travel tips: brittany

Frank Storbrauck 24. January 2022 France 241 views VERNEUIL Teddy – LEZBROZ

Rugged coasts, sandy bays, lighthouses and colorful harbors – Brittany has always been the home of bold sailors and tough fishermen. Many tourists like the. So do we. Our tips for a trip to Brittany.

If you spend your vacation in Brittany by the sea, you will quickly notice: It is a journey in the rhythm of the tides. On the left and on the right of the way there are small and big surprises, for which one should bring along time. If you travel quickly from one place to another, you will not discover the magic of Brittany.

Man standing on rock looking out to sea at Cap Frehel in Brittany

VERNEUIL Teddy – LEZBROZ

The ebb and flow of the tide, always present in the region, provide the backdrop for a magical natural spectacle. Some of France’s most famous artists, such as Paul Gauguin and Claude Monet, captured their enthusiasm and passion for light, sea and landscape in their works. But where exactly should you travel in Brittany? In our travel tips Brittany we present some beautiful places.

Weather in Brittany: The best time to travel

Travelers to Brittany should say goodbye to one thought right away: That in summer the sun smiles on your face every day at a warm 25 to 30 degrees. No, unfortunately not. The average temperature is Summer at 19 to 22 degrees – in the south of Brittany it is warmer than in the north – and the number of rainy days is relatively high: in July 20 and in August 24. The rain jacket and a sweater for the evening should always be in the suitcase, if it goes to Brittany. Nevertheless: Due to the Gulf Stream, the climate in Brittany is relatively mild. It rarely gets really cold in winter, and snow hardly ever falls, which is why frostbite sufferers can “venture” to Brittany in winter without any problems.

Therefore, the months of May, June and September are recommended. Then it is pleasantly warm. And even if in between times a shower comes down, it usually does not take long until the sun shows up again.

Couple sitting at the harbor of Paimpol in Brittany

Wonder of Brittany: Mont-Saint-Michel

The monastery mountain of Mont-Saint-Michel is also called one of the wonders of France: Located in the mudflats on the border between Normandy and Brittany, it attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.

Some come here just to take a photo of the wonderful monastery in the sea, others visit the abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, still others take part in a guided mudflat hike in the bay.

If you have little time, you should take the road D275 between Paris and Dinard. From there you have a spectacular view over fields to the mystical mountain with monastery. Those who want to experience the mountain and the bay, which has been a Unesco cultural heritage of mankind since 1979, at close quarters can do so on foot. Since 2012, there is a pedestrian bridge that makes it possible to visit the island regardless of the tide.

The bay of Le Mont-Saint-Michel from above

Dol-de-Bretagne is located very close to the well-known Emerald Coast and is nevertheless a real insider tip. Because until the 19. In the 16th century, the small town was the seat of a bishop and one of the religious capitals of Brittany. The cathedral Saint-Samson in the style of the Breton Gothic and the medieval cobblestone streets around bear witness to that. On the Mont-Dol, the 65 meters high hill, Saint-Michel is said to have once fought with the devil. According to legend, some traces in the granite of the rock still tell of this today. Spectacular is the view from the hill to the monastery mountain Le Mont-Saint-Michel, dedicated to St. Michael, and its bay.

Cycling along the tide mills

The tidal range in the bay of Le Mont-Saint-Michel, into which the Rance flows, is the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world, up to 14 meters vertically. For this reason, the course of the river Rance is characterized by high and low tide far inland. Highlights are the Moulins à maree (tide mills) made of wood and stone. There are very many of them in Brittany, among others in Campen, Cantizac, Coet Courzo, Henan and Kervillo.

The oldest tidal mill in Saint-Coulomb was first mentioned in 1181. Many of the tide mills are unfortunately no longer in operation today. The Moulin à Prat in La-Vicomte-sur-Rance, however, was restored by volunteers in the early 2000s and can be visited from spring to fall. Cycling and hiking trails link several mills together.

The islands of Brittany

Hundreds of islands, large and small, dot the coasts of Brittany. Rugged cliffs, white sandy beaches or exotic flowers – the variety of the Breton islands is great. With over 20.000 pairs of seabirds and 27 species of nesting birds are the Seven islands off the pink granite coast the largest bird sanctuary on the French coast. On board a sailing ship you can sail around the islands.

