Brittany Places To Visit On Holiday

St Malo, Ille et Vilaine, Brittany, France

Brest

The second most populated Breton city after Rennes, Brest is located on the mouth of the Elorn River, right where the river joins the Atlantic Ocean. The city is also home to one of the country's largest harbours, and some of its most interesting sites to visit are to do with the sea - for example the amazing Oceanopolis, a unique aquarium in Europe offering a tour of the world's oceans, and the Moulin-Blanc, a huge marina extending across Brest and two towns that are part of its metropolitan area.

Despite having been destroyed and subsequently rebuilt as quickly as possible - making the city not as pleasant to the eye as it could have been - Brest and its area offer some beautiful places to visit. The cliffs and beaches are lovely, the little valley of Stang-Alar or the bank of the Penfeld make for enjoyable, 'greener' walks, or for those preferring the inside, the city also houses some old castles and museums open to the public.

Concarneau

Concarneau is one of France's largest fishing ports and most popular resorts. It developed around the historic heart of the city - a walled town on a small island, you need to go on a boat to actually get there! This part of Concarneau is also one of France's most photographed areas and a huge attraction.

Concarneau's most well known event is the Festival des Filets Bleus, or Blue Nets Festival, which attracts between 50 000 and 100 000 visitors every year and celebrates Breton music, dance and culture - ending spectacularly with fireworks and a fest-noz.

You can also visit the fishing museum showing the history of Breton ports as well as a few castles and manors, and wander the flower-filled streets to watch the boats go by.

Dinan

One of France's most attractive walled towns, Dinan is a beautiful city built on a hill surrounded by huge ramparts, and overlooks the Rance River. The city houses many ancient buildings such as castles, churches and basilicas. The massive castle, sometimes called the Duchess Anne Castle, is actually part of the ramparts surrounding the town, and can be visited. The ramparts themselves make for a beautiful walk, and the view from up there is worth the trip.

More museums, gardens and cobbled streets hide within, and Dinan is the perfect medieval town, filled with great craft shops and cafes. Festivals and events dedicated to music and culture take place throughout the year as well - all of this combine to make Dinan one of the main tourist spots in the Cotes d'Armor in particular, and in Northern Brittany in general.

Dinard

An elegant seaside resort, it is an especially popular destination for British and American tourists thanks to its many 'belle epoque' villas and casinos and its famous 'British Movies Festival' held every year. Its many villas can be found everywhere around the town, and the most famous one, the Villa Roches Brunes actually belongs to the town and houses many art exhibitions throughout the year.

Dinard offers no less than four glorious beaches, and the main one, the Ecluse Beach, also has a casino, an Olympic pool and a convention centre alongside it.

You can also enjoy pretty coastal walks, sub-tropical vegetation, and even visit the nearby Rance Dam, which was, until 2011, the largest tidal power plant in the entire world, and acts as a bridge between Saint-Malo and Dinard.

Fougeres

Located at the border with Normandy on one side, and with a huge forest on the other, Fougeres is an ancient town full of beautiful gardens and ancient monuments. An especially remarkable park is the pretty public garden, which has even been recognized as a 'protected site' by the French State. A mix of English and French style gardens, this park offers a breathtaking view of the city below.

Fougeres is most well known for its many historical monuments, and even houses the largest medieval castle in Europe, the Forteresse des Marches de Bretagne. High on the hills and surrounded by water, this castle is an open door to centuries of medieval history. It is open to the public, and the visit is punctuated with light and sound shows.

Morlaix

A thriving port in medieval times, once notorious for piracy, Morlaix is an interesting town in the form of a deep valley - steps are almost vertical between the highest and lowest heights of the town! Morlaix is overlooked by a striking pink granite viaduct above the town carrying trains from Paris to Brest.

A famous, popular tourist town in Finistere, Morlaix is an old town where one can still find cobbled streets, medieval houses, including one that belonged to Duchess Anne, a theatre, a museum, and a castle.

Quiet and picturesque, Morlaix nonetheless come to life to the sound of music in April during its Panoramas Festival, which attracts more than 20 000 visitor every year.

