For my husbands 40th birthday this year, the girls and I, and his side of the family, surprised him with a holiday to Brittany in France. He has said for years he has always wanted to hire a gite (translated to cottage) with family. Mainly so he can drink all the wines, eat all the pain-au-chocolate and devour all the moules and frites among like minded people. Following our first visit to Brittany last year, to the amazing camp site at Camping Du Letty, we were all very excited for this years trip. So this May Half Term off we went for our next French adventure, and oh my, what a place we found! Let me introduce you to Estuary House.
Estuary House is based on the outskirts of a small provincial town called Le Faou. It was the perfect accommodation for a large party of 10. The house, which is spread out over 4 floors, can take a maximum of 12. With 6 adults and 4 children we really needed somewhere that could accommodate us all at meal times but gave us space if you wanted quiet time.
After getting the night ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff we took a very easy 45 minute drive to Le Faou. Our house for the week was situated 5 minutes outside of town. We threw open the gates, parked the Big Red Fun Bus and two cars on the ample driveway and set the kids free to explore the house and amazing gardens.
The outside of the house couldn’t be more French if it tried, and I loved it! Blue shutters on all the windows, big wooden front door and French doors everywhere.
On the ground floor you enter a spacious hallway which has access to the garage (which is great for storing your bikes), a utility room which has a washing machine, a toilet and a well stocked library. French doors from the library lead out into the garden and onto the decking. In the hallway the owners had pinned up maps of the area. They also highlighted the best beaches to visit and the best towns for lunch or dinner in the area.
The first floor housed the very large lounge and dinning room. It covered the whole width of the house and the views of the estuary were amazing! There are three sets of French doors leading out onto a balcony, and because this caught the last sun of the day, it was a great place to sit and sip away on a G&T, or taste the wine you brought that day. In the lounge there are guides which have been made up by the owners. They have meticulously put together five ring binders with so much information about the house and surrounding areas. They became our holiday bibles for the week. The very well equipped kitchen was just off the dinning area and the rest of the floor housed a family bathroom, with a whirlpool bath, shower and separate toilet.
Up on the second floor there were three double bedrooms, two with their own sinks. There was also a single room with a pullout bed and another family bathroom and separate toilet. This was where our bedroom was and the view, well you have to see it to believe it!
The third floor was in the eaves of the house and this made for a great suite of rooms. Along with a very large double bedroom, which had an en-suite shower room there was also a large twin room. This also had its own shower in the room. There is also another toilet!
Now, for me, the most a-ma-zing part of this house, was the garden! As I mentioned, just outside the library, and at the bottom of steps leading from the first floor balcony, is a large decking area. Here there was a table that seated all 10 of us comfortably along with a BBQ which was well used. The decking then led onto the grass where there was an outside pool. Well the kids just lived in this for the whole week. The pool is heated, and is actually controlled by the owners back in the UK who can see the temperature of the pool and control it with the thanks to some great technology. It also has a cover, which the men took care off every night to help keep the heat in.
Beyond the pool the well maintained garden stretched down towards the estuary. There are fruit trees to admire and even a swing for the little ones to play with. At the bottom of the well landscaped gardens, you pass through a gate into a meadow like field which takes you down to the estuary itself. When it’s high tide you can walk straight off the steps into the water but at low tide you can actually walk along the river bank to small hamlets and into Le Faou itself.
My husband and brother in law brought their kayacks and had several sessions paddling out into the estuary. They did attempt to catch the fish that kept on showing off with their jumping displays, but unfortunately this wasn’t to be.
So as a recap, this amazing house has:
– 4 double bedrooms (2 en-suite, 2 with sinks)
– 1 twin bedroom with shower
– 1 single with pull out bed
– 4 toilets
– 2 family bathrooms
– fully stocked kitchen – crockery, glasses, cups, cutlery, plastic plates, every pot and pan you would ever need! Oh, and plenty of wine glasses.
– Fridge Freezer
– 5 ring hob and double oven
– Washing machine
– Free sat TV, with VHS video and DVD Player
– Library – which stocks a wide variety of books, VHS videos, DVDs and great family games
– Swimming pool – with a stash of inflatables
– all linen and towels are provided
– all rooms have hairdryers
Unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to take many photos of the inside as we spent so much time outside. But if you would like to see more pictures of Estuary House take a look at their website.
As I mentioned, the house is only a 45 minute drive from Roscoff and is a great base for sightseeing around Brittany. Le Faou is a quaint French town with a local supermarket, a couple of boulangieries, and a handful of places to eat. One thing we did learn is that the holiday season doesn’t start until the beginning of June. So a number of places were closed or getting ready for the season, but a few places to eat and drink were open.
There were a lot of places to visit that were under an hours drive from the house. Some of the places we visited were:
A town locked in the 15th Centuary. It was like walking into a scene from Beauty and the Beast. There is a tourist trail around the amazing houses, churches and chapels as well as a range of shops, mainly aimed at tourists. If you visit, when driving from the house I highly recommend that you drive through the gorgeous towns of Port-Launay and Chateaulin.
A market town, great for a coffee stop on the way down to the amazing beach at Morgat, more about that later. The church there is also worth a visit. The highlight of the journey from the house to Crozon was crossing this amazing bridge over the River L’Aulne. We loved it so much we had to stop for a selfie, ish!
A lovely fishing port, which actually reminded me of a town close to where we live called Brixham. There is plenty of parking along the Harbour with a wide range shops and restaurants. We stopped here for lunch after a coffee stop in Crozon. It also fuelled the afternoon exploring the old forts that can be found on the Penninsula just North of this town.
This was the first of our beach days. Pentrez is a very long beach and when we turned up it felt like we had most of it to ourselves. There is plenty of free parking all the way along as well as access to cafes, takeaways and toilets.
This was the destination for our second beach day, and it felt like we had transported to somewhere in the Caribbean it was that gorgeous. The town itself has a large car park, which yet again is free. There is also a great selection of shops, restaurants and hotels. It has a busy Harbour and while we were there we saw a lot of water sports taking place. It is also a great beach for children as the water is very shallow.
Now I’ve visited this lovely city before but I was more than happy to go back. The old quarter is stunning to walk around and the cathedral is amazingly. If you can, stop and have a coffee in the cathedral square while the kids ride the carasel. Then take a trip a couple of streets away and buy all the Macaroons from the best shop ever – Maison George’s Larnicol.
Wow, that turned into a rather long post. If you have made it this far thank you for sticking with me but there was so much to tell.
If you are looking for somewhere for an extended family holiday, or even with a group of friends, a stay at Estuary House will not disappoint. We created family memories on this holiday that I am sure the girls and their cousins will remember for years to come.
Have you visited this area of Brittany before? If so I would love to hear about where you went, as I am sure we will be visiting again.