have lots of one euro coins for parking and a credit card for gasoline. Spending a little more on a roomier car (and trunk) is comfortable and safer, especially a medium station wagon for 4 people as a travel group. If you come to France from far off as we do, you usually start and end in Paris. We take a car at the airport (Orly is preferred) and establish our jet-lag in a nearby city in the Ile or further (Chartres?), keep at it as long as possible sightseeing, sleep, arise for late dinner and sleep the night. Then on we go. We either return at the end to the airport (last night at a nearby site) or end in Paris a few days before departing. Here it is essential to rent a car with a drop-off at the garage under the Esplanade before the Hotel des Invalides. One should stay at a hotel within walking distance of this spot, leaving your luggage before the car return. (We prefer the Hotel La Bourdonnaise on the av. of that name). (See Tip). The traffic from the peripherique to those points is easy to manage.Related to:
- Family Travel
Buses are better...
Buses are better for journeys through the region. The only railway connecting the North to the South goes from Brest to Quimper.
On the contrary, buses can take you to every village, even the smallest one.
While in Brittany, the company I worked for hired various vehicles, minibuses and cars, from Opelrent. I drove one of the cars for a while, an Opel Meriva (which would be a Vauxhall Meriva in the UK), and found it to be a good little run around (apart from a few issues with the bars at the sides of the windscreen, which make visibility on bends a bit tricky).
They were hired from opelrent.fr - unfortunately I have no idea of the prices.Related to:
- Road Trip
It´s important to have or rent a car in Brittany. We did rent one there, not even at home. It was low prized, best without kilometer limit. But you have to pay at start and to give a bond (same like prize).
Do pictures of the car (with date) at start ! So you will not have a bad surprise at the end.Related to:
- Road Trip
Excellent road network
Brittany has an excellent road network built around a few dual carriageway roads, where the speed limit is 110 km/h. This is what the French call "voie express". It is faster than a main road but is not quite a motorway. The good news is that Brittany is the only region in France where there is not a single toll paying motorway, while having roads that are in fact motorways in every respect but the name.
Local folklore has it that the reason for not having a single paying road in Brittany is that, when Anne de Bretagne married the French king and hence brought Brittany to the crown of France, one of the articles in the marriage contract stipulated that a tax would never be levied on the Breton people for road usage. Whether this is true or not, the way toll paying motorways coming form Paris give way to non-paying dual-carriageways a few hundred metres before the "welcome to Brittany" sign makes one wonder.Related to:
- Road Trip
There are many ways to arrive in France from the UK. It seems that most travellers prefer to take their own cars and have the convenience of getting from A to B ( which can be a long way ) in their own vehicles which makes a lot a lot of sense.
If on arriving you have a long drive in front of you then you need to arrive refreshed. Choosing the right ferry company and the departure and arrival time are crucial to a safe journey. Most ferry companies realise this and schedule arrivals in France for the early morning. However, for a real rest you need to book a cabin so that you can lie down in a bed for a few hours, cabins need to be booked early before the trip as they are soon taken.
The next best option is to book a sleeper or reclining seat, preferably a sleeper. Reclining seats are not necessarily the most comfortable but they are at least in an area seperate from the main areas which are a lot quieter.
It would be as well to see if you can travel outside of the peak weekend days, particularly Fridays and Saturdays. This will not only give you the chance to have a more relaxing crossing but it will also save you a lot of money. We were very happy with our choice of LD linesRelated to:
- School Holidays
- Family Travel
With train to Brittany
It is true! We took the train to South Finistére. It wa such an interesting tour. Started in Nuremberg to Paris, Paris to Quimper. The last with cab. 16 hours, of course, and with an short stay in Paris.Related to:
How to reach Benodet
Link below is Camping L'Atlantique in Beg Meil. Under "Getting there" it indicates that there are buses from Quimper to Benodet and to Beg Meil.
Next link is Camping La Pointe St-Gilles in Benodet. The French version, under "Infos utiles" (useful information), says there is a shuttle bus fm Quimper to Benodet. The English version only mentions "bus", but that's already good to know.
It is a bit complicated going from Lorient to Benodet, especially with Lorient being in one department (Morbihan), and Quimper & Benodet being in another (Finistère.) Local transportation is not necessarily coordinated between the two departments, for one thing.
