Brittany: 10 ideas for a trip
Compared to Paris and the Côte d’Azur, Brittany is not the most popular tourist destination. And for good reason! If you knew how to have fun in the north of France, you would not put off your vacation long.
We’ll tell you what you can do on the coast of Brittany: it’s full of natural attractions, history and culture. Let’s go!
Discover the region’s historical heritage
Nantes, capital of Brittany
Did you know that Brittany was a separate state for almost a thousand years? And Nantes was its capital. In the center of the city, the palace of the dukes, built inside a fortified medieval fortress, has been preserved. The surrounding streets with their small width and curvature help to plunge even better into the depths of centuries.
Rennes – the second capital
Rennes and Nantes have struggled for supremacy throughout their history. While in Nantes the dukes resided, the cathedral of Rennes was where they were crowned. And although the cathedral has been destroyed and rebuilt several times (the current building dates to the beginning of the 19th century), the city gate of Mordlez has managed to survive since the 15th century!
Saint-Malo is a pirate fortress
Saint-Malo is one of the most popular tourist towns on the Emerald Coast. Historical buildings within the walls of the fortress better than any museum tells about the life of a medieval port city. Be careful with ice cream or pancakes, the seagulls here are like pirates – they can steal your treat.
To explore the historical monuments of the region, it is best to use the services of professional guides. Book tours at this link.
Go deep into history.
Castles, pirates, medieval streets – it’s all understandable. But in Brittany, you can also touch real antiquity. For that, go to the town of Carnac.
In the vicinity of Karnak you will find the largest cluster of megaliths in the world. Standing upright huge stones there are about three thousand. Together, they form a whole alley, and no one has been able to explain their meaning until now. These constructions are older than Stonehenge!
In the surrounding area, in addition to menhirs (vertical stones), there are dolmens and mounds. The oldest mound was built between 5000 and 3500 years BC.
Visit a cultural event
The seasons in Brittany are quite pronounced, so lively street festivals take place mostly in summer. Bretonians love to hold fest-diez and fest-noz – day and night festivals that feature national music and dancing.
Don’t think that Brittany’s festivals are any different from, say, Parisian ones. It’s one of the six Celtic regions! (The other five are in Great Britain.) The Bretonians are descendants of the Celts, and their culture clearly shows that.
Want some incredible color? Head to the city of Lorient for a festival of Celtic culture and music. Listen to bagpipes and learn their unusual dances. It’s just like in Ireland, only in France. Read more about the festival here.
At other times of the year there are just as many festivals in Brittany. The grape harvest is celebrated in the fall, Christmas in the winter, and Mardi Gras in the spring. Be sure to check out the program of festivals in Nantes, it’s always very exciting and free! You can find the website of the Nantes Tourist Office here. And we published an interview with an employee here.
Relax on the beach
Brittany although the northern region of France, but nevertheless a beach destination! Beach season here does not last long, mostly covering July and August. Severe heat does not happen here, which allows you to spend more time on the beach and get a nice bronze tan without the risk of heat stroke.
On the Emerald Coast there is a beach for everyone. You can have a good time at the landscaped quiet and quiet beach with white sand. We wrote about the most comfortable beaches in Brittany in a separate article.
“LOVE THE BEST BEACHS IN BRITAIN AND LOVE THE BEST BEACHS IN BRITAIN
Lovers of solitude can easily find a deserted wild beach with untouched nature in a secluded bay, or even go to a rocky island, like Robinson Crusoe.
The waves of the Atlantic coast are good for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Therefore, lovers of outdoor activities will not be bored either.
Admire the nature
Brittany’s nature is magnificent landscapes forged by the winds and waves. The Atlantic coasts have a unique character and rugged beauty that you can’t stop admiring. The wild local panoramas were captured more than once in his paintings by Monet.
It is worth buying a boat tour along the coast. Ride to the islands by boat or yacht, explore the caves, meet wild gray seals and take pictures to remember. Here are some of the islands to go to: L’île d’Ouessant, Belle-île en mer, Houat and Hoëdic.
On the ocean or rivers you can also go canoeing or kayaking – very exciting. And what a fishing trip in Brittany! On the beaches, you can try the local activity of basketfishing on foot. At low tide, the sea leaves many treasures and delicacies.
Cycling in Brittany
And again about outdoor activities! France is actively promoting cycling in all of its regions and Brittany is one of them. From north to south and east to west Brittany is crisscrossed by 9 major cycling routes, almost 2,000 km! Tug trails, old railroads, small scenic ports, seaside roads, iodized coastal air, museums, castles, zoos – explore the region at your own pace.
