In August, we spent a week in a small guest house in south Brittany called the Gites de Kervinic. Located a few minutes outside of the town of Quimper in Ergué-Gabéric, the gite is in a small rural town that is easily accessible by car. Brittany is made up of several smaller towns and cities, so having a car is highly recommended. We wanted to have a relaxing vacation with lots of room for the kids to run around, so we opted for a rural guest house rather than a city hotel, and I'm glad we did.
The Gites de Kervinic is a set of several cottages located across from the main house on a dairy farm. The owners, M. & Mme. Leroux, provided some backstory about the property, and it turns out that the land was once a communal settlement that dates back to the 1700s, and each guest house was once a family home. The cottages are built of solid stone on the outside, and have been renovated inside. Our cottage had a small kitchen, a large living room with a wood stove in the fireplace, a bathroom, and bedroom on the main floor. It also had a loft with a bedroom and sitting room with a desk and a futon. There were combination heaters/air conditioners inside, but the stone walls kept the cottage cool even though we were there during a heatwave the first three days, with temperatures hovering above 30C. I loved the rustic look of the cottages, and my kids thought the loft was their own secret hideaway!
Part of what helped us pick this particular location was the amenities it offers. We wanted someplace quiet, with a ton of space for the kids to play and things to do, but we didn't want somewhere with planned activities and scheduled days. The Gite de Kervinic has plenty of land for kids to enjoy, with a small playground on site. There's even a boules court, and each cottage comes with its own set of boules! My kids were entertained for hours! In addition, there is an old barn that has been converted to a games room, with pool tables and ping pong tables, puzzles, books, and games. They also have a collection of bicycles for borrowing, and our youngest spent most of his free time riding the small bike with training wheels.
The deciding factor for my husband and I was the swimming pool. Brittany is known for having unpredictable weather, even during the summer. The gite has a covered pool with a retractable roof. It allowed us to swim even when it was windy or raining, which was good because the heat wave tapered off into cooler weather as the week wore on. The pool was also the best kid-proof pool I've seen anywhere. There is a locked gate surrounding it, and each guest cottage is given a key for access. The water was heated and they had deck chairs and water toys for the kids to enjoy.
The biggest draw aside from the pool for my kids were the cows. The farm has a lot of land, and the cows are located in the fields surrounding the property. The proprietors were friendly and helpful, and were happy to teach the kids the basics of dairy farming, and even allowed them to see how the milk gets bottled and pasteurized. My son swore the milk we got from the farm was the best milk he had ever tasted in his life. It also helped our youngest get over his initial fear of the cows, by being able to get up and personal with them.
We spent most of our time outdoors, relaxing on the outdoor patio or playing in the pool. There are BBQs available, as well as a washer and dryer, so we were able to have clean clothes all week long! The farm also has two dogs, which made instant friends with my kids.
The week we visited the town was hosting a large market on the grounds of a nearby church, so we decided to check it out. The church itself dates back to the 1400s, so we took a quick tour inside, and then wandered the grounds. My boys took a pony ride, and then we purchased some local goods, including some wildflower honey. Cider is a local specialty of the region, and we were able to taste some local varieties and purchase a case to take back to Paris with us.
I love city vacations, but it can be hard to connect with locals in any meaningful way sometimes in a large city. We have recently been enjoying choosing accommodations that are a bit more small town or rural in location, and then venturing into the city on day trips. It seems to work particularly well for our children, because they get a chance to run around and be free after the sightseeing is done for the day.
We had a relaxing, enjoyable stay at the gite, for a very affordable price. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in quiet, relaxation, but who wants to be only a short car ride away from a bigger city.
Gites de Kervinic
- 29500 Ergue-Gaberic
- Website: http://giteskervinic.free.fr/
- Phone: 02 98 59 50 83