Discovering the French coast is a boat owner’s dream - and it’s now easier than ever before.
Travelling between different marinas has never been simpler, thanks to MDL Marinas’ Freedom Berthing: an unparalleled berthing package encompassing over 120 marina locations spanning the UK, France, Spain and Italy. Passeport Escales supplements MDL’s Freedom Berthing programme to create the largest marina network in Europe; booking a berth on the continent is easier than ever before, and lighter on the pocket too, and with the addition of two new ports in the beautiful heart of Brittany, there has never been a better time to explore.
The first addition is Port la Forêt, an expanding and bustling marina based in La Cale, Brittany. Boasting an easy access to the Glenan Archipelago; a collection of stunning islands with crisp, sweeping white sands, clear, turquoise waters and, in April, blooms of the protected Glénan Narcissus flower carpeting the islands. The main island of the ‘Breton Tahiti’ cluster, as it’s commonly known, is Saint Nicholas. Authentic local cuisine headlines and proves the perfect way to unwind after days spent at the international diving school and walking France’s smallest nature reserve – once a hotbed of lobster and langoustine farming in the 19th century.
From Saint Nicholas, at low tide, a ribbon of sand opens up a pathway to Bananec Island – renowned around the world for its non-profit sailing school, open to adults and teenagers and teaching in both English and French.
Port La Forêt itself is a must for those looking to experience the best of Northern France. It also holds a rich cultural legacy in the world of sailing, being both the first deep-water marina in the region, as well as one of offshore racing’s leading training centres. The Port is just a short journey from the picturesque town of La Forêt-Fouesnant, a stunning hub of sun-drenched beaches, tranquil walks and evocative architecture that make it unlike anywhere else in the region. Nearby Penfret Island is home to an iconic lighthouse and semaphore while Île Cigogne is recognisable by its prominent fort – built in the 18th century to keep pirates at bay.
The second marina to be added is Vie Portuaire; set in the heart of the historic town of Concarneau. It is regularly the site of regattas due to its stunning beauty, whilst also boasting outstanding facilities for its 767 berths. Easily accessible 24 hours a day, Vie Portuaire opens up the best path from the marina to the city centre, and is the gateway to vibrant Concarneau. On offer are a variety of tourist activities including the ville close, walled town, where visitors can step back in time wandering the narrow, cobbled streets filled with restaurants and shops to discover. Or, visitors can head up high along the ramparts to enjoy the scenic route and enjoy views over the marina and the fishing harbour.
Concarneau has a rich, living history, with a fishing industry that goes back hundreds of years and is thriving today as much as when it first began, and is celebrated each summer in le Festival des filets bleus (festival of the blue nets) with dancing, sea shanties and well-stocked fish markets. For the history and architecture enthusiasts, the Château de Keriolet, on the town’s outskirts has been restored to its former glory for tours, showing how it changed from the 15th century to the gothic 19th century.
Discover European adventures, culture and beauty with MDL Marinas’ Passeport Escales.