DISCOVERY GUIDE Downloadable local brochure
BRITTANY TOURISM Official tourism site (in English)
FINISTERE TOURISM Local tourism information (in English)
FRENCH ENTREE Website for Holidaymakers & Residents (in English)
Coz Veil lies at the heart of the PARC NATUREL RÉGIONAL D’AMORIQUE. The park was set up in 1969 in order to protect this area of natural and historic interest from inappropriate development or exploitation. Amorique is not simply a nature reserve; it is an entire ecosystem that includes, of course, its human inhabitants. Local residents are encouraged to continue traditional trades, crafts and pastimes, whilst little museums scattered throughout the region explain the various aspects, both current and bygone, of rural life. The most important of these is the “Maison des Vieux Métiers Vivants”, a working craft museum just 6 miles from Coz Veil, at ARGOL. Here, enthusiastic local people dressed in traditional costume provide fascinating demonstrations of the working crafts of the area. Sampling the local speciality of crêpe and cider, for only 2 euros, sitting on trestles in the blacksmiths barn, is a must! Even closer, just 2 miles from Coz Veil, the The “Musée de L’École Rurale” is housed in an original school building and illustrates the daily activities of rural scholars in 1887.
Unlike some areas of Brittany, the Amorique Park is not intensively cultivated. Its landscapes are pleasantly wild and much of the countryside is hilly or undulating moorland, erupting in outcrops of toothy granite. The hill summits overlook a patchwork of gently hedged fields known as “bocage” country, plaited by a maze of rivers, lakes, and streams.
From the cottage there are several waymarked walks, through forest, field and bridleway, offering either a climb up the mountainside or flat walk along the coast. LA PASSAGE is a picturesque quay side just a 1/2mile relatively flat stroll.
Coz Veil sits at the foot of MENEZ HOM the highest peak in Brittany, although at only 330metres, it hardly qualifies as a mountain. Situated on the western extremity of Montages Noir (Black Mountains), its elevation above the surrounding countryside nevertheless makes it a good vantage point. Its slopes are rich in megaliths and from the summit views extend over the whole of the Crozon and Plougastel peninsulas and the Bay of Dournenez.
The nearest town, 7 miles, is CHÂTEAULIN, the Breton capital of salmon fishing, which straddles the longest waterway in Finistère, the river L’Aulne and the Brest – Nantes canal. The riverside towpath offers a pleasant walk through the placid scene of water meadows and steep wooded cliffs. The chapel of Notre Dame partly overhangs the town from a rocky hill and Port Launay usually has several large sailing ships moored at its picturesque historic quay, which is bordered with flowers.
Just 7 miles from Coz Veil, PENTREZ PLAGE and LESTREVET offer 2 miles of beautiful sandy beach. Lifeguards patrol and the beach is divided into sections for sunbathing and swimming; sand yachting; surfing; and kite flying. Sand yachts are for hire. At one end of the beach is a small village with shops and cafés, whilst at the other end is the isolation of natural sand dunes.
Only 11 miles from Coz Veil is LOCRONAN, “Petite Cite de Caractère” (small town of historical interest), which is claimed to be the most beautiful village in France. The magnificent cobbled square is surrounded by a perfectly preserved assembly of Renaissance merchants’ mini-mansions, all pedemented dormers and lopsided timbering. There are craft shops and studios selling tasteful souvenirs, ceramics, wood-carvings and woollens, whilst other residents make a living from tea shops, antique trading or health foods. The pony and trap tour is highly recommended.
The area has religious history and a visit to two of the local abbeys is recommended. The waterside LANDEVENEC ABBAYE is now a ruin but the history of the Benedictine Monks and their work at the Abbey is well portatrayed. Parts of the modern replacement Abbey nearby can also be visited. ABBAYE DE DAOULAS, some 10 miles north of Coz Veil, is fully restored and includes a large medicinal garden; the guide and many of the exhibition literature is in English.
Scoured daily by boisterous Atlantic tides, Brittany’s beaches are much cleaner and fresher than those around the soupy Mediterranean. The variety of coastal scenery on the CROZON PENINSULA means that there is some sort of beach for everyone; idyllic sheltered sandy coves and vast wild expanses of shingle, lively resort beaches equipped for any type of seaside sport, or remote hideaways for solitude.
At the tip of the Crozon Penbinsula stands CAMARET SUR MER. For many years it was the leading fishing port for spiny lobsters in France but, between 1955 and 1981, the lobster fishing industry dropped from 42 to 5 boats. The decaying wooden hulks of several large boats remain in the harbour as a testament. The Chapel of Rocamadour is built on the dike; its bell-tower was knocked down by an English cannon ball in 1694. Nearby Chateau Vauban is a unique monument of French architecture, and now houses a naval museum.
A 23 mile drive south is QUIMPER, the area capital and one of the pearls of Brittany; it is a maze of small streets and squares. Standing at the confluence of three rivers, the town also has many interesting quays and bridges, the ideal place for a summer afternoon stroll to smell the perfume of the horse chestnut trees. The Saint Corentin Cathedral was built in the 13th century and dominates the centre of the town.
For a big city day out, 32 miles north is BREST, It enjoys an exceptional location, on a plateau surrounded by deep waters. This explains the military and maritime significance of Brest over the last two thousand years. This also explains why during the last war Allied planes tried so hard to destroy the naval base, such that practically nothing of the old city remains. Modern Brest is a mix of stunning new buildings, wide avenues, huge squares, the biggest drawbridge in Europe and a new University. Océanopolis is a scientific and cultural centre of the sea and boasts the biggest open aquarium in Europe. The nearby National Botanical Conservatory holds specimens of some of the rarest plant species.