There can be few places on earth so charming and unspoiled as Brittany. Yet for all its natural appeal, there is more to the region than simply endless miles of sandy beaches, hidden coves and picture perfect rock pools. Take a little time to explore and you will find that Brittany also offers you historic sites that pre-date the pyramids, picturesque villages by the dozen, charming old towns such as St Malo and Quimper, and of course, the timeless grandeur of Mont St Michel.
Brittany is made up of the four departments of Finistère, Côtes-d’Armor, Ille-Et-Villaine and Morbihan that are all really individual. It has a rich history and is proud of its seafaring roots. It’s a popular holiday destination for us Brits with more than 600 km of stunning coastline with long sandy beaches, quiet undisturbed coves that enclose the north western tip of France and 27,500 sq. km of green and rolling countryside with quiet market towns. The Breton people are very similar to our own Cornish. They are hardy, down to earth and friendly and are closely involved with both sea and land which remain a strong part of their culture. You can still hear Breton being spoken in some parts and many a local tradition is celebrated at the many lively festivals held throughout the year.
Breton culture has deep roots and connects it to a long and lively past. Standing stones can be seen around Carnac and legend links the young King Arthur to the forests around Paimpont where he is said to have received Excalibur, his famous sword. Many bustling medieval towns such as Vanes, Dinan and Rennes, all have half-timbered buildings and well defended sea ports such as St. Malo, Fougères and Vitré show the strategic importance of the region throughout history. The natural beauty has been important to many artists in the past and the Pont-Aven has a large number of galleries showing the work of today’s artists.
When you are in France you have to think of food and the region is known for its excellent seafood Concarneau is very well known for the quality of its oysters and mussels but crepes, both sweet and savoury, are local specialities. Of course, local cider and the famous apple brandy that’s made from cider, Calvados, is also worth tracking down. Rich dairy produce including creams and soft cheeses are also local high points so it’s just as well there’s a great choice of activity to work off all those calories. Activities include sailing, windsurfing, fishing, golf, hiking, and mountain biking and horse riding.