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France in a Ferrari: Loire Valley, Brittany

Updated on February 21, 2015

Road trip: Brittany, Loire Valley, France

The Loire Valley is a wonderful part of France, with many old picturesque towns and villages, beautiful architecture including some very impressive chateaux and of course fantastic food and wine. Brittany, by the coast and not far from Cornwall in the South West of England, just the other side of the water has a very different feel to most other parts of France.


After buying myself an old classic car as a 30th birthday present (a red 1985 Ferrari 308 GTS: A premature mid-life crisis) I decided to take it across the channel by ferry (from England) and go for a bit of a road-trip. Driving between vineyards and tasting wine is not a good idea, but it is possible to stay at some stunning hotels and chateaux where you can taste wine to you heart's content.


This article is about the journey and some hotel recommendations, travel tips and advice and of course a few photos (although I took a lot of the car and not enough of the scenery and architecture)

Map of Loire Valley and Brtittany, France - French Road Trip Route Map

show route and directions
A markerSt. Malo, France -
St. Malo, France
get directions

B markerParis, France -
Paris, France
get directions

C markerPortsmouth, England -
Portsmouth, England
get directions

D markerAuxerre, France -
Auxerre, France
get directions

E markerAmboise, France -
Amboise, France
get directions

French Road Trip Itinerary

The Loire Valley and Brittany

Ferry: Portsmouth, UK to Saint Malo, France

Saint Malo to Roscoff: Hotel Regina

Drive to Quimper: hotel Mascotte Quimper.

Quimper to Vannes: Hotel Mascotte

Drove to A11 via Nantes then N152 to Onzain: Hotel Chateau des Tertres, Onzain

Drive to Amboise: Le Fleuray Hotel, Cangey, Amboise

Drive to Auxerre via Blois, Orleans: Hotel: Petit Manoir des Bruyéres, 89240 Villefargo,Yonne.

Drive to Auxerre.

back to Brittany via Paris to Dinnard: Crystal hotel

Drive to Saint Malo: Hotel Oceania

Getting to The Loire Valley and Brittany (from England)

There are many routes across the channel to France from England, but if you want to start in Brittany the Portsmouth to Saint Malo route is good and allows a bit of rest on the boat...theoretically

We used Brittany Ferries which cost £346 return, with reclining seats (i.e. no cabin or bed) I didn't sleep well. I wish we'd got a cabin, but they were all booked. It would have been worth the extra money. The price varies a lot depending on the time of year etc.

Food on the boat was ok, but over-priced. We had breakfast in the "posh" restaurant on the boat - over-priced rubbish

Beautiful French Country Hotels

Also see these European Hotel Reviews

Roscoff

We drove from Saint Malo to Roscoff along the coast, stopping for coffee a couple of times. A very pleasant, relaxing journey, especially given the chance to use my classic car on quiet roads. On arrival we walked over a strange foot bridge into the sea, about 500m long that just goes nowhere. One of the highlights of Roscoff, perhaps, but it is a wonderful place to enjoy French beer (Pelforth Brune is my favourite) at a cafe by the sea or to watch old men playing bowls. Very atmospheric and French.

Quimper

Quimper is a lovely city/town with wood-framed houses (14th Century perhaps?) Not much to do, but atmospheric and relaxing. The terrace bar near the cathedral is a splendid place to sit and watch the world go by.

Onzain

Hotel Chateau des Tertres, route de Monteaux, Onzain

Nice chateauy place - not too expensive (about $70 for the room) near a small village. It doesn't have a restaurant, but does have a bar and Onzain village is just a 1.5 mile walk away, where there is an excellent restaurant. Very good food. Real French, non-touristy stuff.

Also see these European Hotel Reviews

Here's a picture without a car in it

More wonderful places to stay

Amboise

The town of Amboise has the excellent Royal Chateau, which is definitely worth stopping to visit.

Le Fleuray Hotel in Cangey near Amboise. Quite remote. Not as interesting as some "chateau" style hotels, in fact more of an old farm-house or large cottage. It was run by English people and has a nice atmosphere.

A nice place for a G&T in the garden, although rather a captive audience, as there are no other places to go to nearby.

Dinner: English-ish/French cuisine - good,but quite expensive: $160ish

Breakfast. $22 for coffee & bread!

