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All About Brittany, France

We offer a one day trip from Paris to Brittany and Mont St. Michel. Visit Dinan, St. Malo and Mont St. Michel.

One of France's most rugged and friendly regions, Brittany is a fascinating mix of spectacular coastline, medieval towns, magical islands and inland woods. A Celtic duchy for more than one thousand years before its annexation to France in 1532, it is a land rich in culture, tradition and history. When you journey through Brittany, you'll discover a people whose language, customs and dress remain a vivid homage to their past.

A short video showing the beautiful character and enchanting sites of Brittany:

Quick Facts:

  • The fastest tides in all of Europe can be found in Brittany. Be careful! When the tide comes in, it really comes in fast.
  • In French "Brittany" is spelled "Bretagne". Great Britain is known as "Grande Bretagne".
  • The capital of Brittany is the city of Rennes. Rennes has a population of just over 200,000 people.

Pink Granite Coast - Sunset is the best time to explore the headland of Arcouest and the island of Brehat and admire the expanses of sandy beaches and the rusty rock formations in splendid hues of pink which give this coast its name.

Saint Malo HousesSaint Malo - Built in granite rock in the English Channel, the bathing resort of Saint Malo is known for its castle, the cathedral of Saint Vincent, and its 14th century ramparts which overlook the sea. Saint Malo is the birthplace of famous French writer and statesman, Chateaubriand. St. Malo is a great town to spend a few days by the sea.

The Parish Closes - The parish closes of St. Thegonnec, Guimiliau and Lampaul-Guimiliau, which were built as early as 1532, are symbols of Brittany's Catholic and Celtic heritage. These granite religious structures are an intricate mesh of skilled of craftsmanship and imagery. Churches, altarpieces and crosses are adorned with elves, gods and fairies carved in wood.

Rennes - Capital of Brittany - Rennes features remnants of typical timbered medieval architecture as well as two town centers, Place de l’Hôtel de Ville and Place du Parlement. One remains from the 15th century, and the other was built in stone after a massive fire swept through the city in the early 18th century.

This capital of the region of Brittany is more a college town than most French cities, gaining 80, 000 students a year when the school year commences, and as such it's a little more of a meat and beer town than is the French cliche. Half-timbered houses in Rennes, France.

Half-timbered houses in Rennes, France.

There is a cobblestone area not far from the medieval cathedral, as well as a yearly Festival Gourmande in September, in which local chefs create special menus and compete for honors.

Every Saturday Rennes hosts the second biggest market in all of France, with 300 purveyors arrayed at the historic Place des Lices. You'll find Coucou de Rennes chickens, Petit Gris melons and Reinette apples, cider, shellfish and of course caramel candies and cookies made from famous Brittany salted butter.

Quimper and Pont-Aven - Located in the heart of traditional Brittany and flanked by the Odet and Steir rivers, Quimper is famous for its furnace ceramics which have been produced by skilled craftsmen since the 17th century. The Gothic Cathedral of Saint Corentin has exceptional 15th century stained glass windows. Pont-Aven, home to a former artist colony known as the "School of Pont-Aven" led by the painter Paul Gauguin, is a pretty market village of white houses and sloping riverbanks.

Carnac, BrittanyCarnac, Gulf of Morbihan - One of the foremost prehistoric centers, the seaside resort of Carnac is famed for its megalithic remains from the Neolithic period. In addition to 2792 menhirs, massive stones erected by tribes who inhabited the region before the arrival of the Gauls, the area is studded with burial places, semicircles, and tumuli. Located ten miles off the southern coast of Brittany, Belle Ile ("Beautiful Island") is Brittany's largest. Buffeted by storms and fringed by rocky cliffs, it is an isolated natural paradise whose inhabitants are known for their hospitality. The medieval city of Vannes, at the head of the Gulf of Morbihan, is a perfect base from which to explore this magical inland sea and its many islands.

Cancale - Cancale lies along the coast to the east of Saint-Malo. It is a picturesque fishing village popular with visitors many of whom are drawn by its reputation as the "oyster capital" of Brittany. Though a small town, it is well served by a large number of restaurants, many specialising in seafood.

There is a pleasant coastal path which permits a circular walk from the town to the Pointe du Grouin with splendid views across the bay towards Mont Saint Michel. Eugène Feyen painted Cancale and the inhabitants with the oyster-picking Cancalaises for several decades around 1865–1908. Vincent van Gogh wrote that "Feyen is one of the few painters whose pictures intimate modern life as it is really, and does not turn it into fashion plates".

Getting to Brittany

By car
Travel by highway from Paris to Le Mans and then Rennes. From Rennes, travel toward Brest, Vannes, or Quimper. The distance from Paris to Rennes is about 210 miles.

By train

  • Paris CDG airport to Rennes: 2-3 Hours

From Paris Montparnasse

  • Rennes - 2hrs10mn
  • Saint Brieuc - 3hrs
  • Brest - 4hrs20mn
  • Vannes - 3hrs
  • Quimper - 4hrs20mn

By air

Air France offers flights from Charles de Gaulle or Orly to Rennes, Quimper, Brest, Lorient, Saint Brieuc.

Flights are available from London to Rennes, Brest and Dinard.

By boat

There are many ferry options available when traveling from Great Britain and Ireland to Brittany.

Image: The harbor at St. Malo, France

More Information About Brittany...