Phil Archer

phil@philarcher.org

Experiences at Les Terrasses de Bertheaume

Sign on the Terrasses de Bertheaume campsite pointing the way to the beach
This way to the beach!

We've been to Brittany on holiday many times now but this year's break has been the best yet. Not least because we found a good campsite in a terrific location.

We found the site very much at the last minute. We'd identified a site just north of Brest and sent off an e-mail booking, duly confirmed with a deposit. However, less than 48 hours before departure for the ferry, my wife decided, sensibly enough, to check that the sat nav knew where the campsite was so we'd have no trouble getting there. Well, we could have got there sure enough - if we'd been prepared to drive for the 8 hours it takes to get to Lyon. Basically, we'd made a mistake - the websites for the campsite we thought we had booked and the one we actually booked looked very similar and, well, accidents happen. Looking again at the site we thought we'd booked, we really weren't happy with it so we did some more searching… beginning at 1 o'clock in the morning.

Our two main criteria were that it should have a swimming pool and be within easy reach of a favourite beach: Plages des Blancs Sablons. This is very near the small port of Le Conquet, west of Brest. There's a campsite at the top of the cliff above plages des Blancs Sablons but it's rather basic (and doesn't have a pool). We searched and we searched - and Google just wasn't coming up with any good campsites. Neither was UK Campsite which is usually very good.

Plages des Blancs Sablons
A view of the Plage des Blancs Sablons, a favourite beach for body boarding and surfing.

So then we tried something that seems pretty obvious with hindsight but we were rather too knackered at, now, 2 in the morning, to think straight. We tried searching in French. Even then the website wasn't easy to find. There are techie reasons for this - all that JavaScript makes it very search engine unfriendly. Even so, we did eventually alight upon Les Terrassees de Bertheaume. Just a little way to the east of Le Conquet and Pointe de Saint Mathieu in the village of Plougonvelin, it's essentially a small chalet park but it has a small area for tents and caravans.

What marks the site out is the location. 200 metres or so from the caravan is a perfect swimming beach. Sheltered and sandy with a satisfyingly steep angle, you're soon swimming in very clear water. A diving board just off shore is an obvious target to head for. You'll be well out of your depth at all states of the tide except a spring low. There's a good-sized Intermarché in Plougonvelin with Le Conquet and Brest both a short drive away.

Plages de Perzel
A view of the Plage de Perzel, the beach immediately below the campsite. This picture was taken in the fading light of the evening, hence the relative lack of colour.
A view of the small area reserved for campers.
The camping area.

On the downside, the toilet block was very basic. Showers are operated by tokens (jetons) and the toilets themselves were, well, you didn't want to hang around. There wasn't even a chemical toilet disposal point. However, we understand that the block is being rebuilt this winter so this shouldn't be a problem in future.

A mobile créperie sets up stall on a Wednesday evening and there's a pizza take-away on Saturdays. A 10 minute walk from the site is Trez-Hir where there are more créperies, a sailing club, a tourist information centre and a swimming pool complete with flume.

All in all, a great site to which we expect to return.

Oh, one more thing. No English. As in, with one exception, none of the staff speaks any English at all and, for most of our stay, we were the only British family there. You really do need to have at least a basic command of French to be able to stay here.

View out to sea from the campsite
A view out to sea from the campsite. The site's small heated swimming pool is between the hedge and the deck chair