Pénestin, a charming town on the French Atlantic coast

Located on the southern end of the Brittany region, Pénestin is a charming little town for a beach vacation. I came here as a last minute break and managed to book up a campsite (more on that later on) with no problems during July 2020 (just when travel was opening up after the Covid-19 scare). A several hour drive from Calais in the north of the country, the long drive was certainly worth it. I didn’t know too much about the area, my plan was to have a family vacation where we chilled out on the beach, or use the swimming pool a lot in the campsite, however that never goes to plan and we always go out and check the local area.

Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France

Let’s start off with the highlight. Those Golden Cliffs! I have never seen anything like this on my travels. The cliffs of Mine d’Or on the longest beach in the area are stunning. They are best to be seen on a clear sunny day when the sun is setting over the ocean during the summer months. We checked out the beach for a while, they are wide and sandy when the tide is out. However a lot of locals don’t come here to sunbathe, they like to go and collect the mussels (& maybe some other food fresh from the water) for their dinner. Further north from here there are a lot of stakes sticking out of the sea (which can be seen clearly during low tide), this is where a lot of mussels are grown.     

Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France
The town itself is pretty small with a few shops, restaurants and cafes. We checked out one restaurant, La Bisquine which seems very popular with the local Pénestinois (the name used for the locals of the town). Fish seems to be the deal here (of course) however I went for a crepe with ham and fried eggs on it. Strange but wonderful. Couldn’t fault the service in here and the waitresses really did love Isabella’s charming smile. 

Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France

Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France
The town hall in Pénestin

Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France
Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France
Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France
Tréhiguier is a small village a few kilometers north-east of Pénestin on the River Vilaine estuary. The village has a nice bar and restaurant overlooking the river but I also did a run through this area. There is a museum called Maison de Myticulture which displays items and has information on the mussels of the area. The building itself is a former lighthouse. I loved running from this village back towards Pénestin as the view of the spire of the église Saint-Gildas de Pénestin (church) towers the landscape and can be seen for a quite a distance. Another little tip is a nice picnic area amongst the trees at Aire de repos de Tréhiguier Pénestin (which is on the coastal road between the two villages on Le Branzais). Here visitors can relax by the sea but on the other side of the road, a walk around the small lakes is pleasant.

Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France

For accommodation I noticed Pénestin has more campsites than hotels. However with the current situation, we wanted to stay in a mobile home (which is really ideal when you have children, believe me). We stayed at Camping Les Parcs which is located on the eastern side of the town (when driving, it’s on the left hand side 300 meters before reaching the first roundabout in the town). The campsite has a variety of accommodations from mobile homes or pitches for visitors who want to bring their own motorhomes, caravans and tents. I paid for the top of the range mobile home (which was actually a great price for us as we were working off a budget) and got a modern home which must have been recently placed here. Our accommodation had parking spaces for two vehicles, an outdoor terrace with table and chairs with an airer, and inside had two bedrooms, en suite washroom, a lounge area with television, dining area and a kitchen with all the essentials we needed. The campsite itself had a reception area (which has a delivery of pastries and baguettes delivered every morning), bar, swimming pool, playground and all the washing facilities needed for anyone camping. Check out their site here for rates and information if thinking of staying here. We highly recommend it and the staff were so warm and welcoming. Couldn’t fault them and if I am back in the area, we would stay here again.  (Tip, if anyone needs a supermarket, there is a Carrefour about a five minute walk away). 

Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France
Some wines, cider and beers we brought to try from the region plus the delightful Breton cake.

Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France
Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France
Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France
The day trips I did (it’s good to have a car to be honest), are the Suscinio castle and the medieval town of Vannes. Click on the link to check out our experience. 

Bretagne, Brittany, France Bretagne, Brittany, France
Pénestin overall is a quite peaceful town which is nice for those looking for a relaxing vacation where the locals are welcoming. There may not be much going on but it has a beach, good food and drink and is close to nature. Not just the sea but the area around the town is very green as trees are dotted everywhere. The town also makes an ideal base for those looking to explore the local area. We would come back if we get the chance in the future.

Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France Pénestin, Bretagne, Brittany, France