Quimper

Considered to be Brittany's oldest city, Quimper is nonetheless a buzzling and lively city. Crossed by four little rivers and merely a few miles away from the Atlantic Ocean, Quimper is a beautiful town, with countless historic sites, beautiful views all around, and plenty to do.

Quimper is famous for its distinctive ‘faience’ pottery, which make for great souvenirs. You can also relax in cafes around the Gothic cathedral of Saint-Corentin, or take a quiet walk along the bank of one of the rivers crossing the town. Discover the lively covered market and enjoy outstanding nineteenth and twentieth century works in Quimper’s Musee des Beaux-Arts.

Rennes

The historic city of Rennes always had an important position - once one of the chosen capitals of the dukes of Brittany, it has now been the capital of Brittany as a French region since 1561. Full of art and history, home to a wide variety of renowned music and cinematic festivals, Rennes is the one city that should be visited when coming to Brittany - especially since it's only an hour's drive away from Saint-Malo!

As a major historic city, Rennes has many ancient buildings - from remnants of ramparts built during the 15thcentury, beautiful plazas from the 17th century, and many more churches, theatres and buildings built across the centuries - including the Parliament of Brittany which is open to the public.

Rennes also houses many museums and even an opera house. Many famous musicians come from Rennes, and it was even called the 'rock city' back in the 1990s - the Regional Breton Orchestra is also located there. As a 'musical city', some of its most important festivals are musical events, and the city resounds throughout the year to the sound of its many music festivals.

 

Rostrenen

This small, quiet town located in the historic Fisel region, is sometimes called one of Brittany’s prettiest towns, and is home to a handful of historic monuments. Its central location makes it ideal for exploring Brittany, including the coasts and the Nantes-Brest Canal.

Despite its size, Rostrenen enjoys an active cultural life, mostly on the side of music festivals. Fest-noz are popular, and traditional dance and music are celebrated during the Fisel Festival each year. It also has a good selection of restaurants, a thriving Tuesday market, lakes for fishing and watersports, and holds a traditional ‘Pardon’ in mid August dating back to the fourteenth century.

Saint-Malo

This lovely walled city is one of Brittany Ferries’ arrival ports. A major touristic town, it has a lot of beautiful sites, including magnificent views of the sea and the many little islands littering the bay from the ramparts. Many of these islands have castles that are open to the public - and, when the tide is low, you can actually go there on foot!

Many festivals can be enjoyed in the city throughout the year, including the famous Route du Rock festival, but also other, less well-known events dedicated to classical music, street arts, and even comic books.

It is also a shopping paradise and a huge variety of boutiques, cafes and restaurants abounds. Follow signs to the city’s magnificent Aquarium on the outskirts.

Vannes

Considered to be Southern Brittany’s major tourist town, Vannes is prosperous and picturesque, and hides behind its ramparts a maze of narrow streets and half-timbered houses. The city has earned the 'City of Art and History' label, and houses many monuments and sites of cultural significance.

Part of the city is called  'Old Vannes', and you can discover it and the city's legacy through guided visits. Old plazas, villas, castles, gardens, and even a Fine Arts museum are part of Vannes's long historic heritage.

Vannes is also the gateway to the beautiful islands of the Gulf of Morbihan - you can book a boat trip to Visit the Musee Archeologique and take a boat trip to the beautiful islands in the Gulf of Morbihan - there are more than 30 of them!

Vitre

A relatively small town, Vitre is located near Rennes enjoys a long historic heritage. Indeed, the city celebrated in 2008 its 1000th year of recorded history. Its important legacy earned it the 'City of Art and History' label, as well as an inscription on the official 'Most beautiful places to visit in France' list.

With more than 15% of the department's historic monument within its territory, the town is full of medieval streets, half-timbered houses, castle, museums and gardens which are open all-year round.

History isn't all the town has to offer, however - with many musical, sport or folk festivals, and even the biggest carnival in Brittany every year around Easter, Vitre is a beautiful, vibrant town. It is also one of the only towns where public transport is completely free - so you can relax and enjoy a tour of the town without having to worry about how much it's going to cost you.

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