Settled by migrants from Britain in the post-Roman period, Brittany has a unique culture with its own distinct language and history.
Brittany's rugged, rocky coastline contains countless small, tranquil inlets as well as larger bays and estuaries. There's more to Brittany than its spectacular coastline and sandy beached, however: towns with tall medieval walls are reminders of an age when Brittany had to defend itself against France, while inland valleys offer peaceful walks through woods that once covered the whole landscape.
Everything you should know about Brittany, at a glance.
Locals say that in Brittany is the only place where the sun rises five times a day, and truth is when it does the colors are simply mind blowing. Never the less Brittany's climate is on the cool side. Crowds tend to stay away during these months, only really returning during the summer. This means that choosing the time of your holiday in Brittany is a balancing act. During July and August, the weather will be warmest, but crowds will similarly be heaviest. The early part of the tourist season – which runs from March to October – is a good time to visit, although visitors who want to swim in the sea will need a wetsuit. Outside of the tourist season, the weather could be defined as… invigorating – to say the least.
Historic cities and harbor villages are one of the main attractions for organizing a holiday in Brittany. The walled medieval town of Saint-Malo has been carefully reconstructed following damage during the Second World War. A walk around the walls provides stunning views of the harbour as well as of the historic city. Another beautiful historic town is Vitré, with its striking medieval castle and well-preserved 15th century houses and churches. Brittany is also famous for its prehistoric standing stones, the most remarkable of which are found in and around the village of Carnac. Outside the cities, Brittany's ever-changing landscape makes for beautiful walks and drives, either along the winding coastal roads or the gentle river valleys of the interior.
Local festivals are a great time to visit Brittany. For instance, during the Festival des Tombées de la Nuit in the town of Rennes, streets fill up with entertainers who perform for locals and tourists. For many people, of course, the real appeal of Brittany are its beaches, whether busy tourist destinations like the small plage de St-Guirec near Ploumanac'h or remote natural beauty spots like the beaches along the estuary near l’Aber Wrac’h.
Brittany's rocky coastline is dotted with fishing villages, and the region is famous for its seafood, particularly shellfish. Other culinary specialities include the famous Breton crepes.
Size: 34,023 square kilometres
Population: approximately 4,475,000 people
Capital city: Rennes
Provinces: Côtes-d'Armor, Finistère, Ille-et-Vilaine, Morbihan
Landscape: Wooded valleys, winding rivers, rocky coastal headlands, rolling hills