In France, carrier SNCF has partnered with bike rental chain Accueil Vélo. The bike rental outlets are located near train stations. For a map of all the cities where you can rent a bike once you get off the train, see the French Railways website at www.sncf.com.
Get to know the wildlife
If you’re only lucky enough to interact with clams in the wild, don’t feel bad. You can see a variety of animals in zoos and terrariums in Brittany. The animals are very carefully kept here, in some zoos they even walk free.
For a comfortable trip for one day you can rent a car. Check out the offers on this website.
Zoological and Botanical Park Branféré in Le Guerno
The park covers more than 45 hectares, on which about 100 species of animals live in conditions close to their natural environment. Also, this park participates in the program for the conservation of 35 endangered animal species, among which: the West African giraffe, red lemur, Indian rhinoceros, tamarin.
Morbihan Tropical Park
The park has carefully recreated 6 different tropical zones. You will learn about tropical plants, animals and birds. Located between Rennes, Vannes and Nantes.
Jardin du Moulin Neuf in Ploudalmaiseau
Entrance to the garden is free all year round, except during the flower festival. The garden has a large collection of plants, flowers, succulents, has its own zoo and two playgrounds for children.
Oceanopolis Aquarium in Brest
It is worth allocating at least half a day to visit the aquarium. Three pavilions present underwater ecosystems of the tropics, temperate latitudes and polar regions.
Grand Aquarium in Saint-Malo
This aquarium is slightly smaller than the one in Brest, but no less interesting. The Aquarium consists of 9 themed areas that are home to over 600 species of fish. The two attractions Abyssal Descender and Nautibus allow you to dive into the depths of the ocean. You will see an amazing underwater world, a sunken city and sunken ships.
Visit an amusement park
If you’re traveling with kids, at least one day should be devoted entirely to carefree fun. A roller coaster (only in France they are called Russian slides), trains, breathtaking rides, merry-go-rounds for children – choose to your liking. Breton parks are certainly not Disneyland, but they are cheaper. Buy an unlimited ticket and have fun all day. Bring your own picnic or visit a local cafe.
This is the largest amusement park in Brittany and is located in the town of Morbihan. The park has about 40 attractions for adults and children.
Halfway between Saint-Malo and Rennes in the town of Lanhélin there is an amusement park Cobac Parc. There are roller coasters and merry-go-rounds as well as water slides. From Saint-Malo a special bus goes to the park, it departs at 10:00 from the large aquarium, the return flight goes from the park at 18:30.
La Recre des Trois Cures
Pretty big amusement park is a few minutes from Brest in Milizac. In addition to various attractions you can enjoy a walk on the water, an indoor playground on 3000 m2, a mini-farm, you can also organize festive snacks. In short, here you will have a great time all day.
Discover the local cuisine
You won’t find a region in France without its own culinary delights, so every trip is doomed to be at least slightly gastronomic. Thanks to its seaside location, Brittany is proud of its seafood. On the large seafood plate (Le plateau de fruits de mer) at various restaurants are lobsters (les homardes), crabs (les crabes), shrimps (les crevettes), oysters (les huîtres), langoustines (les langoustines), mussels (les moules), scallops (les coquilles Saint-Jacques) and other molluscs.
Here are some more interesting seafood dishes:
- Cod with mussels (cabillaud aux moules),
- Sea bass in a salt crust (bar en croûte de sel),
- blue lobster with brown butter (l’homard bleu au beurre noisette),
- oysters with buckwheat (les huîtres au sarrasin),
- La Cotriade fish soup.
With local dishes be sure to order local drinks: dry white Muscadet or cider (le cidre).
The popular crêpes and galette were born in Brittany. You won’t find the difference between them that easy. They come in sweet, salty, wheat, buckwheat, rye, with various fillings (chocolate, nuts, sausages, sardines, etc.).
As a souvenir, you can buy caramel salted butter candies Le Caramel au beurre salé. In 1980, they won the title of the best candy in France.
Relax at the thalassotherapy center
Although sea treatment was invented in England, the climate on this side of the Channel was more suitable for sea bathing. On the shores of Brittany there are dozens of thalassotherapy and spa centers. The largest are in Saint-Malo, Quiberon, Roscoff and La Baule. If you like the sea water, but what’s swimming in it, not so much, then welcome to the resorts of Brittany!
You can relieve years of stress and improve your health in establishments of different stars, even in a real castle! Château des Tourelles, one of the many chateaux of the Loire, now welcomes guests as a thalassotherapy center with 4* comfort. Booking a stay in this unique place is easy – follow this link.
Now you know that Brittany is a severely underrated region. But on the other hand it is for the best. Holidays away from the noisy crowds is much more pleasant!