The Lorient Airport at Ploemeur is called Lann-Bihoué. It is 9k WEST of Lorient and many taxi companies serve it. It won't cost much to go 9k and there is no alternative apparently. I don't know of any bus between that airport and Lorient centre.
So Taxi to the Gare SNCF (train station), rue Edouard Beauvais in Lorient.
Train from Lorient to Quimper, about 10 Euros. Duration about 45 minutes. Many trains daily.
In Quimper, the bus station is in front of train station. Here's a link indicating BUS SCHEDULE Benodet to Quimper. On the left, week days. On the right, Sundays and holidays.
At time of writing, 10 April 2010, I think there is or was a train strike and it may be impossible to get results online for train tickets from Lorient to Quimper right now.
You can consult other services if you need to know train schedules immediately. I got results in RailEurope by looking up Lorient to Quimper.
I went to Benodet twice for holidays -- we drove all over the place all the time, I needed my car for many out of the way places.
The way Benodet is located at the mouth of the River Odet already sort of isolates it. One can't just follow a coastal road over there. You must leave the main road each time you wish to go to a town by the ocean, then drive back to that road and keep going until you see directions for another town by the ocean. My father had wanted to accompany me on that trip and wanted us to walk!!! He couldn't make it but he wasn't sorry when I told him about all this back and forth. :)
If you plan to stay in one place a lot, and if you are with kids, it's not expensive to take taxi, train then bus. And not difficult either, once you know how to go about it.
What's the obsession with roundabouts?
(work in progress)
Oh my word, what is it with Bretons and roundabouts?
As I usually travel by train in France, I can't comment on whether this obsession is regional or national. But there does seem to be a fixation with centrifugal tendencies that is somewhat unnerving for the foreign tourist!
Five in a row in St Malo (and I'm a poet and I don't know it)???!!! Or do these people just want to dance?
Postscript: Our local yokel pfsmalo has provided some interesting context on this conundrum. Apparently building (and beautifying) roundabouts used to be a time honoured way of using up unspent municipal funds towards the end of the financial year, which presumably lead to the proliferation of roundabouts across the Bretagne landscape. But apparently the financial austerity measures of the last few years have made this particular ruse a thing of the past.
The Great Diesel Hunt!
(work in progress)
Driving a car in France is easy - finding out where to refuel it can be a bit trickier if you don't know where to look!
We hired a diesel vehicle from Europcar, and things were fine until the fuel gauge started to plummet alarmingly in a deeply rural area on a Sunday afternoon. We are used to driving in countries where there are plenty of service (petrol) stations along highways and main roads, but in France these appear to be much fewer in number and more widely spaced.
As we discovered, the most reliable place to refuel is at large supermarkets, where they usually have fuel pumps located in a corner of the car park. These are often unmanned, and, if so, you'll need to make sure that you have a credit card to pay.
Also make sure that you look for the correct terminology: 'gazoil' also means 'diesel'. Which brings me neatly to my last point: to avoid disaster. make sure that before you refuel, you've confirmed whether yours is a diesel or petrol vehicle: we've been there, done that and got the T shirt on a previous trip to Slovenia and I don't recommend it as a recreational activity!
Excellent main roads, and, best of all, no tolls!
(work in progress)
One of the downsides of driving in France are the ubiquitous toll roads and hefty toll tariffs - but in this, as in so much else, separatist Bretagne is the exception!
The happy news is that there are no toll roads in Bretagne. VT's man on the ground pfsmalo informs me that this fortunate situation dates back to the formidable Queen Anne of Bretagne, who decreed at the beginning of 16th century people should never have to pay to travel on roads in this region. As he's the local yokel, I have no reason to question him, and am just grateful that this redoubtable lady's dictate continues to be respected four centuries after the event!
One word of warning: the main roads are excellent, well maintained and allow you to make good time - I would say that you could safely plan on covering up to 100km/h. However, once you veer off the main roads, things slow down considerably, and you need to take this into account, particularly if you're intending to cover long distances. In particular, the winding country roads that crosscut the Bretagne interior can be slow going (if scenic), and I wouldn't plan on averaging more than 60km/h in these regions: in many cases, counterinuitely it would make sense to take a significant detour in terms of mileage if this allows you to access a main arterial route.
This is a very nice hotel we didn't stay as live only 1h30 from here by car, but for those visiting...more
This is a modern but beautifully decorated hotel as you can see in the photo. The room was larger...more
lovely place very near the train station of Vannes, central to all, and good bus transport into...more
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