Our choice of must-see towns, natural wonders and other places of interest.
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Home of 17th-century privateers, the ‘Intra Muros’ district was fully rebuilt after the Second World War; the Musée de la Ville tells the tale. Walk the ramparts and visit the two nearby islands, one with a Vauban fort, the other the tomb of Chateaubriand.
‘Art and History Town’ with 3km of ramparts, many half-timbered houses, and a picturesque quay beside the Rance with restaurants and craft shops. Panoramic views from the 40m Tour de l’Horloge. The town’s museum is in a 13th-century castle.
THE PINK GRANITE COAST
Evocative pink granite rock shapes line more than 30km of the north coast from Bréhat to Tréburden. You’ll also be spoilt for fine sandy beaches, quiet coves and offshore islands including the Sept-Îles National Nature reserve off Perros-Guirec.
Off the coast at Paimpol are two of Brittany’s loveliest islands, joined by a bridge at low tide. Full of stone cottages, sheltered coves and flower-filled gardens, they’re car-free and accessible by a 10-minute boat journey from Pointe de l’Arcouest.
The cultural heart of Brittany has an annual festival of Breton culture, Le Festival de Cornouaille. Check out the history museum in the former bishops’ palace; the Gothic cathedral; and the fine arts museum with works by Breton artists and Pont-Aven School.
Paimpont Forest, west of Rennes, is the mythical location for Brocéliande Forest, made famous in Arthurian legend and allegedly still haunted by Morgan le Fay. Book a guided tour of the key sites, or enjoy the lakes, trees, and cycle paths at your own speed.
GULF OF MORBIHAN
‘Morbihan’ in Breton means ‘little sea’, and here 40km² of water is studded with small islands between Vannes and the old harbour at Auray. Explore the Île-aux-Moines; the bird reserve of Séné Marshes; and the Rhuys Peninsula and salt marshes.
Three fields boast 3,000 aligned megaliths dating from 4000BC; discover their history at La Maison des Megalithes. Ten minutes’ walk away at Carnac-Ville is the Museum of Prehistory. And Carnac-Plage has 2km of sandy beaches!
Administrative capital and home to the Breton Parliament building, Rennes is renowned for its medieval half-timbered houses and elegant town houses; marvel at the 19thcentury Odorico mosaics, Saint-Pierre Cathedral and the Thabor gardens.
This westerly naval port in a natural harbour has panoramic views from Plateau des Capucins and from France’s first urban cable car. Visit the castle, maritime museum and Oceanopolis sea life centre with themed exhibitions on ecosystems. www.toutcommeneceenfinistere.com
LES MONTS D’ARRÉE AND HUELGOAT
Brittany’s largest area of heathland at the heart of the Armorica Regional Natural Park boasts heathland, peat bogs and rocky outcrops. Myths and legends include mischievous korrigans and boulder-tossing giant Gargantua.
LES GRANDS SITES DE FRANCE
Brittany boasts three of the 17 Grand Sites de France: Pointe du Raz at Cap Sizun in the west; the Gâvres coastal dunes at Quiberon in the south; and most recent in 2019, Cap d’Erquy-Cap Fréhel on the north coast.
From France Today magazine