Feel Brittany: Wild seaside drama and medieval history

 

Brittany: Discover dramatic cliffs, beautiful beaches and islands, dense forests and stunning medieval architecture in this welcoming north-western French region just across the Channel. Go diving, sailing or riding; savour fresh seafood and indulgent buttery pastries; dance to the rhythms of traditional music played by local bands.

 

Well suited to explorers, Brittany is a land of geographical variety, with a rugged coastline and gentle inland countryside. Great beaches are everywhere you look, but there’s much more to the region than rocks and sand: it was once proudly independent from France and its pan-Celtic traditions have been kept very much alive in its music, language and artisan crafts. Take a step back in time as you visit Brittany’s medieval walled towns, fascinating museums, fairytale châteaux and splendid malouinières (18th-century country residences).

 

Recharge and reinvigorate in the bracing sea air of Saint-Malo, Dinard with its stately British villas and film-set atmosphere, and along the Emerald Coast famed for its oysters. From Morbihan to Côtes-d’Armor via Finistère, you can try an introduction to sailing or fish from the beach with the children; listen to the cries of the seagulls; admire the fine lighthouses; taste savoury and sweet pancakes and smell the salty air. Brittany has a seaside flavour you won’t forget.

 

This is also a land of prehistoric mysticism, with the entire region (‘Breizh’ in Breton) boasting a wonderfully unspoilt and timeless feel away from tourist haunts. Roscoff, Quimper and Vannes are all relatively little-known and well worth exploring; there are ancient standing stones at Carnac and Locmariaquer and a forest of Arthurian legend, Brocéliande; and Brittany's islands make dramatic destinations for boat trips. The capital, Rennes, anchors the region’s long heritage while keeping its focus on the future with a large student population and dynamic calendar of festivals.

 

Click on the senses below to feel Brittany…

  • © Diaphane / CRT Bretagne

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  • © Alexandre Lamoureux

  • © Ganiovecchiolino Jérôme/CRT Bretagne

  • © Getty Images