Tips for driving Bordeaux – Roscoff.

Raspberry tart on board Pont Aven

Seagulls follow Roscoff trawler out to sea

Pont Aven

Home, sweet home!
Tips for driving Bordeaux – Roscoff. On Coming Home

Friday/Saturday 22/23 June 2012

Drove close to 900 kilometres up through France on Friday without a bother. The initial road from Hendaye to Bordeaux is mainly motorway and not the best you’ll come across in France. It probably will be better soon as there are improvements underway, some over huge stretches.

The autoroute from Bordeaux to Nantes is different class. Just a brilliant 130 kph ride, with magnificent facilities over its 300 kilometres. Having negotiated the efficient Bordeaux Rocade (ring road), I felt I deserved a stop and made one a few miles up the road at the smashing Aire de Saugon. Very good facilities here, including hot food, but then that is true of most of the motorway stops in this section.

Foodies should make a special note of the Aire du Vendee, closer to Nantes, as they sell some delicious concoctions of the area. Well worth a stop.

You should be well stocked with petrol as you wind your way around Nantes, which is just as well, as the motorway (no longer an autoroute) between here and Rennes is poorly served with Aires, with just one petrol stop just outside of Nantes.

Mostly there are just places where you can pull in and stretch your legs. There is one to avoid very close to Rennes, with a “Hil” in the title, as it has one of those toilets with the hole in the ground and water on the floor, built especially for the ladies!

Back in early 80s, there was hardly a Cork driver on tour who didn’t get lost in Nantes. Roads have improved hugely since then but there is still at least one slightly dodgy spot on the return journey. That comes on the péripherique (ring road) after exit 38 and before exit 37 (which is the one you want for Rennes). After exit 38, keep to your left.

It is motorway all the way from Rennes to Roscoff. Again, the level of services alongside are not great, so you should make a note of the excellent Aire d’Armor et d’Argoat, a few miles out of Rennes, and top up your petrol if you are running low. Of course, you can always go off piste to one of the local villages or towns, but sometimes you may be up against the clock.

Brittany Ferries have introduced a new facility and I’m sure parents will be very happy with it. While the Pont Aven doesn’t sail until 9.15pm you can now board at 6.30 and get those hungry kids a feed and a deserved drink for yourself!

I did get myself a drink, a rather timid Beaujolais Villages in one of those small bottles. The food though, particularly the main course, slices of juicy bacon, was excellent and reasonably priced in the self service La Belle Angel.

Service is really excellent on board the Pont Aven, lots of friendly staff willing and able to help you find your cabin or your way around the big ship. Great to sail back into the familiar harbour even if it was cloaked in the familiar grey! Nice to be home.