Whether you just want to get away from it all, enjoy varied beautiful landscapes, relax on golden sandy beaches, visit the many historical sites and towns from the Neolithic period through to the 20th Century, or wish to have a full activity holiday, Le Helleguy is the ideal base.
Brittany offers a wealth of opportunities, some of which are listed below.
- Local Facilities - shops, restaurants and markets
- Local Attractions - places of interest which are close by
- Nearby Activities - activities which can be pursued in the area
- Further Afield - beaches, towns and tourist attractions
- Other Options - birdwatching, megaliths, religious sites, military architecture etc.
The nearest village to Le Helleguy is Quistinic, less than 3 kilometres away, with a shop, bars and restaurant. The nearest crêperie and bar is less than 2km away, where delicious meals can be sampled at very reasonable prices – highly recommended!
Supermarkets and other shops can be found locally in the village of Bubry (6km) and in the larger town of Baud (12km), both easily accessible from Le Helleguy. Baud also has a Sports Centre and swimming pool.
Pontivy is the nearest large town with plenty of shops, supermarkets and a stunning Chateau overlooking the river Blavet.
Markets are held each week in most towns, usually offering very good value, tasty fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as traditional local food, fish/shellfish, clothes and crafts. Market days for local towns are listed below:
- Monday – Auray, Pontivy
- Tuesday – Etel
- Wednesday – Carnac, Vannes, Bubry
- Thursday – Hennebont, Malestroit, Locminé
- Friday – La Trinité sur Mer
- Saturday – Josselein, Quiberon, Vannes, Baud
- Sunday – Carnac, Ploemeur, Auray, Phelan le Grand, St Gildas de Rhuys
Within 4 miles of Quistinic is the beautifully restored 15th, 16th & 17th Century thatched village museum of Poul Fetan.
Lovingly restored, Poul Fetan is a working museum with a traditional baker, potter, farm etc. where one can see traditional costumes, architecture and activities such as wool dying & spinning, butter making, village washing and much more.
Sample the delicious breads and cakes cooked in the traditional bread oven (a non-working example of which can be seen at Le Helleguy).
Village de l’An Mil
Close to Melrand is another medieval working museum of a 1st Millennium village, including a traditional farming community with rural livestock breeds.
Take a leisurely stroll or cycle ride along the endless river paths, listening to the cry of Buzzards or the squeak of Kingfishers that ply the river. Pass through wooded slopes and rocky valleys, open fields and quaint farmsteads.
For those who prefer to take an active holiday there are plenty of options to choose from, including those listed below. More detailed information on each can be found on tourist websites such as those available from our Useful Links page:
NEW for 2018 – Pony Trekking on Shetland Ponies
A short 3km drive from the hamlet a new activity has been set up (by one of our neighbours) offering pony trekking on Shetland ponies. Parents can lead their children on ‘horse-back’ around the paddocks or stroll along quiet country trails, exploring the countryside and appreciating nature, whist introducing their children to this amazing experience.
We can organise ponies to be available at the hamlet so that you can start your family trek from the cottages and enjoy the woodlands walks in the surrounding area.
You have plenty of choice for cycling whether you prefer to cycle along the flat towpath beside the river Blavet (with access to over 50km of towpath between Hennebont & Pontivy) or take some of the stunning (and quiet) country lanes which wind through vales, woodland and villages. Bicycle hire is available locally (plus we have 4 adult bikes onsite at Le Helleguy).
The river Blavet is famous for its fishing. Alternative locations include the Nantes-Brest canal and river Evel. In fact there are over 28 fishing areas in the vicinity for all types of angling. Potential catches include: Roach, Dace, Carp, Pike, Perch, Salmon and Trout. Daily or weekly permits can be purchased.
A number of golf courses are within easy reach of Le Helleguy, (one only 10 minutes drive away), often situated in beautiful natural surroundings. These include:
- Rimaison (12 km / 8 miles)
- Val Queven (35 km / 23 miles)
- St. Laurent (40 km 25 miles)
- Ploemeur-Ocean (43 km 27 miles)
- Baden (44 km / 28 miles)
- Rhuys-Kerver (73 km / 46 miles)
Local equestrian centres offer the chance to go horse-riding and pony-trekking.
There are plenty of country walks, well signposted, both in the immediate area and beyond. Maps of recommended walks with details on what to see on route are available in the cottages.
Plenty of water sports can be pursued locally, on rivers, inland lakes & reservoirs or by the seaside. These include:
- Canoeing & Kayaking
- Jet skiing
Southern Brittany has many fine sandy beaches. Our nearest recommended beaches are only 30 minutes drive from Le Helleguy and include:
- Larmor Plage (Plage de Port Maria) – near to Lorient, a fine sandy stretch of beach with a busy water-sports centre, a favourite for surfboarding and sailing. There are pleasant beachside cafes which serve refreshments & lunch.
