I like to think everyone has a happy place - not just in your head, you know? The sort of place where you step off the plane or you climb out the car, and you take a deep breath and instantly feel your shoulders relax.
My happy place is St Briac-sur-mer, on the Breton coast.
Brittany can be quite typically touristy, and busy in August, especially if you hit the tourist traps like St Malo (I still love St Malo, as evidenced by my many photographs ). But if you head twenty minutes down the road, over the barrage, and through the sand dunes, you'll find St Briac.
St Briac is wild. St Briac is messy. St Briac is twisty roads and grand old sea captains' houses nestled into the cliffs. St Briac is yachts and dinghies and sailboats moored in the mud while the tide is out. St Briac is stumbling down sandy pathways and tripping over rocks until you find a hidden beach. St Briac is clambering through pools and up to rocky islands you can only reach at low tide, before racing the waves back to your belongings before they swallow up the sand. It's beautiful and savage and clear and friendly and welcoming, all at once.
If you want a more traditional, civilised beach, wander over the cap to St Lunaire, have an ice cream on the sand, and a crepe in a café. If you fancy medieval architecture, charmingly wonky buildings, and a vibrant market, trundle on down the road to Dinard.
Otherwise, just kick back, open the rosé, and enjoy the peace of St Briac.
I've posted about my trips here before, in 2013 and 2014. It's not the sort of place that needs a hundred words - just look at those landscapes, imagine the breeze and the sun, and the silence - that's all you need here. I read five books and sun-burned my leg and ate my own weight in paysan baguette with Camembert. It was the perfect restorative getaway.
Where's your happy place?