You can get up close and personal with gannets, penguins and puffins. With a bit of luck you can also see grey seals. A few nautical miles to the west on the island of Ouessant the contrasting program: rugged rocky cliffs drop deep into the sea.

This far west of France is known and feared by sailors for its violent storms and dangerous currents. Imposing lighthouses rise up on and next to the island, more about that in the next section. Heath landscapes and seemingly endless meadows with black sheep dominate the scenery in the interior of the islands.

Lighthouses in the marine nature park Iroise

In Brittany, lighthouses are a dime a dozen. Well, not quite. But there are already several dozens. 52 to be exact. In no other region of France are there more. Most of them are located on the Mer d’Iroise, 20 of them in fact.

Visitors on their way to a lighthouse in Brittany

Not without reason: the coast is considered one of the most dangerous sea routes in the world. If you want to go deep into the history of lighthouses, you should visit the museum of buoys and lighthouses on the island of Ouessant in the marine nature park Iroise. The Creac’h lighthouse, which is part of the museum, can be seen from afar. It is still in operation around the clock today.

Desire to discover more lighthouses? A wonderful overview of the most beautiful lighthouses in Brittany can be found here.

Surfing in Brittany

With its miles of sandy beaches without any obstacles, often flat seabed with constant swell and high waves at high tide, Brittany is a true surfing paradise for everyone. Kerhilio, at the beginning of the Quiberon peninsula, is the favorite spot of surfers in the know. If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, this is the place to be: surfing, windsailing, bodyboarding, kitesurfing – all possible.

Surfers in Brittany

Close to Brest, the dunes of the Pays des Abers area attract mainly kitesurfers, beginners and experienced, who can practice their favorite sport here to their heart’s content. Gliding gently over shallow lagoons in the dunes of Sainte-Marguerite near Landeda. Things are different in the dunes of Treompan to, over which foam-crowned waves often break: This spot is reserved for the experts.

The enigmatic stone rows of Carnac

The desire to delve into the secrets of the mysterious stone rows of Carnac? This spectacular collection of 3.000 stones placed, about 6.000 years v. Chr. built on the coast of Brittany is still one of the greatest archaeological mysteries in the world.

There are countless hypotheses about the origin of the megaliths: religious monuments or places of worship of moon or sun worshippers, a calendar for agriculture or, according to one legend, even a fossilized Roman army. Neolithic finds indicate that the rows of stones were probably used for religious purposes and burial rites. The best thing to do is to go into action yourself and explore the stone rows on site, enter the menhirs and the tumuli, the dolmens, and who knows, maybe you will solve the mystery of the granite giants of Carnac ..

Climbing on the Crozon Peninsula

Friends of climbing should take a look at the steep cliffs on the Atlantic coast. One of the most popular climbing spots in the region is the headland Pen Hir on the peninsula Crozon. At the 70 meters high sandstone coast no less than 100 via ferrata lead along the beach. With its edges, cracks and ledges, the cliff is suitable for all levels of climbers – and on top of it all, there’s the sound of the sea and the spray.

The summit rewards with a formidable view of the Atlantic Ocean. Boulder fans will find happiness in Kerlouan in the north of Brittany along the huge free-standing boulders.

Fresh breeze on the Côte des Legendes

In the middle of the heather and broom littered Moorland on the Côte des Legendes (Coast of Legends) and less than a hundred kilometers from Brest and Quimper, is the small granite chapel of Saint-Samson. Inside, under a midnight-blue ceiling dotted with stars, you can see statues of local saints and hear some anecdotes from the locals.

Granite chapel Saint-Samson in Brittany, France

In addition, here you can enjoy a great view of the sea and the Island of Ouessant, while the iodine-laden air blows around your nose. The camera should not be missing on a trip to the Côte des Legendes: Imposing rocks and granite blocks attract as photo motifs.

Marsh and reed houses in the nature park La Grande Brière

La Grande Brière Nature Park is one of the largest marsh and lagoon landscapes in the country. If you like, the Spreewald of France. Here the clock ticks a little slower; a wonderful place to enjoy Mother Nature in Brittany in peace and quiet. This is particularly well done behind the dikes formed by the alluvial deposits of the Loire River. A fascinating high moor has formed there.

