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:
- 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.
Places of interest in Brittany
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 - 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.
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, 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".
Museums in Brittany - Brittany has some great museums including the Musee de prehistoire (prehistory museum) in Carnac. The Musee de Pont-Aven (Pont-Aven museum) which features exhibits from the famous School of Pont-Aven in the charming town of Pont-Aven where artist Paul Gauguin lived. Musee des Beaux Arts (Fine Arts Museum) in Quimper which features a great collection of art from the 17th-20th centuries. The Musee de Bretagne/Musee des Beaux Arts (Brittany Museum & Fine Arts Museum) which retraces the Brittany's history with displays of costumes, models, porcelain, furniture and statues as well as a collection of fine art including works by Rubens and Picasso.
Castles in Brittany - Like almost every region of France, Brittany has its share of castles. The main ones are:
Chateau de Comper-en-Broceliande in Concoret - Ramparts in red schist rock. The waters of the "Grand Etang" conceal the crystal palace built for Viviane, lady of the lake, by Merlin the magician.
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 - Daily from Paris Gare Montparnasse or select trains from Charles de Gaulle airport: 2-3 Hours to Rennes
By air - Air France offers flights from Charles de Gaulle or Orly to Rennes, Quimper, Brest, Lorient, Saint Brieuc. Flights are also available from London to Rennes, Brest and Dinard.
By boat - Brittany Ferries offers many options to travel from Ireland or the United Kingdom to Brittany.
Brittany Cooking and Food
As a major supplier of France's vegetables and seafood, Brittany rewards visitors with hearty, fresh fare from the earth and the sea, and with its famous crepes filled with sweets like chocolate or fresh jams, savory mushrooms, cheese or eggs.
Brittany is identified as being a full gastronomic region. This wasn't always the case; in the past the region's cuisine did not get a lot of acclaim.
Kind of hard to believe that was ever true with all of the award-winning chefs in the region, the amazing seafood, and the fantastic bistros that dot the Brittany landscape.
Here Brittany excels, with abundant oysters (particularly the meaty ones from Belon and Cancale), shrimp, crayfish, crab and scallops. Atlantic lobster is also a mainstay of Breton menus, prepared in a cream sauce or grilled.
The seafood platter tops the bill in many of Brittany's best eateries. In order to ensure freshness and variety, restaurateurs have signed a charter with the government guaranteeing an "authentic Breton platter of fresh seafood".
As a general rule, a Brittany seafood platter will include a variety of langoustines, rock or spider crabs, oysters, velvet swimming crabs, prawns, clams, winkles, whelks, mussels, and queen scallops. Of course it all depends on the fisherman’s catch of the day.
Could there be anything simpler and more appealing than a generous seafood platter, accompanied by a fine gourmet sauce, fresh citrus and a glass of crips white wine? If a fresh seafood platter is not your style, Breton chefs make many fish dishes that will please your senses. Delicate sauces, fresh fish, and innovative vegetable dishes are sure to please.
All in all Brittany is a seafood lover's paradise.
Restaurants in Brittany
When you choose a restaurant labeled as a “Restaurant du Terroir”, "Tables et saveurs de Bretagne", or “Crêperies Gourmandes” you will not only get a good meal, but a chance to experience an authentic, delightful, and traditional part of Brittany cuisine.
Cafés de Pays
Step into a Café de Pays to experience an authentic slice of life in western France. Take some time and try a plate of Breton food, or “Assiette de Pays” for lunch or dinner, and why not sip a glass of Breton beer or cider in the meantime? The label Cafés de Pays is attached to the popular tradition of Breton cafés, that are not only meeting places, but also provide room for creative types, particularly as live music venues. Poke your head into one if you see a Cafe du Pays and check out the cultural happenings, from performing arts, to exhibitions of art and local history.
An outdoor sign and a special logo make it easy to recognize them. For more information visit www.frpatb.net/
Brittany Day Trip From Paris - See Mont St. Michel and more.
Book our very popular one day trip from Paris to Brittany and Mont St. Michel. Stops include Dinan, St. Malo and Mont Saint Michel.
Sports and Leisure in Brittany
Brittany offers a great escape for Parisians and tourists alike. The capital of Brittany, Rennes, is just two hours from Paris via TGV rail. Brittany offers many outdoor activities and adventures. Below is just a sampling of what you'll find in this friendly, fun, and enchanting region of France.
Water Adventures in Brittany: Brittany offers over 450 miles of navigable canals and rivers. One of the most beautiful networks in Europe. Traditional one-day and multiple-day cruises launch from the towns of Concarneau, Benodet, Vannes, Dinard, La Roche Bernad and Quimper. Most sail to nearby islands that are great for walking or bird watching excursions. Brittany is the largest nesting seabird area in France.
Biking, hiking and great outdoors: With hundreds of miles of quiet roads and gentle slopes, Brittany is perfect for hiking, cycling or motor biking. Brittany offers over 2,000 kilometers of posted hiking and biking paths, which are accessible year round. A perfect way to discover Brittany and its heritage.
Golf in Brittany: A total of 27 courses dot Brittany’s landscape, many overlooking the coastal cliffs. Brittany offers courses suitable for the casual enthusiast and the season player alike. Below are five courses we like.
- Golf Cesson-Sévigné - www.ville-cesson-sevigne.fr/
- Golf Dinard - www.dinardgolf.com/
- Golf La Crinière - www.lacriniere.fr/
- Golf Saint-Malo Hotel & Golf - www.saintmalogolf.com/
- Golf Saint-Samson - www.golfhotel-saint-samson.com/
Spa/Thalassotherapy - Brittany is known for its excellent spas focused on a brand of marine hydrotherapy called thalassotherapy. Thalassotherapy is the art of using the healing characteristics of mineral rich ocean water to cleanse and rejuvenate the body. There are 11 centers specializing in this form of bliss on Brittany's coast in Saint Malo, Dinard, Perros-Guirec, Roscoff, Douarmenez, Benodet, Carnac, Quiberon, Belle-Ile-en-Mer, Crouesty.
Brittany Horseback Riding - Simply put, Brittany is horse country. To get started please visit: www.equibreizh.com
The Grand Aquarium-Saint Malo - Discover the wonderful aquarium in Saint Malo. www.aquarium-st-malo.com
More Information About Brittany...
- Brittany map
- Our Travelogue to Brittany The Brittany Coast by Car
- The Brittany Tourist Office website