Brittany France is a very pretty region and is situated in the most westerly point in Europe stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean. The name Brittany literally means 'Little Britain' and it was here that the Celtic peoples from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Cornwall sought asylum many years ago during the Dark Ages.
Holidays in Brittany are a good choice as there is something for everyone and you will want to come back for more. It is one of the most popular regions for people from the U.K. as it is near to the south coast of England.
Today, Brittany is divided into four departments:
Morbihan - Places to visit in this department include
Belle-Ile-en-Mer - 'Beautiful Island at sea' and very much just that! If you want a getaway form it all break this is perfect. This is where Monet created some of his paintings. Visit the needle rocks of Port Coton to see these rocky formations standing in the beautiful turquoise waters.
Cacarn - Here you will see the famous but strange unique standing stones of Carnac. There is also a beautiful family seaside resort and a state-of-the-art Thalassotherapy centre.
Domaine de Kerguéhennec - an 18th Century château which is used nowadays as a sculpture park.
Golfe du Morbihan - or Gulf of Morbihan is a natural harbour which is a paradise for boat trips and birdlife. There are many megalithic monuments and stone circles to see which are fascinating.
Josselin -Something for everyone here including its beautiful castle which still remains home to the Rohan family; a doll museum and some fantastic forest walks for those who love the outdoor life.
Quiberon - Rugged coastline and beautiful sandy beaches; fishing villages where you can see the fishermen unload their daily catch; St-Pierre-Quiberon is the main and where most things take place. Here you will find the most wonderful fish restaurants, chandler’s shops, art galleries, home deco boutiques.
La Roche-Bernard - this is a fortified village built on water between Vannes and Nantes. It has a wonderful outdoor market on a Thursday and you can sample the local honey and excellent cuisine.
Armour Regional Nature Park - Beautiful conservation area with a huge variety of wildlife.
Concarneau - Here you can climb the ramparts of the Vile Close or visit the Musée de Pêche. For food lovers there is the wonderful criée (fish auction) or you can take a boat trip to the Îles de Glénan.
Le Conquet -You can follow the lighthouse trail which is along North Finistère’s Côte des Abers.
Douarnenez - Port -Rhu and the boat museum on Douamenez harbour are really worth seeing.
Guimiliau - here the little church is beautiful with its renaissance sculpture.
Locronan - an historic village where you can see the lovely craft studios.
Morlaix - you can walk across the viaduct to take in a fantastic view of this town.
Océanopolis - Here you can see one of Europe’s largest Aquarians.
Pointe du Raz - This is the coastal promontory where you can take in the dramatic coastal views of Brittany France and watch the tides as they race past the Île de Sein.
Pont-Aven - named after the river that runs through the village. Now famous because of the post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin who found this beautiful little place was an artist’s paradise. Lovely walks and appetising cuisine.
Quimper - this is known as the cultural capital of Brittany. Very much a strong Breton feel in this beautiful town and the Festival de Cornouaille is a must to see if you visit in July every year.
Roscoff - an old harbour town where it is home to Onion Johnnies! In August each year they hold the Fête de l' Oignon and you can enjoy onion tarts and the famous French onion soup. For music fans there is the equivalent to Glastonbury with the Les Vieilles Charrues
St-Pol-de-Léon - named after one of the saints who found Brittany, Saint Paul Aurelian and has a beautiful cathedral the Saint Paul Aurélien Cathedral.
Côte de'Emeraude - The Emerald coast - Here you will see a rugged stretch of coastline with breathtaking views. Many of these fantastic views were captured on canvas by the 19th century artists.
Côte de Granit Rose -an unforgettable stretch of a dramatic russet granite coastline make this an outstanding area of Brittany France. The beautiful pink rose coloured granite is used as building material along this area and is in contrast to the grey stone in other areas of this region.
Dinan - A beautiful old town and the best way of seeing it is on foot. There are quaint cobbled streets from the old quarter that lead down to the pretty little port. The buildings of Dinan are so picturesque with their lopsided buildings and colourful displays of flowers. There are many art galleries, craft shops and restaurants to explore and wonder at.
Île De Bréhat - a traffic free retreat for bicycling and walking. The area is so picturesque and once you have seen this beautiful area you will realise why it deserves investigating.
Lamballe - This area is definitely worth a visit as the area is so beautiful with its old quarter of timbered buildings. If you are a horse lover you will want to visit the Haras National (the national stud) where you will see some of the Breton draught horses. There are guided tours from mid July until late August.
There is also a wonderful folk museum showing costumes, ceramics, tools and prehistoric items. You can also see works by the local artist Mathurin Méheut who also designed jewellery and wall paper as well as painting Breton fishing scenes and local life.
Paimpol - This is a working port with in-shore fishing and oyster farming. There is a lively market every Tuesday where many visitors are not disappointed with the atmosphere and the handsome old buildings and shop fronts.
Cancale - This is Brittany's oyster capital and if you want to sample their fruits de mer this is the place to dine.
Dinard -Once a small sea port but later discovered by the British and Americans who built beautiful seaside villas overlooking the fantastic bay. It remains today, a chic expensive resort and has strong links to Anglo-Saxon connections with an air link to London.
Fourgėres - This picturesque border town has fortifications which were built against attack from the east. A petit train called the Oriental Express will take you up the hill from the chateau
Hédé - with a commentator tour.
Mont St Michel - This beautiful and famous fortified area is separated from the mainland by quick sands and tides. The Mount was originally an island in the sea and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can have a guided tour of the abbey which is often referred to as La Merveille or 'the wonder'.
St-Malo - This lovely town is best seen on arrival by sea. On this approach the waterfront is truly majestic. Most of the main attractions are within walking distance of the port's terminals and the Tourist Office just outside the walls will help you with a range of maps and guides.
Vitré - A beautiful preserved medieval town with picturesque half-timbered houses and a formidable castle.
The black and white Breton flag or the Gwenn ha du represent the ancient bishoprics of Upper and Lower Brittany France and can be seen flying everywhere in the area.
Folklore and traditions play a large part in the region and there are legends such as those of King Arthur and the Round Table around the forest of Brocéliande (Paimpont) where they set out in search of the Holy Grail.
The region of Brittany France has the most beautiful coastal scenery and a heritage of castles, churches and historic towns and villages. These are just one of the reasons to visit this area of Brittany France - the other is Brittany food! Yes, food here is fantastic. So if you are a lover of French food you'll certainly not be disappointed with its choice of French food.
Things to do in
There are many things for everyone! Brittany is a wonderful place if you enjoy outdoor pursuits and if you are keen the tourism authorities have specialist brochures on most of the activities.
Some activities include bicycling; boating; bird watching; canoeing and kayaking; diving; fishing; golf; horse-riding; sailing; sand yachting; surfing; thalassotherapy; and of course walking.
For more gentle
family activities there are
beautiful sandy stretches where you can build the biggest of sand castles and children will want to explore the rock
There are many festivals and events in all departments of Brittany France from musical events, artistic events and religious. In fact, something for everyone to enjoy.
As for eating in Brittany France, you will have a wonderful choice everywhere you go from restaurants, brasseries and bistros, markets stalls and of course, not forgetting the most famous Brittany criéperies selling both sweet and savoury filled crêpes, in all villages and towns - an inexpensive way to feed all the family!
This is just a glimpse of Brittany France, I hope you get to experience the real thing, it really is a wonderful place to be.
For holiday accommodation in Brittany and elsewhere in France, take a look over at Frenchconnections.co.uk where there is something to suit everyone for holidays all year round.