- Larmor Plage (Plage de Toulhars) – near to Lorient. Located just before the village of Lamor Plage, a left turn takes you to this lovely safe, sheltered bay, with quiet sandy beach area – ideal for families with young children.
- Carnac - 5 beautiful sandy beaches stretching along 2½ miles of coastline. There is a coastal path following the coast line, which alternates between capes and sandy coves, much favoured by family holiday makers
- Port-Louis – Lorient. An ancient fort stands at the entrance to this beach front. The Grands-Sables beach here is a favourite with locals for bathing and water-sports.
- St Pierre Quiberon – an ideal resort for families, lovely sandy beaches, home of the National Sailing School and the sand-carting club, UCPA
- Plage de Kervert – This naturist beach at St Gildas de Rhuys offers a largely unspoilt area edged with dunes and planted with marram grass
- Ile de Groix – a short boat ride from Lorient takes you to this tiny island (5 miles by 2), which offers opportunities for pleasant walks and cycle rides. In addition, the beach of Grands Sables (the sole example of a convex beach in Europe) is one of the finest beaches in Brittany, offering clear water and fine white sand.
Historic towns & cities
Many of the towns and cities of Brittany have managed to retain their medieval centres and character almost allowing one to step back in time as you walk through cobbled streets and observe the detailed wood carvings on the half-timbered houses.
Josselin was the seat of the once powerful Breton Rohan family who built one of their many chateaux here by the river.
Pontivy has another Rohan period chateau together with a more modern quarter called Napoleonville. The latter was built by Napoleon as a garrison town, Pontivy being central to Brittany and on the purpose built canal between Nantes and Brest.
Auray is a beautiful coastal town with plenty of quaint side streets and is a short walk away from the port of St. Goustan where there are many tempting restaurants specialising in seafood.
Nearby St. Anne-d’Auray has an impressive cathedral and a vast war memorial to the Bretons who died in World War I.
One can also find a super tea room ‘Les Gormandises’ located nearby on Rue du G de Gaulle. Fine patisseries can be sampled here accompanied by homemade ice-creams – a recommended ‘must’ for morning coffee or afternoon tea.
Carnac, famous for its Neolithic megaliths and more recently its beaches, has an interesting church with stunning triple barrel vaulted ceilings, covered in amazing painted images.
Lac de Guerledan
The Lac de Guerledan is a vast scenic park area of natural woodland and rocky hillsides surrounding a reservoir. The area is ideal for walks and for water sports such as dinghy sailing, water-skiing, pedalo hire, rowing and canoeing.
The local woods and rivers provide good opportunities to see birds such as Black Woodpecker, Serins, Kingfisher and Black Redstart. Nearby reserves on the river Blavet and Gulf of Morbihan offer Nightingale, White Stork, Spoonbill and even Sacred Ibis. Hoopoes, Golden Oriole and Zitting Cisticola (I still prefer the old name Fan Tailed Warbler!) may also be seen.
Megaliths – Neolithic
Brittany and in particular, Morbihan, is famous for the volume and variety of Neolithic remains, from 5000 B.C., including many Tumuli, Menhirs, Dolmens and the famous alignments of Carnac.
For enthusiasts and novices alike, Brittany is home to
a variety of styles in military architecture from
traditional Chateaux, to the 17th Century forts of
Vauban, defending strategic coastal towns and military centres ...
... through to the bunkers of the Atlantic Wall built during World War II to defend against Allied invasion and to protect the strategic U-boat (submarine) pens of Brest, Lorient and St. Nazaire.
Many of these chateau, forts and bunkers have now been converted into interesting museums with lots more scattered across the countryside and coastline waiting for visitors to rediscover.
Pilgrimage & Religious Heritage
Brittany has a fascinating wealth of religious monuments and buildings to be discovered, many dating back to the 12th Century pilgrimage routes through Brittany - heading towards San Juan de Compostela (Spain).
Festivals and Pardons
Many festivals are held across Brittany throughout summer, where one can hear local Celtic music being played (on bombards, bagpipes and drums), see traditional Breton dancing and partake of local food and drink such as cider.
Lorient also hosts the annual International Celtic Festival at the beginning of August – approximately 10 days of music and dance involving bands from across Brittany, Ireland, Scotland, Spain and other countries.
Most churches and communities celebrate a religious pardon during the summer months – a procession through the commune leading to the local chapel or church, often followed by traditional festivities. Visitors are always welcome to join in the celebrations.
Many local ports such as Lorient, Quiberon and Vannes offer boat trips around the beautiful Gulf of Morbihan or to the interesting islands of Ile de Groix, Belle-Ile and Ile aux Moines.
Museums, parks, zoos and more…
Wildlife reserves, parks, chateaux gardens, zoos, an aquarium and a whole variety of museums covering topics such as the French Resistance, Dolls, Postcards, Megaliths etc. can all be found in and around the Morbihan region of Brittany.
Further information on all the above is provided in our Information Pack, available in the cottage. If you have any requests regarding specific interests which you may wish to pursue while staying with us, please let us know.