La Pointe Saint Gilles, Bénodet
The Campsite Sunêlia La Pointe Saint Gilles campsite in Bénodet is a fairly large and lively campsite of approximately 480 pitches on the west coast of Brittany. It is one of the best french campsites for kids as there is a great pool complex, lots of entertainment and activities as well as children's clubs.
With a great location across a quiet road from a pine-fringed sandy beach, it is only a fifteen minute walk along an easy coastal path from the seaside resort of Bénodet. There is a small sandy beach opposite the campsite which is fine for rockpooling and sun bathing and two others within walking distance. Bénodet's main beach is a long straight stretch of beach with watersports and there is also Le Letty beach within a 10 minutes walk from the campsite.
The coastal path from the campsite to Bénodet can also be cycled and some sections are on paths off the road.
Bénodet itself has a long wide beach with promenade to walk along, some shops, restaurants (I have some recommendations for Sans Souci although we find eating out too expensive and self cater most of the time !), some lovely ice cream shops and a cinema as well as a small museum which has some interesting exhibitions. There is a very old church, St Thomas church and we went to a wonderful concert there.
The Pointe Sainte Gilles campsite itself is one
of the top French campsites as it has
many attractions including a new aquatic complex
with heated indoor and outdoor pools, a river, slides, caves etc
which you can enjoy whatever the weather !
The bar hosts some excellent evening entertainment in July and August and the campsite hosts present the various nights very well and are multilingual which is great. You may need to arrive early to get a seat but it is worth it. We went along to a very good quiz night, a bingo night (great for kids who are learning numbers in French - they did the numbers in English too though) and an excellent magic show.
The campsite play park is very good and will suit children over a range of ages.
The Kid's clubs from the main tour operators such as Keycamp, Eurocamp and Canvas take place in the sports field which is a short walk along a quietish road from the campsite entrance. This is a great field with loads of space and other activities are also arranged by the campsite there. You can either arrange to leave older children at the onsite tour operators meeting point or if you have very young children you may want to accompany them along the road to the kids club field and this may mean a 15 minute walk if you are in a mobile home at the far end of the campsite. The campsite also run a Sunny Club to which all children are welcome.
Other facilities onsite include:
- a well stocked shop, which has deliveries of fresh bread and croissants in the mornings (check opening hours)
- a take away and restaurant and bar
- a playground
- the Funny Park next to the campsite has inflatables, trampolines and mini golf as well as ice cream !
- bike hire - we enjoyed having bikes during our stay and certainly you can cycle into Benodet and take some alternative routes back. You can also cycle as far as the Vieux port and take a small track from there as an alternative (Cycle routes available from Couriers).
- Keycamp offer Classic Midi mobile home accomodation on this site which has been specially adapted for wheelchair accessibillity.
- laundries/shower blocks etc
Booking Your Holiday
Hover your mouse over the map for some more information about the various ports and airports.
There are sailings by ferry with Brittany Ferries and other operators to some of the following ports which are the nearest ones to Benodet :
- Roscoff: 150km.
- St Malo: 246km.
- Caen: 419km.
- Cherbourg: 425km.
- Le Havre: 485km.
There are flights by a variety of airlines from the UK and Ireland to the following regional airports. Hover over the map to discover some airlines which fly to each airport (please note that this information was up to date at time of writing but you will need to check details of flights with your tour operator or airline) :
Its possible to reach the local town of Quimper by rail from the UK. Take the Eurostar from London's St Pancras International, change at Paris and travel on to Quimper by TGV. There are various car hire firms at Quimper railway station, including Europcar and during high season there are possibly bus services from Quimper to Benodet. It would also be possible to take a taxi for this last leg of the journey.
- Local Railway: Quimper, 16 Km
Things To Do In The Area
There is a "Petit Train" in Bénodet which has a stop at the campsite and is a good way to discover the town for the first time. It will also take you in and out to town, although beware on market day we found it was too busy to get the first "Petit Train" back and we ended up waiting for ages. The markets take place in the square in the centre of Bénodet.
From the Vieux Port at the far end of Bénodet you can arrange to take a Boat Trip with Vedettes de l'Odet. They offer boat trips on the Odet, which is the river at Bénodet and these include gastronomique cruises ! Some of these trips can take you to Quimper and back.
And there are also boat trips to the beautiful îles Glénan, an archipelago of islands twelve miles out to sea. This trip can be made by glass bottomed boat which allows you to view the fish etc. Click here to visit the Vedette's de L'Odet website.
There is a Cinema in Benodet. If you want to watch a film in English then you need to look for films which were originally in English and which say VO for original version. Otherwise the films which are originally in English will say VF which means Version Francais. Watch out though as films which were originally in French and which are still in French will also be marked VO ! To access the website which shows you this week's films in Benodet, click here.
The far end of the town has a yacht harbour and views across to the village of Sainte Marine, (pictured) which also has a lovely beach. Sainte Marine can be reached by ferry in high season or by road.
Quimper (pronounced "cam-per" -with a short pause in the middle as opposed to "camper" as in "happy camper" !). This town has the magnificent St Corentin cathedral which is worth a visit.
There is also a nice "old town" to walk around with many nice shops to visit. There are restaurants but we bought some lovely baguettes in the indoor covered market which had various food stalls. There are markets in most of the local towns and Quimper does have a particularly large market which takes place on certain days. There is also a nice toy shop if you can find it !
