Called Armor (Breton for “country of the sea”), Brittany is a haven for water sport enthusiasts and is very popular with the yachting community. The 750 miles of rugged indented coastline and numerous rivers and lakes provide all things maritime and water sports of every kind flourish, particularly in the summer months. Learn to windsurf, sail or sand yacht at Damagan, take a boat trip on the river Vilaine, or travel to Vannes and catch a boat to the stunning outlying islands in the Gulf du Morbihan.
Seafood lovers will adore Brittany’s ‘Fruits de mere”, including world-class lobster, oysters, mussels and clams. Agriculture, seafood and tourism are the main economic activities of the region.
It is Brittany’s Celtic heritage that distinguishes it from other French regions and the Breton’s continue to celebrate their music and culture with numerous festivals that take place during the summer months. Brittany is the home of the legends of King Arthur, Merlin and the magical forest of Broceliande.
Brittany comprises four departments – Cotes d’Armor, Finistere, Ille-et-Vilaine and Morbihan.
- Cotes d'Armor which means “land of the sea”, is the northernmost department of Brittany and its picturesque Emeraude Coast with warm white-sand beaches, towering cliffs, rock formations, and offshore islands, holds many attractions especially for families. The coves and inlets of the Cote de Granit Rose are popular with tourists, as the pink granite rocks along the coastline have eroded into fantastic shapes. Most of the towns of the interior, such as Treguier or Dinan, were founded in the Middle Ages.
- Finistere or “lands end”, has the most striking coast in Brittany and is the most western department. It is here that traditional Breton customs are the most evident, particularly in Cornouaille on the southwestern tip. The town of Brest, set in a magnificent natural harbour is home to the French Atlantic fleet. The exquisite medieval city of Quimper is the capital of this ancient kingdom and is the best place to immerse yourself in authentic Breton culture.
- Ille-et-Vilaine is in the northeast part of the region and its coastline stretches from one of Brittany’s best known attractions, Mont Saint-Michel, along part of the rocky Cote d’Emeraude to the walled port of St-Malo and Dinard. Dinard is also home to one of France’s oldest golf courses, St Briac Sur Mer. This stunning year round course is close to the sea and has panoramic views from the club house. The department is also home to Rennes the capital of Brittany. Wide streets and canals radiate out from the medieval centre of the city and Rennes’ two universities give it a young and vibrant feel.
- Morbihan in the southeastern part of Brittany takes its name from the almost landlocked Morbihan Gulf on the south coast. Dotted with dozens of tiny islands, this beautiful bay shelters the Ile aux Moines, where you can cycle through palm groves and mimosa. For some truly exhilarating scenery, from Quiberon join one of the regular boat trips to the outlying island of Belle-Ile. The ancient and mysterious Celtic standing stones of Carnac are worth a visit, as is the magnificent free firework display given on the banks of the canal in Pontivy on the eve of Bastille Day every July 14th.
- By Sea - There is a regular service on Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth, Pool and Plymouth to St Malo, or Cherbourg and Caen in Normandy.
- By Air - Discount airline Ryanair fly direct to Dinard from London Stansted, while Flybe have a service between Exeter, Birmingham and Southampton to Brest or Rennes, and Aurigny Air also fly to Dinard via Guernsey from Bristol, East Midlands, London Gatwick and Stansted, Manchester and Southampton.
Brittany with its typical maritime climate is mild because of the Gulf Stream but its Atlantic exposur