Boat trip through Briere National Park in Brittany

The bog has an area of about 40.000 hectares. Seven islands rise from it. On a bike or boat tour through the “Black Country” you can get to know the flora and fauna better. And it is quite rewarding: white water lilies and yellow irises are often seen, a little more luck is needed to get herons, reed buzzards or spoonbills in front of the lens. Sometimes will-o’-the-wisps dance on the water surface: this is methane that comes out of the peat soils and ignites when exposed to air – a fascinating natural spectacle. A must is a visit to the island of Fedrun. The idyllic village with its charming thatched houses will make your heart beat faster.

Dinan: arts and crafts in a medieval setting

In Dinan the river Rance takes its beginning. From here it meanders with many locks, old tide mills and former fishing villages to its wide mouth into the English Channel. From the medieval castle and along the city wall, which is now the longest in Brittany, you can look down on the Rance valley from above.

City of Dinan in Brittany

In the Rue du Juerzal you can see a row of crooked houses Half-timbered houses from the Middle Ages the old harbor, one after the other. Even today you can find numerous artisans and manufactures here. Pablo Picasso was also inspired here. He spent the summer of 1922 in Villa Beauregard (Villa Schone Aussicht) and created paintings for eternity in about 50 works such as “Family by the Sea” and “Two Women Walking on the Beach”.

Saint-Malo: The corsair city of Brittany

The old town of Saint-Malo juts into the English Channel like a peninsula – with views over the beaches and harbor along the city wall and many boutiques and cafes in the winding alleys behind it. Saint-Malo became rich and famous between the 16th century. and 19. It was here that corsairs and explorers set sail for the seas in the seventeenth century.

Clovis Wood Photography

At the mouth of the Rance between Saint-Malo and the neighboring seaside resort of Dinard, you can see the first commercial Tidal power station of the world, which is still in operation today. The special feature: Electric energy is generated here from the ebb and flow of the tide. The water level at this point fluctuates up to eight meters twice a day. When an excursion boat passes through the lock, the bridge is opened and the road traffic on the dam stops for a moment – then travelers can enjoy the great view of the river.

Ateliers des Capucins in Brest: from monastery to cultural spot

Even the ride on the modern cable car from the city center up to the rocky outcrop on which the Ateliers des Capucins are located high above Brest mixes the old with the new. The former Capuchin monastery has already experienced an immense change when the local navy set up its workshops here. No one was allowed in here for almost 300 years. Today, the opposite is the case: flooded with light and in chic design, the studios are a meeting place for the local cultural scene: skaters, artists, concept stores, a micro-brewery and exhibitions fill the Ateliers des Capucins with life.

Skaters at the Ateliers des Capucins in Brest

24-hour sailing trip in the Brehat archipelago

Fancy feeling like a sailor for a change? Then off to the port of Saint-Quay-Portrieux. There, between May and October, the 25-ton lobster trawler Saint-Quay takes four to eight people on a 24 hours long sailing trip into the sunset. Although there is plenty of time to chill out on board, there is also plenty of time to participate. Everyone on board helps hoist the sails and perform maneuvers on the open sea.

It goes past the steep cliffs in Plouha, lighthouses and rock islands to the archipelago of the flower island Brehat. In the evening, dinner on deck with self-caught mackerel or whatever the fishing net spits out. If you want to go on board, you should bring a headlamp, blankets, pillows, and wind- and weatherproof clothing. Departure is at 2 p.m., return at 12 p.m. the next day. Reservation is strongly recommended.

Exploring Brittany by houseboat

Brittany is made for Houseboat vacations. Water is omnipresent here, the water network is enormous with a total length of 600 kilometers and is mostly reserved for recreational boating only.

Houseboat in Chevaigne, Brittany

One of the largest houseboat rental companies in the region is Le Boat. From its base southwest of Rennes, for example, the Vilaine River heads south to Redon, where what were once Brittany’s most important trade routes cross: the Nantes-Brest Canal and the Ille-Rance Canal, the English Channel and Atlantic Ocean. Over the rivers Aff and Oust it goes to La Gacilly. The 2.The village of Brest, home to Yves Rocher and known for France’s largest open-air photo festival, which takes place every summer, is home to over 1,000 people.

It is also easy to explore the region from the water with the houseboats of Nicols. In Glenac and Suce-sur-Erdre are houseboat bases of Nicols in Brittany, from which you can also book one-way trips. At the junction of the Vilaine, the Erdre and the Nantes Canal, culture lovers and culinary enthusiasts in particular will come across exciting discoveries. The enchanting city of Nantes can be reached from Suce sur Erdre in just two hours and without passing a lock.

