Cycling around the Crozon Peninsula

Caramor - sailing around the world
Franco Ferrero / Kath Mcnulty
Wed 11 Jun 2014 06:24
We had a good day's cycle (46 km) yesterday round the Crozon Peninsula which sticks out from mainland atlantic Brittany and protects the entrance to Brest. We set off from Camaret sur mer leaving Caramor safely tucked up in the marina and headed north-east towards la Pointe des Espagnols. We paused at La Mort Anglaise (The English Death), named after some battle in 1600s when we presume a load of Brits died (though it may have been the Brits inflicting death on the French - we haven't managed to find out).

Caption: Camaret sur mer from La Mort Anglaise (Caramor is in the marina)

The road leading to the Pointe des Espagnols was pleasant with few vehicles and we got there in good time, from here we could see Brest harbour and the U-boat pens.

The whole peninsula has been heavily fortified and defended over the centuries, clearly of strategic importance to the defence of the well protected harbour of Brest but also the approaches to the Channel. The Vauban Tour (a UNESCO world heritage site) was constructed during the 1600s and Napoleon expanded the defences, building forts at the end of the headlands, then the Germans during the Second World War built concrete bunkers all over the place and still today the area remains of strategic importance to the French navy and most of the headlands are military ground and restricted to the public.

Caption: Franco and the approaches to Brest

It struck 12 as we rounded the tip of the peninsula so lunch became our next objective. We arrived at Roscanvel, to find the bakery and bar both shut (ARGH thought I as Franco was getting hungry). Luck had it that a mobile Bistro was parked up in the square, this van belongs to an enterprising young man who dishes out gourmet burgers served in brioche baps with local speciality cheese and caramelised onions, cooked to order. Delicious!

A little further on we had the option of cutting back across the peninsula back to Cameret or carrying on to Crozon the local town. The road to Crozon passed several military installations and the traffic increased considerably. Crozon was of no real interest but by now we had decided we should sample some icecream so had no choice but to head out of town in the wrong direction to Morgat, a small resort Franco had been to on holiday many years ago. The final 8km back to Camaret took us past swamps and lovely beaches on a busy main road. Considering the high profile of cycling in France we were non-plussed by how little space drivers gave us as they overtook.

Pumpkin sunbathing after a hard day's cycle

In 1939 Camaret was the first port for lobster fishing in Europe, if not the world. By the early 1960s this golden era had come to an abrupt end.

Entry by Kath