Sunday, July 20, 2008

Seascapes from the Quiberon peninsula

Our Tour de France continues. After Rouen and Granville in Normandy, we crossed Britanny to visit Agnès' cousins at La Trinité-sur-Mer. Last time we visited this area was in 1997, one year before relocating to California.

On Bastille Day (last Monday, July 14th), I left La Trinité for my 4th ultra in 7 days (two 50Ks in Rouen and 54 miles around Le Mont St Michel). To make the run more interesting, I chose to use as much of the GR (Chemin de Grande Randonnée, a National Trail system) along the coast. The trail could not actually be as close to the coast as this, including sandy sections on the beaches or sections right on the ridge of impressive cliffs.

I lost the GR markings in Carnac and did a loop in the small touristic town before finding back my way along the bay of the Pô. After crossing the Pô, the GR leaves the coast as there is no trail crossing the salt marshes and oyster farms. I crossed Plouharnel and got on the bike path along the highway. As the only access to get on the peninsula, this road is very busy and it is very convenient to have such a path to escape the traffic, a continuous flow of cars, RVs and trailers.
Left the road for the beach at Penthièvre and found the trail (Sentier Côtier) back at the very nice and tiny harbor of Portivy after crossing the narrow isthmus.
Portivy marks the beginning of La Côte Sauvage (literally: the wild coast), which is a kind of National Park (a 10-mile seashore listed in the Patrimoine National).
The trail follows the edge of the cliffs, providing amazing views of the rugged seashore, so characteristic of this littoral. To some extent it reminded me of running along the California Coast between Big Sur and Carmel, except that, here, you run on a trail, not on Highway 1.
Biking, Agnès and Max caught up with me after Plouharnel as I was reaching Carnac (Le Bourg in the background):
42 miles or 67 kilometers. Flat, sunny and amazing views, amazing seascapes 360 degrees around the Quiberon peninsula. A great way to enjoy this region in the South of Brittany. If you have the opportunity to visit you may want to check my itinerary which I posted online:
  1. Google Maps (no download necessary)
  2. Google Earth (need to have Google Earth installed)
The day ended with the traditional fireworks on the beach of Carnac, a colorful and musical show:
The following day I ran 11 miles at a much faster pace (~6 min/mile) along with our cousins, Agnès and the boys, all biking. Back to the house our cousins are renting, running 3 miles with Max after he had left his rental bike.

Last, on Wednesday, I ran 16 miles around the Crac'h river, from La Trinité to Auray and back through the small town of Crac'h.

Next stage of our Tour de France: Avon and Fontainebleau!


Pierre-Yves said...

Hi Jean,
What a coincidence, I spent the week of July 14 in the 'golfe du Morbihan' (near Baden), just a few miles away from you. I too loved running on the 'sentier cotier'/GR around the bay. I must admit I ran must shorter distances compared to you. For sure your vacation was not a running break!
Pierre-Yves (back in the Bay Area)

Victoria said...

I had no idea there was a trail to run on around Carnac! Admittedly, the last time I was there was a while ago, but I remember running on asphalt/the beach. That looks like a great run you did-- that area is beautiful!