Delicious food in Brittany

Person holding an oyster

Buckwheat crepe with fried egg and cooked ham

Crêpe but times: Delicacy from Brittany prepare yourself

The crêpe is as much a part of the menu in Brittany as the Weibwurst is in Bavaria – it’s hard to imagine life without it. If you are wondering how to make something so delicious while enjoying the Breton delicacies, you should visit the crêpes workshop of Chef Vero in Benodet. Because there are different Cooking classes to prepare crêpes offered. Course participants learn everything about the ingredients, the correct preparation of the dough and – finally not unimportant – how to turn the crêpes correctly in the pan. In addition to the sweet version, you will also learn about the savory crêpe dough made from buckwheat. Hopefully, it goes without saying that the crêpes delicacies will be eaten by the course participants after their work is done ..

Crepes with banana and chocolate cream

Overnight stay in a shipowner’s house or manor house

With their treasures captured on the high seas, the corsairs in the 17th century built themselves a hotel. and 18. Century several dozen stately shipowners’ cottages, the so-called “Malouinière. The style of these “Malounières” is unique with their long white facades and projecting wings. One of the shipowners’ houses built by rich shipowners and merchants from Saint Malo is the Chambre d’hôtes La Baronnie. The interior of the hotel retains the old-fashioned charm of an old family home, combining woodwork, massive wall hangings and rustic oak floors. An eye-catcher at the entrance: Here you are greeted by a magnificent staircase in the shape of a lion’s head from the 17th century. Century welcomes. There are seven guest rooms and suites to choose from, two sleeping cars (!) and a cottage in the garden.

Hotel Manoir de la Baronnie

Manoir de Rulianec on the Crozon Peninsula

Perched on a rock high above the Atlantic Ocean, the Manoir de Rulianec. The manor house, built in 1928, offers 700 square meters of space with 14 bedrooms, most of them with views over the vast Atlantic, and a wooden terrace with plenty of room for friends and family. Even though a heated outdoor pool is part of the property: the most beautiful pool is located below the rock: the sandy beaches of Morgat and Porvic, to which a small private path leads from the house, are ideal for a swim in the ocean or a walk by the sea surrounded by nature. Because the Crozon peninsula is part of the Armorique natural park, which extends over the northwest of Brittany.

Relais du Silence Les Costans in Perros Guirec

Perros Guirec is an ideal starting point for excursions to the nearby Sept Îles, the setting in the novel “Breton Gold”. The hotel is located in the heart of Perros-Guirec, above the cliffs. It is surrounded by two fine sandy beaches and a park with centuries-old trees. The 27 rooms of the 3-star hotel, decorated in a maritime style, invite you to relax with a view of the sea or the garden.

Here we have another tip by the sea. For the Relais du Silence Hotel Le Tumulus is located in the seaside resort of Carnac and is an excellent starting point for tours to the islands Ile aux Moines and Ile d’ Arz. The 18 rooms of the 3-star hotel are furnished with solid wood furniture and designed in pastel tones that are both simple and refined. Some rooms have direct sea view, others look onto the garden. The panoramic restaurant of the hotel offers a regionally inspired and seasonally varying cuisine. The selected ingredients are almost all from local producers.

Tips on how to get to Brittany

How to get there. Brittany can be reached more or less easily by car, train or plane. In less than 90 minutes you can travel with the French TGV along the Atlantic high-speed connection from Paris-Montparnasse to the Breton capital Rennes. Then the train continues to Saint-Brieuc and Brest. The route is served up to three times an hour, depending on the time of day, but the ninety-minute non-stop service is only available every three hours. There is also a direct connection from Strasbourg to Rennes once a day.

Gare de Rennes (main station)

There are also direct connections from Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport to Rennes, Brest, Lorient, Dinard and Nantes. The flight time varies between 55 minutes to Rennes and 75 minutes to Brest.

There is also good news for those arriving by car. Freeways marked with an A, which are often subject to tolls in France, do not exist in Brittany. Here you ride for free. There is no charge for driving on the two- to four-lane national roads (N) or the country road between the sea and the forests. The distance between Rennes and Munich is 1.170, Berlin 1.400 and Cologne 850 kilometers.

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