Occupying the rugged northwestern tip of France, Brittany is the wildest and most untamed of all the French regions. Buffeted by the Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel, the coastline is strewn with lighthouses, rocky coves, and windswept heaths. Along a coastline where steep cliffs give way to fine sandy beaches, historic fishing villages nestle side by side with renowned seaside resorts. Inland, the heath merges into rolling hills and lakes and marshes conceal oases of green.
Brittany did not become part of France until 1547. This independence, along with its relative isolation from the rest of the country, has created a distinctive Breton culture, language and heritage closely related to those of Scotland, Cornwall and Ireland.
Brittany is a region proud of its roots and has successfully retained its customs and traditions. History and legend have given rise to an outstanding artistic heritage.
Brittany is the most popular summer resort area in France after the Cote d’Azur. The unspoilt white sandy beaches, soaring cliffs and offshore islands attract thousands of tourists each year. Some of the finest beaches in the province include those at Carnac, Quiberon, Saint Malo and Dinard. Dinard has been a seaside resort since the turn of the century. Carnac is home to some of the world’s most important megalithic sites. The megaliths stretch for 13 kilometres north and east of the town.
A long, jagged coastline is the region’s great attraction. Magnificent beaches line its northern shore, swept clean by huge tides and interspersed with well-established seaside resorts seasoned fishing ports and abundant oyster beds. The south coast is gentler, with wooded river valleys and a milder climate, while the west, being exposed to the Atlantic winds, has a drama that justifies the name Finistere, – the end of the earth.
Inland lies the Argoat,- once the land and the forest, now an area of undulating fields, woods and rolling moorland. Parc Régional d’Armorique occupies much of, central Finistère, and it is in western Brittany that Breton culture remains most evident.
Visit Quimper, the cultural and artistic capital .In Quimper, and in the Pays Bigouden, crêpes and cider, traditional costumes and Celtic music are still a genuine part of the Breton lifestyle.
Vannes, Dinan and Rennes, have well preserved medieval quarters where half-timbered buildings shelter inviting markets, shops, crèperies and restaurants.
The capital of Brittany has been Rennes since the 16th century. Drink a coffee in the attractive old city.
The Paimpont Forest lies 40 kilometers to the south of Rennes. It is here, according to Arthurian legend, that the young Arthur received the sword Excalibur from the fairy Vivian. Mysterious and enchanting. Brittany is an unforgettable holiday destination.
Entering Brittany by Rennes, Nantes, Saint-Malo or Roscoff, you’ll discover a region with many faces and a rich architectural heritage. Modern like Lorient and Brest, medieval like Dinan et Vitré, or gallo-roman like Rennes and Vannes, cities of Brittany sprean their charms at sea “Armor” as well as in lands “Argoat”. Cities listed below;
Visit the important naval port of Brest or dine in the Channel port of Roscoff. You must take a trip to the mysteriously beautiful Ile d’Ouessant. Lying 20 kilometres from the mainland, it is a great place to observe Breton traditions and customs.
The town of Vannes in south-central Brittany is a lively medieval town with some interesting museums and excellent restaurants.
Brittany is famous for its monuments, which are scattered over the peninsula, the largest alignments are near Carnac.
Brittany is also known for the calvaires (calvaries), elaborately carved sculptures of crucifixion scenes, to be found in churchyards of villages and small towns, especially in Western Brittany.
The walled city of Saint-Malo, a popular tourist attraction, is also an important port linking Brittany with the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands.
How to get there
BY AIR ;
Airports : Brest: Tel. 33(0)2.98.32.01.00
A great road network leads to Brittany. By the A11, it takes about 3 hours to get from paris to brittany. Rennes, its capital is linked by a double carriageway to Nantes.From nantes, you can take the
Motorway to Bordeaux. Rennes is also linked to caen by a linked road to the Estuary motorways (Calais-Biarritz). From Rennes there are toll-free expressways leading to all important Breton cities.
Highspeed train: Every day between 7:00 am 1:00 pm, departure quite every hour, from Paris Montparnasse to Rennes (normaly around 2 hours), Brest (normaly around 4 hours) and Quimper (normaly around 4 hours).
Brittany Ferries have a Cruise and High Speed service which sail from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth to Cherbourg, Caen, Roscoff, St Malo in France and Santander in northern Spain. With regular departures.
Many buses to the important rail links and great service to all the important towns of brittany too.
This annual festival takes place at the beginning of August. The Interceltic Festival is the biggest music festival in Europe – it includes over 4,000 celtic artists and 500,000 spectators.
Tombees de la Nuit
Tombees de la Nuit takes place each year at the beginning of July. Events consist of concerts, storytelling performances, plays and other forms of entertainment, which take place throughout the city on open-air stages.
Address: . Rennes
Festival de Cornouaille
Jul 15 to 23
For nine days at the end of July, the annual Festival de Cornouaille celebrates both popular and traditional Breton culture with music, dance, art and more.
Address: . Quimper
Eating Dining Shopping
The buckwheat pancake is the one Breton speciality. Very thin, wide pancakes made from buckwheat flour and called galettes are eaten with ham, eggs and other savoury fillings. Thin crêpes made from wheat flour are eaten for dessert. Other pastries such as kouign amann (“butter cake” in Breton) made from bread dough, butter and sugar, or far, a sort of sweet Yorkshire pudding or clafoutis with prunes, are traditional.
There are many locally made products. The specialty meats and of course surrounded by the sea is the seafood, mussels, oysters and the specialty cotriade.
Although some white wine is produced near the Loire, the traditional drinks of Brittany are:
Cider – Brittany is the second largest cider-producing region in France – a sort of mead made from wild honey called chouchen – an apple brandy called lambic.
Some beers are also now produced, although the region does not have a strong tradition of brewing. Another recent drink is the kir Breton (crème de cassis and cider) which may be served as an apéritif.
In the early Middle Ages, Brittany was divided into three kingdoms – Domnonia, Cornouaille, and Bro Waroch – which eventually were incorporated into the Duchy of Brittany.
The first unified Kingdom of Brittany was founded by Nominoë in 845 when the Breton army defeated Charles the Bald, King of France, at the battle of Ballon, near Redon in the east of Brittany near the French border.
After the French army was defeated once again in 846 at the battle of Janlan by the army of King Nominoë, Charles the Bald recognised the independence of Brittany.
In 1491, Duchess Anne was married to Charles VIII and subsequently Louis XII, King of France from 1499. This was a first step towards the unification of Brittany and France.
In 1675, in the reign of Louis XIV, “the stamp duty revolt” challenged indirect taxation and was brutally repressed. The Brittany parliament was exiled to Vannes. A provincial administrator was appointed to Brittany in 1688.
From 1760 to 1770, the struggle between the Duke d’Aiguillon and de la Charolais, the procureur général and king’s representative, demonstrated parliamentary opposition to the monarchy. From 1793 and the execution of Louis XVI, part of Brittany switched to supporting the Chouannerie movement which fought against the revolutionaries.
In the 20th century Brittany paid a heavy price during both world wars. In the first conflict 300 000 Bretons were killed. By the end of the Second World War, numerous towns had been completely destroyed. The region benefited from “Les Trente Glorieuses”, a thirty-year boom period after the war, enjoying major economic development and rediscovering its culture and traditions.
Useful telephone numbers
Emergency Number 112
Airport Information;Tel: 02 98 32 01 00
Train station: 08 36 35 35 35
Tourist Office: Tél : 02.99.28.44.30
Holiday rents online:
National Transport Line