Brittany (Bretagne) is the perfect mix of coast, country and culture in France. If it’s a beach holiday or seaside resort that floats your boat, you will be totally spoiled for choice here in the northwest of France says Janine Marsh, travel writer and Francophile…
Brittany has an amazing 1700 miles of glorious coastline from Cancale to Saint-Nazaire.
In parts dramatic towering cliffs and rugged rock formations creating some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in France. Elsewhere there are beautiful stretches of sandy beaches and hundreds of charming little sheltered bays and inlets, many of which form harbours for Brittany’s traditional fishing villages. The famous and fabulous Pink Granite coast, part of the Côtes d’Armor, where the stunning pink rock has been eroded into fantastic shapes, to the idyllic beaches of Morbihan, a place of wonder and discovery dedicated to the protection of nature. Whatever you are looking for from a beach or coastal holiday, Brittany has something to suit everyone.
The best seaside towns in Brittany
Le Conquet: On the western tip of Brittany, this lovely quaint fishing village has a gorgeous sandy beach away from the crowds.
Morbihan: The Gulf of Morbihan has been described as one of the most beautiful bays in the world. From Locmariaquer and its ancient stones in the west, the walled town of Vannes, and the Rhuys Peninsula in the east, there is much to explore and delight in.
Le Presqu’île de Quiberon: Visit the lively popular port of Quiberon or take a boat trip from Quiberon to the beautiful ‘Belle Ile’. Spectacular wild coast, beautiful sandy beaches to the east, the Quiberon peninsula offers 14 kilometres of a variety of landscapes. Also worth visiting are the lovely islands of Houat and Hoëdic – narrow streets of whitewashed houses with blue shutters and beautiful views.
Cancale: If you love oysters, the restaurants and stalls in Cancale’s picturesque little harbour east of St Malo is the place to head for, it is said that even the Sun King Louis XIV had his oysters delivered from here to Versailles.
Concarneau: Frances third largest fishing port with a lovely old quarter enclosed by granite ramparts. The old stone fortified town has just a few narrow streets filled with shops and restaurants, where geraniums tumble from window boxes. Take a walk around the ramparts for spectacular views or take a coastal walk and take in the lovely sights, grand villas and beautiful coastline.
La Baule: A century-old chic and upmarket seaside resort in southern Brittany with beautiful villas, a casino, luxury hotels and an original mix of old Breton and exclusive seaside culture with a 12 kilometre long golden sandy beach and a swish yachting marina.
Roscoff: A thriving Channel port and seaside resort in Finistere and ancestral home of the famed Onion Johnnies, Breton farmers who travelled to Britain to sell onions by bicycle.
Brest: France’s premier Atlantic Naval port with a rich maritime history, now a modern commercial city. Located in one of France’s most beautiful natural harbours, take a stroll along the lively quays, visit the castle museum and Océanopolis, the only ocean discover centre of its kind in Europe, a massive marine aquarium with many species including coral reefs and sharks, seals and penguins. For more details, visit www.oceanopolis.com.
St Malo: The gateway to Brittany for thousands of British tourists. A fascinating old citadel with delightful narrow streets, delicious restaurants and summer street entertainers.
Brittany’s picturesque countryside and beautiful towns