The Portsmouth to St Malo overnight ferry is a very civilised way to get this part of France. Drive an hour and a half from London, sleep the night and arrive in France refreshed with the whole day in front of you.
We didn't stay very long in St Malo since Ali wanted to see the Mont St Michel but we did pick up some delicious pain au chocolat before stopping at a Trover recommendation called les Rochers Sculptés de Rothéneuf, where a small stretch of the granite coastline had been carved by an abbot into various figurines.
It was both underwhelming (none are very large) and yet pretty cool due to the cheer quantity and variety.
I'm unlikely to go back but I certainly didn't feel I'd wasted five euros.
After a shortish drive we arrived at our aire which was advertised as 3km from Mont St Michel, we decided to walk it but it turned out it was 3k to the free shuttle bus that takes you the remaining 2k over the causeway. Unfortunately taking the bus would have meant missing what I expected (correctly) to be the best bit of our visit; seeing the island from afar, but not too far, so we coaxed the kids and my shoulders (I was carrying D since I remembered the island is not buggy friendly at all) into one last push.
It really is impressive to look at
And the views from the top were better than I expected.
All in all we walked 11k and I did 16k thousand steps. There were two clear conclusions from the day: F&G are in really good shape and D has got very heavy.
After a well earned sleep that night, we headed jack to Brittany and stopped for lunch at another Trover recommendation: the medieval town of Dinan. As is most often the case Trover really came up trumps, Dinan is gorgeous! Not only is it a beautifully preserved walled
Medieval old town (which puts Troyes to shame)
complete with castle, it also has a stunning medieval port.
My favourite bit though was the road tying the two together called the Rue du Petit-Fort.
It was fantastic on the way down
and so nice I still appreciated it when pushing our overloaded buggy back up it's VERY steep incline.
After lunch we continued westwards towards a recommended free aire right on Palus Plage. We arrived and despite a really good kids playground, the cobble beach and general surrounds didn't inspire us much, so we planned to move on in the morning.
After a lateish start the next morning we wondered over to the beach, tea in hand and all wrapped up against the morning chill and were surprised to find that the cobbles only stretched around ten metres after that it was a vast stretch of golden sand. (No idea how the cobbles stay so neatly in place)
We wondered down onto the sand in our inappropriate clothes and promptly had a triple OHH! Moment seconds after this photo as D fully dressed
found the wettest part of the beach, leaned over seamingly to examine the sand with her nose placed her elbow in it, then kneed the area thoroughly, before finally sitting down to admire her handiwork. Ah well, undaunted we continued our stroll to the edge of the bay where we found hundreds of rock pools, the kids were thrilled. While Ali took D back to the bus I promised I'd be there in five minutes to help get the bus ready to move on.
When I arrived back at the bus having finally prized two damp kids away from the rocks, I received a rather chill welcome (I had apparently arrived 45min later than promised). Despite this unfortunate negotiating position I managed to convince Ali that the kids were having so much fun perhaps we should stay another night and just enjoy a nice beach day. We put D down in the buggy, grabbed some beach stuff and headed back to the rocks. Apart from a chill wind and my sunburned nose, I couldn't have wished for a better beach day.