France // Brittany //

The Crozon peninsula


A craggy outcrop of land shaped like a long-robed giant, arms outstretched, the Crozon peninsula is the central feature of Finistère’s jagged coastline. Much the easiest way for cyclists and travellers relying on public transport to reach the peninsula from Brest is via the ferries to Le Fret.

The main town on the peninsula, Crozon, has a nice little stone-built core that serves as the commercial hub for the surrounding communities, and plays host to a large-scale market on alternate Wednesdays. As it’s also, unfortunately, a traffic hub, its one-way traffic system distributing tourists among the various resorts, and in any case it’s set back from the sea, it’s more of a place to pass through than to linger.

Morgat, 1km down the hill from Crozon, makes a more enticing base. It has a long crescent beach that ends in a pine slope, and a sheltered harbour full of pleasure boats on the short haul from England and Ireland. The main attractions are boat trips around the various headlands.

One of the loveliest seaside towns in all Brittany, the sheltered port of Camaret nestles at the western tip of the peninsula. Its most prominent building is the pink-orange château de Vauban, standing at the end of the long jetty that runs parallel to the main town waterfront. Walled, moated, and accessible via a little gatehouse reached by means of a drawbridge, it was built in 1689 to guard the approaches to Brest; these days it guards no more than a motley assortment of decaying half-submerged fishing boats, abandoned to rot beside the jetty. A short walk away, around the port towards the protective jetty, the quai du Styvel holds a row of excellent hotels.

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