Campervan travels as a family in the Broceliande Forest are a truly magical experience.
If you love nature, folklore and celtic history then Brittany is a magnificent destination for your travels.
A local wizard by the name of Carl told us about the magical stories of the Broceliande Forest, King Arthur’s forest, Merlin’s tomb, the enchanted land of Morgan le Fay and (quite handy in practical terms) the fountain of eternal youth.
We parked up in the wonderful town of Paimpont. There are a number of free carparks with public toilets. There is also an Aire with toilet drop, water and electricity available (4 euros a night). A campsite is available if you are in need a shower but as we have found a lot on our travels around Brittany only open from April to September.
We found a perfectly adequate service station shower available for 2 euros just up the road.
There is a casual 2km walk around a lake, perfect for buggies, scooters or bikes and little legs. You can get a map in the friendly office de tourism.
The town is small but beautiful with a little mini-market, fairy pancake house, celtic themed and artisan craft shops.
The la porte des secrets experience is perfect for slightly older children to gain more indepth knowledge of the legends of the forest. Approximately a 1 hour experience (€8 for adults, €4.50 children 4-18 yrs) with audio-guide headphones available in a number of different languages including English.
Once you leave Paimpont there are a number of different park ups to explore.
Our top choice for fun with small children has to be the Golden tree outside the village of Tréhorenteuc.
Play in the woodland stream and waterfall under the watchful eye of the Golden Tree. (Handy tip: pack wellies or bring a towel!) See if you can spot fairies in the reflection of the lake.
If you park in the car park on the outskirts of Tréhorenteuc, it is only a 10 minute walk up a woodland track to the Golden tree, waterfall and fairy lake. After that you can explore further on the 4km walk through the woods to reach Val Sans Retour (Valley of No Return!) the mythical land of Morgan le Fay, King Arthur’s half sister if you are brave enough.
We left a fairy crown and gifts from the forest on the highest rock to ensure safe passage!
There is the 1000 year, 10m diameter ancient oak tree (Le Chêne à Guillotinworth) worth paying a visit and giving a cuddle whilst you are here. There is an easy car park, 5 minutes walk from the tree.
Before leaving you must think about making a visit to Merlin’s tomb. A beautiful area of woodland to explore (easy carpark about 10 minutes walk away) we spent a whole day exploring the paths, leaving nature treasures at Merlin’s grave and dipping our toes in the fountain of eternal youth.
It is possible to whiz round all the main sites of interest in a day but much more enjoyable to stretch it out over a few days if possible. There are so many beautiful walks to meander along and folk stories to learn about.
The whole area is so fun to explore, but especially great for campervan families of any age on a small travel budget, looking for outdoor adventures.