We pulled into Carnac late one evening in October. With no reservations, the first cute house with a B&B sign caught our attention and we asked for a room. The American woman running the place was getting ready to close for the season. We offered her cash for two nights and she showed us our room. The beautiful 200 year old stone home had been converted to a small boutique hotel dozens of years ago and updated as time went along with more power, wifi, and modern bathrooms. But Carnac France was not at all what we expected at the end of our journey.
That trip began in Amsterdam and took us across the top of Belgium and France all the way to the Atlantic. “How’s the weather been for you in October?” our hostess asked. “Rain, some sun, windy” we replied. “Oh, it always rains over in France.” (What? I thought we were in France?) “No dear, this is Brittany!” Brittany is one of the Celtic Nations along with Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. The locals consider themselves Celtic and not French although they speak the language. We went to a Saturday Market and heard a local band playing a variation of the bagpipes. The town is best known for its 3,000 standing stones – many facing the ocean. We thought they might look like giants guarding the coast if you were looking from a boat. This is an old place!
Carnac is a seaside community where Parisians flock in the summer to escape the heat. The beach is a huge sandy place lined with stately old and new hotels. It was not hard to imagine the town in the peak of the summer season with all the restaurants open and bustling souvenir shops. Most of it was closed this day in October, but we enjoyed having the town pretty much to ourselves. The waitress in our cute café was a local college student who was sad to see the season over.
Carnac would be a great little town to spend any season of the year. It’s not too cold or hot. Storms occasionally blow up from Spain. Here’s what we found.
Population: About 5,000 people live here year round.
Weather: Mild weather all year. This is a coastal Atlantic town with weather coming up from Spain. Warmer than you might think.
Crime: There is very little crime in this area. We saw a number of police patrolling the area.
Housing: We found this 4 bedroom (you will have a lot of visitors!) 2 bath home near the city center for just over $300,000 US. Apartments/condos are also available in the area at much better prices. You can find long term rentals in the area for $1400 per month. Short term rentals in the summer are like gold.
The best parts: Not too crowded. Wonderful restaurants. Beaches to die for. Cultural sites and experiences. Something very different in France. About 180 miles from Paris. And the pottery! This region is known for its beautiful pottery painting!
We have no idea when fate or fortune will take us back to Carnac – there is the whole world to see! But if you are looking for a beach community in France, you might want to give Carnac serious consideration!