The expression « most beautiful bay » makes us think of the Caribbean, French Polynesia or the Whitsunday Islands.
However, there is a little paradise to be found at the West coast of France:
The Gulf of Morbihan
Behind the Quiberon peninsula, well sheltered from the Bay of Biscay, hides the Gulf of Morbihan, an interior sea which is ranked among the world’s most beautiful bays in the world. Just take a glimpse at the satellite image of the region and you’ll be convinced that this place is really special. There are some 40 islands and islets inside the Gulf area, hundreds of sheltered bays and coves. In basically every single bay you’ll find dozens of sailing and motor boats tied to their mooring-buoys. The Gulf of Morbihan is a real paradise – for nature lovers and for water sports enthusiasts, in particular.
So, probably the best way to discover this unique Gulf and experience the environment at first hand is to get on the water, hoist the sails and navigate around the area. However, it’s the end of the boating season in France and the days are getting shorter. For Australians, the 1st of December has just announced the beginning of the summer season, time for outdoor activities from morning to night. For water sports enthusiasts in Europe, though, it’s time to take the boat out of the water and transport her to the dockyard. Time to stay inside and plan next year’s sailing trips on the computer.
Nevertheless, it appears that the Gulf of Morbihan is a lovely place to be, whatever the season. The sailors here seem to follow the Australian calendar: Even on a quite cold November morning you’ll see several boats cruising on the “Mor-Bihan”, or “little sea”.
We wanted to profit from this nice pre-winter morning, as well, so we set off from “Port Navalo” on the very popular “J/24” – a 7,30m long sailing boat – to explore the “Rivière d’Auray” at the western end of the “Golfe du Morbihan”. It’s typical of this bay that the wind is rather shifty and the tidal current fairly strong between the islets. But what a great atmosphere sailing up the picturesque Auray river! No annoying noises, just a gentle lapping of the water and the sound of chirping birds. Once the sails are up, the boat glides smoothly through the water past numerous mooring areas and all these islands with its little forests on top. This is quite exceptional: sailing surrounded by greenery!
On our way back south we hoist the big spinnaker and enjoy some excellent downwind sailing before returning to the port. In the Gulf of Morbihan, the distances are quite short (some 15 kms from the entrance of the Gulf to its northern edge), but as there are so many little islands and bays to discover you could actually spent weeks just cruising around. Well, that could be a project for the next summer…
So, here’s the recommendation
If you’re heading to France, don’t miss out the Gulf of Morbihan. Rent a Kayak, sailing boat or a dinghy. The scenery is amazing and the local cuisine, as well: Taste the “Quiche”, the regional “Galettes Bretonnes” or the traditional “Far Breton” cake…mmhh