Expensive, but very different to your average US/International style hotel

Also see these European Hotel Reviews

Beautiful French villages - O.K. so I took loads of pictures of the car and not enough of the surroundings

Auxerre

Impressive Cathedral

Petit Manoir des Bruyéres Villefargo,Yonne.

Great atmosphere. Very different establishment with one huge room downstairs. Felt like house-guests rather than hotel guests.

Dinner was excellent. One dish served to all 7 guests at one large table.

Dinnard

We were going to go to Alencon as a suitable mid-way point, but decided to go all the way back to Brittany instead. Took motorway route via Paris. A long drive, but there's no point going somewhere for the night just because it's on the way Intended to go to Dinan, but the other half was map-reading, so we went to Dinnard! Oh well: a beach resort instead of a medieval town.

Crystal hotel on sea-front.

Beach-side bars. Actually not bad here, although I expect Dinan would be better. Easy mistake to make (if you can't read)

Excellent sea-food.

Also see these European Hotel Reviews

Saint Malo

This old port was heavily bombed during the war, but has been rebuilt exactly as it was. It retains its character and is a great place to stay for a couple of days. It also has a ferry terminal with ferries to England, making it an ideal starting point for a driving holiday in France.

Beautiful French Villages

French Cuisine... and booze

Wonderful French seafood at Saint Malo. The "Plateau du Fruit du Mare" (i.e. Seafood Platter) is often enormous and quite expensive... That is a portion for one person (O.K. to an Englishman like me that looks pretty big)

French classic car: Citroen 2CV ("Deux Cheveaux")

Please tell me what you think...

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    • melissae1963 profile image

      Melissa Reese Etheridge 2 years ago from Tennessee, United States

      I think that I would like to visit any country in a sexy little sports car. Great photos and links. Your article is well-written and very informative.

    • BenjaminSelf profile image

      BenjaminSelf 5 years ago

      Brittany and classic cars, two of my favorite subjects!!!

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      Truly excellent

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 6 years ago

      This looks like an amazing journey. Squid Angel Blessings to you.

    • traveller27 profile image

      traveller27 6 years ago

      I enjoyed this lens...great work!

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      I want to go!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      Fantastic to see Loire Valley through our eyes. Don't think I will get a chance to see it in a Ferrari though.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This lens is awesome. I love it. I am going to tell my editors on my Thai News website to write something about this lens and probably feature it.

      I will comment here again once we do.

      Great Work

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      Gosh, so no one else has contemplated France in a Ferrari?

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Wow -- how cool is this? Did you happen to see my Spanish Flee vacation with all the beautiful pictures of those luxury cars in Puerto Banus???

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      Andy, you had the ultimate vacation in a romantic spot although I'm not really sure YOU were there. All I can see is Magnum's car...

      Great work; blessed by Brenda.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Now this is how you road trip! Welcome to the road trip group!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      If I can't travel...at least it is through your eyes. Thanks for the nice lens.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Another great lens

      Lizzy

    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 8 years ago

      Sounds like a fantastic trip! And you can't beat driving around the Loire Valley in a Ferrari - you fit right in. 5* and lensrolled you to my Top 10 Chateaux of the Loire Valley lens.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      What a great trip. I sure enjoyed being able to come along Squidoo style. Thanks

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      I love this lens. You know how to travel in style! Welcome to All Things Travel.

    • anthropos lm profile image

      Lamar Ross 8 years ago from Florida

      I can't welcome you as fast as you're adding lenses. Keep it up.

      Thanks for joining ”Anything and Everything Travel” Group. We look forward to seeing your other travel related lenses in our group. Keep up the good work.

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      [in reply to Tipi]

      When I started this lens, I hadn't noticed how many of the photos had the car in the foreground. The little green car is a Citroen "2CV" or "Deux Cheveaux" (meaning "Two Horse-power") It was built from 1949 until 1990, initially made for poor French people, such as farm-workers, but of course then became cool, like VW Beetles and the Mini (which were also intended for poor people), although I doubt if many made it to the US.

      I'm just looking at your NDSU Bison lens now. Looks good.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      If I had a Ferrari, I would forget about taking pictures of scenery unless the car was in the picture too. I understand! That little green car below is cute, whatever it is. What is it?

      Sure am glad that you have gotten to see so many places and that you share the travels on Squidoo. I'm getting to see the world through a lensmasters lens, that's pretty cool. A very nice lens!

      I publishes a couple of new lenses in Local, about the NDSU Bison football team. Hopefully, they will get local traffic!