Roscoff is located in the “department” of Finistère, northwestern Brittany. It has 1,000 kilometres of rather thrilling coastline and good beaches . The French term for Brittany is Bretagne and these terms are used interchangeably. The popular term for Brittany as “Little Britain” is a misnomer. Yes, many of the homes in the region are owned by Brits. However, a perhaps surprising number of people here do not speak English.
Roscoff is a popular seawater therapy location , the first started in 1899. According to the tourist office website, it is “believed to be a place where [people] recuperate well…the combined use of seawater, seaweed, and fresh sea air of our region have proved to be extremely beneficial.” Today, thalassotherapy is a popular type of spa and massage. Several bright and modern medical facilities are located in Roscoff, too. Foodies love Roscoff’s onions, featured in many of its crepe recipes and the Roscoff seafood soup. This pairs well with the crisp, scrummy local cider.
The most popular route to Roscoff from the UK is to go by ferry from Plymouth with Brittany Ferries – you can drive, bike, or walk on. The journey takes about 5 hours and the port d e Bloscon where ferries arrive is a simple 10-minute walk from the city centre. Street signs list specific hotel names. Learn from my mistakes: Many hotels in Roscoff are closed from November until April.
A walk to the end of Roscoff’s random bridge extending off the harbor into the twinkling turquoise sea offers great views. It crosses mostly clear water where marine life mingles with seaweed and shells. The bridge eventually disappears beneath the surface though it originally extended all the way to the Ile de Batz, a small island now reached by ferry from Roscoff.
Here’s a list of Things to do in Roscoff Brittany:
- Tourist Information Office: This is the best place to stop to learn what’s available in the city during your visit. The building faces the harbour in the city centre.
- Jardin Exotique: A ten-minute walk from the city centre toward the ferries.
- Sante Barbe Chapel: Less than 30 minutes’ walk from the city centre, this petite place of worship offers gorgeous views.
- Thalasso: go for it – get a Thalasso massage!
- Take a stroll: Follow the well-marked tourist signs in English and French through the city and out past the medical centres. You will pass the house Alexandre Dumás stayed in and Our Lady of Croaz Batz, the local enclos pariossiaux (church). Walk along the promenade, learning about the medicinal heritage of the city, and past a closed cemetery.
- Eat and Drink: Roscoff’s best all-weather attraction! From creperies to port-side bars, Asian to Italian, the tiny town boasts an impressive tasty-dining-to-tourist ratio.
Many people spend time in Roscoff on their way into greater France but it’s well worth a stop off. The train station offers regular services into larger towns.
by Emily Stewart is the Founder and Director of BASEDtraveler.com
The Good Life France recommends:
Roscoff is famous for its onions which used to be sold on the streets of Britain by French farmers who would hang strings of the onions on their bikes as they cycled from town to town selling their wares. These intrepid onion sellers were known as Onion Johnnies and you can find out more about their story at the Maison-des-Johnnies, 48 Rue Brizeux. Read more about the Onion Johnnies here.
Take a ferry to the Ile de Batz, it’s a 15 minute journey to the preserved, flowery and very charming little island (www.vedettes.armor.ile.de.batz.fr)
Star Ingredient: Brittany seaweed is making waves as French chefs use this edible bounty from the sea in trendy dishes…