Nestled in Southern Brittany, Morbihan has it all, from the ocean to verdant valleys, plus historic towns and pretty villages. To help you plan your next holiday, here are our top five attractions…
At 85 sq km, the aptly-named Belle-Île-en-Mer is the largest of France’s Atlantic islands, not to mention being one of the most breath-taking and varied. From the fine sandy dunes of the beach to the sculptural cliffs of the Taillefer headland, it is little wonder it has been the muse of manifold painters and poets. Don’t miss the needle-like rock formations the Aiguilles de Port-Coton, which were immortalised by none other than Monet. For some manmade wonders, check out the Vauban fortifications, built at the behest of Nicolas Fouquet, marquis de Belle-Île.
The Nantes-Brest Canal
If you like nothing better than to get out and about in the fresh air, head for the Nantes-Brest Canal where you can walk, cycle, hire a boat or ride a horse amidst the stunning Breton countryside. The canal is part of the Morbihan section of the EuroVelo 1 cycling route, which offers 117km of paths and trails which are safe for walkers, cyclists and horse riders alike, far from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.
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The Wild Coast of Quiberon
If it’s the invigorating sea air that floats your boat, the wild coast of Quiberon should be top of your agenda. Follow the coastal path for 8km through dramatic scenery from the Pointe du Percho, with its famous natural arch, to the Disneyland-worthy Château Turpault, a private residence which marks the entrance to the Côte Sauvage. Make sure you check the weather forecast before you set off – this is no place to be on a stormy day as it can be treacherous.
Some 7,000 years old, the standing stones of Carnac are world famous as the largest number of stones of this type anywhere in the world. The two main sites of Ménec and Kermario account for nearly 3,000 menhirs, but there are plenty more – the alignments stretch for almost four miles! Thought to have originally been created for religious purposes, the site is full of prehistoric mystery and wonder. Begin your visit at the Maison des Megaliths, an information point at Ménec, to gen up before you go exploring. And even better, the stones are free to visit from October to March. In the summer months, you have to sign up to a paid tour with a guide.
The Gulf of Morbihan
The Gulf of Morbihan (Mor-Bihan means “little sea” in the Breton language) is one of Brittany’s most iconic destinations and is considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world, so it’s definitely worth a place on your to-do list. From Vannes and Port Blanc you can take a ferry to the Île-aux-Moines and the Île-d’Arz and marvel at the 40 or so islets scattered throughout the gulf. Renowned for the quality of its ever-changing light, the landscape is rich with hues of blue and green. Follow the coast, visiting beautiful little fishing villages en-route and stopping at oyster farms for a dégustation, bien sûr!
From the north or east of France, take the A11 l Océane: Paris – Rennes and RN24: Rennes-Ploërmel-Lorient; RN166 Ploërmel-valves.
BY TRAIN TGV
From Paris Charles de Gaulle to Rennes or Nantes takes
2 h 30 min. Head to the train TGV website.
There are numerous airlines operating services to Lorient, Nantes, Rennes and Paris…
From France Today magazine
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