Welcome to invigorating Brittany. Rugged coastlines, jagged cliffs and spectacular seascapes make this region ideal for back to nature breaks.
Its 2,700 kilometres (1,677 miles) of coastline dotted with fine sandy beaches, cliffs and secluded islands are a perfect reason to visit. But Brittany also has glorious countryside and numerous historic cities. In this land of legends discover countless beautiful towns like enchanting Gacilly, famous for its arts and crafts heritage.
Must-sees in Brittany
Rennes to Brest
In Rennes, the superb 17th century Parliament building and its cobbled streets lined with medieval half-timbered houses, reflect the illustrious history of this ancient capital. It has a trendy side too. The 14th century Couvent des Jacobins has been transformed into a stylish conference centre hosting concerts and art exhibitions.
Not far from the city of Quimper, Pont-Aven is known as for its popularity with painters in the late 19th century who flocked here to capture its beauty, leading to the formation of the École de Pont-Aven art movement.
Head west to Brest! At Océanopolis Park take a tour of the world’s oceans without leaving the harbour. Its three pavilions, 77 aquariums and more than 10,000 animals make for a fabulous visit. The park is located on the Sentier des Douaniers (Customs Trail), the famous GR 34 coastal path which runs for 2000 kilometres (1,242 miles) and was voted the favourite hiking trail of the French.
The Pink Granite Coast
The Pink Granite Coast is famous for its rocky coastline. From Trébeurden to the island of Bréhat the magnificent landscape is filled with thousands of granite blocks shaped by the ocean, adding an almost otherworldly look to the sandy bays and tiny islands. In Ploumanac'h, a charming and historic little town with half-timbered houses, the burned copper hues of the granite landscape is spread over the ocean floor and covers more than 25 hectares... The Bay of Saint-Brieux is perfect for those who seek an active holiday, with wonderful coastal scenery punctuated with cliffs and sand dunes, seaside resorts and fishing ports. At low tide, the sea retreats more than 7 kilometres (4 miles), to create a fabulous playground for fishing enthusiasts.
High tides at Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo experiences some of the highest tides in Europe. To see this phenomenon at its best, view the ocean from the top of the city’s 12th century ramparts.
The lure of island life is strong in Brittany. The Gulf of Morbihan, known as the "small sea", is officially one of the most beautiful bays in the world. A string of islands float off the coast including the Ile-d'Arz with its wild moors and the Île aux Moines (Monks Island), irresistibly pretty with its traditional fishermen's houses and flower decked streets featuring colourful camelia bushes. It’s the largest of 15 inhabited islands in a group known as the Ponant Islands scattered between the Channel and the Atlantic.
From the forest of Brocéliande to the Route du Rhum
Brittany is a land of legends. In the mysterious forest of Brocéliande, the trees, moors and ponds whisper stories of King Arthur, awakening the spirits of the wizard Merlin and the fairy Viviane. Meanwhile out on the ocean, if Brittany’s lighthouses could talk they would tell tales of epic storms: Tévennec Lighthouse is on an isolated rock that’s reputed to be haunted, and La Jument Lighthouse is famously perched on tiny island rock. In Saint-Malo, between the high tides, it’s fun to watch ferries and ships come and go. The city of “corsairs” (pirates) now has a new maritime role: for the past 40 years, the greatest navigators of the world have gathered there to take part in the famous Route du Rhum yacht race which runs from Saint Malo to Guadeloupe.
It’s well known that the sea air gives you an appetite! In Brittany you’re in the right place though, it’s full of tasty treats. It’s an even better experience at the beach with a packet of galettes from Pont-Aven or a slice of Breton ‘far’, a light and fluffy flan. They share an essential ingredient – generous amounts of butter. When it comes to enjoying a great lunch or delicious dinner, taste the freshest oysters or scallops from Cancale. Head to the markets and do as the locals – munch on a galette saucisse (a pancake with a sausage) washed down with Breton cider. And take home a scrumptious souvenir - superb salted butter caramels. Made in Quiberon, these sweet treats even inspire Michelin starred chefs!