Camping L'Anse du Brick
With a location to die for, it could be easy for this campsite to sit back and watch the punters roll in, barely lifting a finger. Just 15 minutes from the international port of Cherbourg, Camping L’Anse du Brick could simply be full of ferry-bound stopovers looking for a one-night pit stop and a few hours of shuteye. The Patrizi family, it seems, are not ones to rest on their laurels however. And since its founding in 1968 this place has done nothing but improve, crafting itself into a destination in its own right; a campsite for holidays and not just another port-side service station.
A former quarry, once running stone to the industrial ships, the green landscaped slope of Camping L’Anse du Brick is now a campsite abundant in offerings with a family-friendly vibe. Despite the camping cornucopia of tennis courts, volleyball, ping-pong, playgrounds, swimming pools and waterslides, the jewel here remains the more natural treasures on the doorstep. It’s a vehicle-free, 200 metre wander from tent to beach, where a crescent of sand perforates at its edges into boulders that run around to each headland, poking out into the sparkly azure. It’s an easy place to lose a day or three, paddling in the sheltered waters or dipping around in rock pools, watching tiny crabs scurry sideways between the stones. An excellent footpath also runs along the beach and around the scenic coastline. The beautifully named GR 223 dips and climbs around the waterfront, a long distance walking route taking in the famous Normandy beaches.
The campsite itself is a sizeable place, with 143 pitches of varying sizes and a decent number of them with beautiful sea-views. Flower peppered hedges divide up the spaces and provide a sense of privacy, while the three, tiered levels of the site are each flat and well drained – though its worth bringing sturdy tent pegs as the ground hardens in the summer. Facilities here are immaculate; spotlessly clean, fresh and modern with mood music even piped into the toilet blocks so you can absorb a little feel-good Zen when you start the day. There is also a small bar and takeaway onsite, though if you take the path down to the beach and turn left La Maison Rouge is a more popular option. Unbeatable views of the bay and fine French food make it a real on-the-doorstep treat, no doubt the exact reason that the campsite bought the restaurant in recent years and now keeps it going without spoiling the authentic, local feel.
Peace and quiet is not exactly the number one attraction here, not in high season at least, and any campsite with two swimming pools despite a beach on the doorstep certainly has an edge of commercialisation to note. But it’s clear to see that this is still a family run site perfect for those looking to explore the riches of the Normandy coast. There’s still the smell of fresh bread and croissants from the bakery (a staple at any self-respecting French campsite), there’s still the plonk of metal balls on the pétanque court and there’s still the early summer buzz of seasonal mosquitoes. Camping L’Anse du Brick, then, retains its Gallic charm, its beachside location and its plethora of activities. Oh and did we mention it's still just 15 minutes from the ferry?
FacilitiesIn total there are 20 showers, 16 toilets and laundry facilities with 4 washing and 4 drying machines. The heated indoor swimming pool is open from April until the end of September and the outdoor pool with water-slide is open from May to mid September. There is a tennis court, games room and play areas along with a kids club (6-12yrs) during July and August. Bicycles and kayaks can be hired on site and the surrounding 300 hectares of land are perfect for woodland and waterfront walks. Wifi is available throughout the site at an extra charge.
Tents, campervans, caravans, dogs – yes. Groups in low season.
For most here the hours are spent splashing in the sea and exploring the crescent shaped sandy beach in the bay. Those willing to venture out in the car, though, should try Cherbourg, (0033 233 935 202) where, down by the port, The Cité de la Mer (0033 233 202 669) has an excellent aquarium and nautical history museum, including U-boats from World War II. If the history here has you intrigued then it is well worth the drive to Utah Beach (0033 233 715 335) and St. Mere Eglise (40km), landing spots during D-Day. The highest cliffs in Europe can be found at the Nez de Jobourg a similar distance from the campsite, though if you don't fancy the drive, a coastal walk from the site is still rewarding, with excellent views as the cliffs rise out of the bay towards Cap Lévi.
Food & DrinkOnsite there is a panoramic restaurant (0033 233 433 405), reputable with the locals, with fantastic views across the bay. There's also a pizzeria (0033 233 541 999), a licensed bar and a small takeaway. There is a campsite grocery store with most of the food you're after, though you're better off bagging some stuff in town; Cherbourg (a 15 minute drive). This is also the place to go for eating-out options, with some great places to enjoy an evening meal as you watch the ships come and go from the port. In the other direction, try Auberge du Tue-Vaques (0033 233 443 477), 4 minutes from the site.
April - September.
From Cherbourg port follow signs for Caen and Rennes. After third roundabout, take slip road to right towards Bretteville-en-Saire (D116).
From southeast on N13 at first (Auchan) roundabout, take slip road to right towards Tourlaville (N13 car ferry), ahead at next roundabout, right at third lights on D116 to Bretteville.
Continue for 7 km. Site signed on the right.The nearest train station and bus links are 10km away in Cherbourg.
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