A favoured holiday destination for French and Brits, it’s 600 kms of fine, sandy coastline curves around the north western tip of France, with fertile countryside and quaint market towns.
The Breton people are hardy, down to earth and friendly. They remain close to the land, the sea and their culture. Breton is still spoken in a few areas and local traditions are upheld at the many lively festivals and fest noz of the summer months.
The region is known for its excellent seafood, sweet crepes and savoury buckwheat pancakes, cider, 'galettes' biscuits and delicious Kouign-Amman cake. It offers a wide variety of sports including sailing, windsurfing, fishing, golf, hiking, mountain biking and horse riding.
Known by the Celts as Armorica, 'land of the sea', Brittany has a long and lively past. Prehistoric megaliths (standing stones) rise up from the ground around Carnac and it is said that young King Arthur received the sword of Excalibur from the fairy Vivian in the Paimpont Forest, 40 kms south of Rennes. Half-timbered buildings characterize the bustling, medieval towns of Vannes, Dinan and Rennes, while the castles and fortresses of Saint Malo, Fougères and Vitré bear witness to Brittany’s strategic location.
The region has attracted many artists and the lovely town of Pont-Aven is lined with galleries showing works of painters past and present. From cornfield to oyster bed, woodland walk to long sandy beach, modern shipping port to charming, historical town, there is something for everyone in this varied and dynamic region. Rennes, situated in Ille-et-Villaine, has been Brittany’s capital since the 16th century. Home to the Breton houses of parliament, it is a hive of cultural activity, nurtured by the large student population.
The Côtes-d'Armor on the northern shore is lined with seaside resorts, pink granite coves and traditional fishing ports. Morbihan, on the southern coast is backed by wooded river valleys and has a gentler feel and a milder climate. Exposed to the rough Atlantic winds, Finistère in the west has drama. The name aptly means 'the end of the earth'.