Some ideas on things to do close to our holiday cottages near Huelgoat
So you desperately need some rest and relaxation on holiday and don't want to spend hours driving around sightseeing. Luckily you don't need to travel far for entertainment when you choose to stay at our gites in Finistere.
Here are a few ideas on things to do that are are within a half an hour drive from our cottages. Some are even on our doorstep - you can't ask for more than that!
Relax in the garden or go for a stroll
A large lawned garden surrounds our gites and there is also a gravelled terrace. You can simply sit and chill out with the beverage of your choice (ours is red wine!) and enjoy the sound of birdsong.
The cottages are south facing and get the sun all day. The terrace is a real sun-trap but don't worry, we have parasols and there are some large trees to provide shade if you get too hot!
We're lucky to have a circular walk right on our doorstep. The Circuit des Passerelles is a 7.5 km trail which crosses the pretty Ellez river, taking you through gently rolling countryside via chemin rurals and quiet country lanes.
If you fancy a shorter stroll, it only takes a few minutes to walk down to the river. On a summers day it is great to cool down in the shallow water or just take in the view from bridge keeping an eye out for kingfishers or the odd coypu.
Cross over the river, continue up the hill and turn right and you will quickly come to the pretty Chapelle Saint Salomon. You will more than likely have it all to yourself. It is a great place for quiet contemplation. Don't miss the font in the grounds from which crystal clear spring water flows.
We have complimentary mountain bikes available for our guests to use. One of our more energetic guests road the Circuit des Passerelles trail. If you are thinking of going a little further afield via a bike be warned, some of our local hills are steeper than the seem from a car! Another guest road to Plouye, only 2 km away but at the top of one of our bigger hills. They earned their drink at our local bar that day!
Hang around Huelgoat
I've mentioned Huelgoat numerous times in my posts, particularly the forest, but that is why we like it so much. We are fortunate to have it as our local tourist town. Just popping over there for some groceries is a real pleasure and it only takes 15 minutes by car.
The main square is surrounded by a good choice of cafes, creperies, bars and restaurants. There is a friendly tourist information office where English is spoken. A small market is held here Thursday mornings.
Park in the square and take a stroll to the lake, maybe enjoy an ice-cream whilst watching the swans or walk straight into the forest and explore local boulder strewn trails.
There is a cinema, Artus Ciné,. If a film is marked VO it means that it is in the original language with French sub-titles which is handy to know
Don't miss the beautiful gardens at Les arbes du monde au Huelgoat at the top of the town. For local produce visit the Miellerie de Huelgoat just next to the Chaos (of rocks) by the bridge for anything to do with honey and also Les 4 Saisons for jam from the Monts d'Arrée, plus lots other goodies from Brittany.
Track down some Roman history in Carhaix
Carhaix-Plouguer, known as Vorgium in Roman times, is a 15 minute drive from the gites. It is now an unprepossessing town, great for shopping, especially the Saturday market, but not much of apparent historical appeal other than the elaborately decorated building which houses the tourist information office.
Oh, and there is a great hand-made chocolate shop just the down the road from the Office de Tourisme!.
Hidden in one of the suburban back streets you will discover part of the old Roman aqueduct which is 27 km long. You can pick up a leaflet which traces the route of the canal from the tourist office or download it from here: Les trois circuits de l'aqueduc romain de Vorgium (Three circuits of the Roman aqueduct of Vorgium).
The trail heads east from the central market square in Carhaix towards Mael-Carhaix. It is signposted and you will find numbered panels at each stop which explain the history in French and usefully English.
It can be a bit of a challenge to follow it but surely getting lost is half of the fun isn't it? One part of the canal at Le Moustoir still carries water - they built things to last in those days!
Explore the Parc D'Armorique and the Monts d'Arree
If you want to travel slightly further afield and enjoy some spectacular views with relatively little effort, head to the chapel at the summit of Le Mont-Saint-Michel de Brasparts. It is one of the highest points in Brittany.
The 30 minute drive crosses the dramatic heather clad moors of the Monts d'Arree at the heart of the Parc d'Amorique. A car park lies three quarters of the way up the "mountain". There is a steep challenging footpath which takes you directly to the chapel from this point, or a little further back from the car park, an easier path that slowly inclines to the same point. You can see for miles on a clear day, over towards Morlaix on the north coast and, in the other direction the Reservoir St Michel which supplies water to the surrounding area.
Make sure you stop at the Ferme des Artisans at the foot of the Mont St-Michel on the D785, the road to Brasparts, to pick up some local art or produce. You can even park there and walk up the hill to the chapel if you are feeling energetic or down to the bog or Yeun Elez.
There are plenty of parking areas in the Parc d'Armorique from where you can enjoy extensive panoramic vistas. Often you will find a footpath leading to granite outcrops which allow you to get an even better view. These rocky tors are great for climbing on too, no matter your age!
There are lots of marked trails if you fancy going for a hike. The landscape is so open on the moors it is difficult to get lost, unless of course it is foggy.
Marvel at Megaliths
If you do decide to spend a day in the central Mont's d'Arree exploring the moors and tors, there are two amazing alley graves well worth visiting in the area.
Allée couverte de Ti ar Boudiged or the 'House of the Fairies' is actually in the small town of Brennilis. It is one of the few remaining alley graves that is still covered by earth, as they all originally were. As you can see from the photo you can get inside and appreciate the amazing architecture up close, a real privilege and treat.
In Brennnilis you will also find the Maison de la Reserve Naturelle et des Castors. This houses an exhibition on the Venec peat bog, the only place in Brittany where wild beavers can be found.
On the outskirts of Commana, on the other side of the moor, there is one of the best examples of an intact alley grave still in existence. Mougau Bihan is a splendid allee couverte which dates to around 3000 BC. It is over 14 meters in length with five large capstones. It is great fun for young and old alike to scramble inside and discover a number of ancient engravings. There is a picnic area and it is signed posted from the main road
It is also worth popping into Commana itself to have a wander around the impressive Parish Close. There is a cafe and patisserie if you fancy a spot of lunch.
I hope this has given you some ideas on ways to spend a relaxing holiday at Ty Hir. The simplest pleasure for us though is pottering around doing some gardening in the sunshine but we don't expect our guests to do that - a bit of watering of the container plants in summer is not unappreciated though!
This blog is about our holiday cottage near Huelgoat in Brittany and places we have visited in Finistere, with a little bit of everyday life thrown in. We hope that you will find it useful and interesting. Comments always welcome!
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