The Festival de Cornouaille takes place every July in Quimper. This is Brittany's biggest celebration of Breton culture. Concerts, street parades by proud locals in costumes and street musicians bring the perfectly preserved medieval town of Quimper to life. Music and dance take place outside the towering cathedral, along streets lined by half-timbered medieval buildings, on the quayside and in front of the Bishop's Palace. Every evening there are Fest Noz concerts - the event is a crossroads for the musicians of the world and not confined to those from Breton - Omara Portuondo and The Chieftains have both played here.
Another fantastic day out is to the port of Guilvinec, where at half past four on Mondays to Fridays (please double check dates and times), you can watch from a panoramic terrace as the small fishing boats race to unload their catches of fish and crustaceans.
They race in to grab a spot at the quayside, unload very quickly then leave to let the next boat in. All very exciting.
Guilvinec is one of the largest ports in France for landings of fresh fish and "fruits de mer", which are prawns and lobsters etc. These fishermen are described as "Pêcheurs Artisanale Français". The fishing boats or trawlers are called "chalutiers". Look out for GV on the boats which means their home port is Guilvinec. There are about 120 fishing boats which are based in Guilvinec. These include 65 deep-sea boats (which go out for 8 to 15 days) and 55 coasting ships and short fishing boats which go out for the day. These boats employ 523 fishermen. If you would like to do a bit of "Ship Spotting" then quite a few of the boats are listed on this website by clicking here.
There is an excellent Guidebook for Guilvinec which can be accessed by clicking here. This Guidebook has a page which lists terms such as "Visite guidée de la criée côtière" which means "Guided visit of fish auction sale" and "Atelier du goût pour les enfants" which means a Special children's worshop which includes tastings of the fish I think ! The Guide also lists the names of all the fishing boats in the port and what the names mean - many of the names are in the old Breton language, for example the red trawler in the photograph above is the "Tri Yann", which is the "Three Johns" and you might also see the "Trugarez" - which means "merci" in French or "Thanks" in English or the An Gwenodenn which I think is a girl's name ! See how many you can spot !
You can also pay to visit the Haliotika Discovery Centre which includes a museum visit and a visit to the actual fish market. Outside you will find a fantastic fish shop with the opportunity to buy the freshest fish possible !
We had a fantastic meal in a small restaurant with a terrace, which from my memory was just opposite the fish market. We had a great piles of "frites" (chips !) which was just what we needed after all those fish !
The walled town of Concarneau is definitely worth a day out. There are lots of fantastic shops and restaurants to explore within its historic walls and there are often musicians playing etc. There is also a great ice cream shop ! In August the town hosts a large festival "The Festival des Filets Bleus" - the festival of the blue fishing nets. The festival sees about 1,000 costumed performers and traditional musicians and lasts over three days. The website for the festival is at http://www.festivaldesfiletsbleus.fr/
Another town worth well worth visiting is Pont Aven, the famous capital of Crepes and artist's town ! (see photographs below). This is a lovely town with many small galleries and craft shops to visit. The artist Paul Gauguin lived and worked here. You can visit on market day and browse the stalls along the riverside. The town contains many mills, one of which is now a creperie. It also has a few bridges which allow you to cross the river.
There are some car parks slightly out from the centre of the small town as you are unlikely to get parked right in the centre. The town is also famous as the capital of Breton crepes and you will find many lovely restaurants to try them out.
Also in Pont Aven you will find a fabulous glass blowing workshop "Un souffle de verre" where you can watch the glass blowers at work. Address : 23 Rue des Abbés Tanguy (up the hill in the direction of the Post Office "la Poste") 29930, PONT AVEN. Tel. 02 98 06 10 37. It may be an idea to check opening times when you can watch them at work.
If you are impressed, which I am sure you will be, you can leave a contribution in the glass bottle. Or you may wish to purchase some of the beautiful original glasswork. A range of work is made including vases, lamps and glasses.
Brittany is famous for its seafaring past and there are many lighthouses to warn ships of the extremely rocky shoreline. You can also visit various lighthouses, including one, Phare de Goulphar, which can be climbed if you are feeling like some exercise ! Below are photographs of two we visited. The one on the right is the Phare d'Eckmühl which stands at the very end of the Pointe de Penmarch. It is open some days and you can climb the 307 steps to the gallery at the top of the tower where you will get a wonderful view :
Other days out from Bénodet include :
- the Swimming Pool at Fouesnant "Les Balnéides Aquatic Centre" looked worth a visit although the day we went it was too busy as it was a very wet summer that year and everyone headed for the swimming pools !
- The Swimming Pool at Quimper Piscines de Loisirs Aquarive is well worth a visit, with flumes etc. Remember that men have to wear proper swimmer style swimming trunks as they dont let you in with baggy shorts style swimsuits at all. The same applies in many swimming pools in France and often on campsites as well.
- The "Atout Fruit" Fruit and Vegetable Shop, 5 chemin de Kerambras, 29170 FOUESNANT at the roundabout in Fouesnant and adjacent to a supermarket - excellent fresh fruit and vegetables - well worth a visit! or two!
- Douarnenez is a nice place for a day out.
Disclaimer: The reviews published on the site are intended solely for the purpose of providing general information and comment and are purely our opinions. We cannot guarantee that descriptions on this site are accurate, up to date or free from error. We have found that the campsites described are very good but we find that it is difficult to find a campsite which has 100% of what you are looking for. Also one person may love a busy campsite with lots of activities while someone else may love a quiet campsite with a small swimming pool. Actually we tend to be the latter ! So what we have done is highlight the good points of the sites and maybe point out a few of what we have found as slightly negative points. However we strongly recommend that you make full use of as many internet sources as possible before deciding about your holiday, including other review sites and Google maps etc.