Brittany was an independent country until the 16th C, and its own language, Breton – more Celtic than French – was spoken by locals until the early 20th C. These days, Breton survives only in the unusual place names.
Best Time to Go: Brittany is particularly nice in the summer, when the weather is pleasant but it is not too hot. Some of the smaller tourist attractions start to shut down in mid-September, and October can be stormy.
Cities and Towns
There are few cities in Brittany, except for Rennes, so much of what there is to see is in smaller and mid-sized towns.
St. Malo: This is a charming sea-side town. Its old section was almost completely obliterated during WWII, but was rebuilt, including the ramparts, after the War. Many French explorers embarked from St. Malo, and there was a lot of trade with the Caribbean. For that reason, you may still see a few “rhumeries” (rum bars) here, which are rare in the rest of France. There is also a nice sandy beach, whose size varies dramatically during the course of the day (the tides here are almost as large as at nearby Mont St. Michel).
Guimilau, St. Thegonnec: Known for their parish churches with hundreds of carved stone statues.
Cancale: Another charming sea-side town, where you can visit a working oyster farm.
Ploumanach: On the picturesque “Cote de Granite Rose” (pink rock coast), where you can walk the Sentier de Douaniers (smugglers route) .
Concarneau, Benodet: More charming seaside towns.
Quimper: A slightly larger town, known for its pottery.
Pointe du Raz: The westernmost point in France. Spectacular on a (rare) sunny day.
Photos: please look here
Food and Drink
- Shellfish is supreme here. Depending on the season, you can get oysters, clams, scallops, crab, langoustines (hard-shelled crabs) and hard-shelled red lobster. In general, shellfish is served relatively simply, without the complex sauces served in the rest of France.
- Cider is also popular here, but many people drink Muscadet (a crisp white wine that goes very well with shellfish.