From fairytale towns to rugged coastline, Brittany is a place where land meets the sea and myths come to life. Salty sea air constantly whips through the French region, never letting up and ever bringing fresh, new, and exciting changes to the area. Brittany has seven hundred millennia worth of history and even its own language, Breton. Here are the very best things to do in Brittany…
- #1 Wander the walls of Saint-Malo
- #2 Check out Dinan Medieval Town
- #3 Go hiking at Le Pointe du Grouin
- #4 Soak up the ambience of Saint Suliac
- #5 Snap pictures of Rochefort-en-Terre
- #6 Visit the Presque-Île de Quiberon: Quiberon and La Côte Sauvage
- #7 Be amazed by the Carnac Stones
- #8 See flowers in bloom at Domaine Montmarin
- #9 Sample local cuisine (think crepes, cider and all the pastries)
- #10 Wander historic Rennes
- #11 Marvel at the Abbaye de Beauport
- #12 Discover the ancient port of Saint Goustan
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#1 Wander the walls of Saint-Malo
If you’re only able to do one thing during your visit to Brittany, then make it a visit to the walled and fortified town of Saint-Malo. After all, residents of this unique settlement consider themselves ‘Malouins’ above all else, have a history of pirating and the town was founded in the sixth century by a saint of the same name, Saint-Malo.
#2 Check out Dinan Medieval Town
A fortified fairytale down with a steep main road and plenty of pretty eateries, Dinan easily makes the list of the best things to do in Brittany. And not just because it looks great in photos (though you should totally take your camera when you visit!) Instead, it’s filled with quirky history and cobbled lanes that lead to… Well, I’ll let you discover that one for yourself when you visit Dinan!
#3 Go hiking at Le Pointe du Grouin
Wild waves crash against the rugged coastline. Nearby, a few micro-islands lie off the French coastline, reserved for wildlife preservation. With any luck, you’ll spot a rare bird, or see an entire family flock to the rocks for protection from the sea spit that’s constantly thrown into the air by the roaring water.
The sun sets over the sea and candy colours dance across the skyline. It’s warm, but not too hot. It’s beautiful, mesmerising and the reason why you came to Brittany in the first place. Pointe du Grouin (literal translation ‘pig’s snout’) is an escape from modern day life (literally- there’s no WiFi!) and located just a few kilometres from the equally beautiful resort town of Cancale.
#4 Soak up the ambience of Saint Suliac
Often cited as one of the most beautiful villages in Brittany, if not all of France, Saint Suliac is all cobbled lanes, seaside walks and even has a Norman church dating back to the twelfth century. Although Saint Suliac doesn’t have much by way of attractions, its charm lies in its pretty façades and traditional Breton architecture.
#5 Snap pictures of Rochefort-en-Terre
Brittany is filled with tiny towns and picturesque villages that are just like stepping back in time (though fortunately with the use of camera equipment to capture it all!) Rochefort-en-Terre is often listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France…
And it’s not hard to see why! Wander around its cobbled lanes, simply seeing where your feet might take you. Explore the medieval château and try some local cuisine in one of the area’s many restaurants and cafés.
Rochefort en Terre, around 1900
#6 Visit the Presque-Île de Quiberon: Quiberon and La Côte Sauvage
The almost-island of Presqu’Île de Quiberon (or ‘peninsula’ if you want to be technical in English) may well be Brittany’s secret gem- it’s only really known about by the locals. Stretching out almost nine miles into the sea, the small strip of land is in the Morbihan region of Brittany and is filled with wildlife reserves and extensive coastal walks.
In the very heart of the Quiberon bay, you’ll find a town of the same name. Quiberon is everything you’d expect of a typical Breton town; a mix of blue painted wooden houses and the granite that’s so typical of the area.
#7 Be amazed by the Carnac Stones
Although arguably not as world famous as the equally prehistoric Stonehenge, the Carnac Stones should be. After all, they’re the largest collection of megalithic sites in the world. Drive around the Carnac area, and you’ll find vast quantities of alignments, dolmens, tumuli and single menhirs. And the strange thing is: no one knows how they got there (or why)! In total, over 3000 stones have been strategically placed, and the entire site really is a sight to behold…
#8 See flowers in bloom at Domaine Montmarin
Come summertime, the entire region of Brittany is awash with beautiful blooms. Fragrant scents fill the air, and mixed with the salted air, the combination is just magical. Head to Domaine Montmarin (as we did during our three days in Brittany) to see traditional French landscaped gardens surrounded by the sea and set against the backdrop of a French château.
#9 Sample local cuisine (think crepes, cider and all the pastries)
Of course, no post about Brittany (or indeed any French region!) would be complete without at least a quick nod to many of the fine French produce on offer. Brittany is best known for its salted butter (soooo good!), an abundance of crepes, fresh seafood and variety of pastries. While there, make sure you try a ‘Kouign-Amann‘. All butter, sugar, and light pastry it’s pretty much heaven on earth. And yes, you can thank me later!
#10 Wander historic Rennes
The ancient city of Rennes dates all the way back to the Roman era (and before) and is the capital of the region. Located in the east of Brittany, the first recording of Rennes we have is as a small Gallic village by the name of Condate.
Today, the city is the tenth largest in France and is packed with historical and cultural things to do. Head to Rennes to see beautifully landscaped gardens, the parliament of Bretagne, and plenty of art galleries.
#11 Marvel at the Abbaye de Beauport
If you’re in the Northern part of Brittany and you’re looking for something cultural to do, then you need to look no further than Beauport Abbey. Part ruin, the stunning former ecclesiastical building dates back to the beginning of the 13th-century and has seen plenty of history over the ages.
Today, visitors of all ages will enjoy meandering through the grounds, snapping photos of the cloisters, and enjoying various year ’round events which take place at the cultural hub. The abbey is best accessed if you have a car as it is on the fringes of Paimpol.
#12 Discover the ancient port of Saint Goustan
Once upon a time, the charming fishing settlement of Saint Goustan was a village in of itself. Over time, the nearby city of Auray has expanded to the point where the city has enveloped the port and now St Goustan is the historic heart of Auray.
Today, you can wander along small cobbled lanes, soak up the ambiance, marvel at the historic boats docked in the harbour, and even eat local Breton fare at one of the friendly taverns alongside the port. Elsewhere in Auray, there’s a range of historical gems to discover including a regal looking town hall, 19th-century architecture, and a handful of chapels and churches.
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