<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
5 ISSUES FOR £5 Subscribe to France Magazines today click here

Brittany region guide

PUBLISHED: 10:49 11 February 2016 | UPDATED: 15:04 15 November 2016

Ploumanac'h on the Brittany coast © RicoK69 / ThinkstockPhotos

Ploumanac'h on the Brittany coast © RicoK69 / ThinkstockPhotos


An insider’s guide to Brittany in northern France, including the main attractions, towns and villages to visit on holiday or live in, the major festivals and events, and where to buy a property in Brittany

Occupying the north-west corner of France, Brittany is a popular region with British holidaymakers and expats mainly due to its close proximity to the UK. It is easy to travel to Brittany from the UK by ferry making it a good option for a holiday or second home. Brittany also has a similar climate to southern Britain with mild winters and warm summers but not too hot. There are lots of beaches and coastal walks as well as a few busy towns and plenty of medieval villages, and property prices are below the average for France making it attractive to expats and holidaymakers alike.

Brittany was one of 6 Celtic nations and so has strong cultural links with Cornwall, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The Breton culture is still strong in Brittany with its own regional language and regular Breton festivals with traditional music, dances and costumes.

Map of France's regions © Living France Map of France's regions © Living France


The region of Brittany is made up of 4 departments:

Morbihan on Brittany’s southern coast is popular with sailors and wildlife enthusiasts. The capital city is Vannes.

Côtes-d’Armor is on Brittany’s northern coast and offers rugged coastline and tranquil countryside. The capital city is St-Brieuc.

Finistère is France’s westernmost region and has 750 miles of coastline. The capital city is Quimper.

Ille-et-Vilaine has only a small coastline, which includes Saint-Malo and the vibrant city of Rennes is its capital.

Getting here

Ferry: Brittany is easily accessed by ferry from the UK. The ferry ports of Roscoff and Saint-Malo have ferries from Portsmouth, Plymouth, Weymouth, Rosslare and Cork.

Plane: There are airports at Rennes, Lorient, Quimper, Dinard and Brest which have seasonal flights from the UK. Nantes airport and Paris airport are within a few hours drive.

Train: Brittany is on the high-speed TGV train line and you can reach Rennes from Paris in just over two hours.

Rennes, capital of Brittany © GUILLAUDEAU Donatienne / Region Bretagne Rennes, capital of Brittany © GUILLAUDEAU Donatienne / Region Bretagne

Places to visit in Brittany

The capital of Brittany is Rennes, a vibrant city with a young student population and thriving bar and café nightlife. Much of the city was destroyed in a fire in 1720 and has been rebuilt in a similar style to Paris. If you are there on a Saturday visit the morning market to stock up on some Breton food and don’t miss the striking Parliament building.

The historic town of Saint-Malo is where many visitors land in Brittany from the ferry. It is renowned for its imposing fortifications and the main attraction in Saint-Malo is ‘le tour des murs’, a walk around the massive ramparts where sentries once stood.

The other major ferry port in Brittany is Roscoff, a Petite Cité de Caractère full of boulangeries, crêperies and galleries and a classic Breton mix of half-timbered houses and granite cottages.

Dinan in Brittany © LAMBART Norbert / Region Bretagne Dinan in Brittany © LAMBART Norbert / Region Bretagne

Another coastal town is Dinard which became a fashionable seaside resort for the Parisians, Brits and Americans at the start of the 19th century. The villas they built have been carefully preserved but the most famous sight is the blue-and-white striped tents that line the sandy beaches.

Brittany has a number of medieval towns to visit including the impressive fortified town of Dinan. It has a maze of cobbled streets which look out over the River Rance.

Quimper is the ancient capital of Cornouaille and the cultural heart of Brittany. It celebrates its Breton culture with a festival every summer.

Other charming old-world towns to visit are Locronan and Pont-Croix which have remained untouched for centuries, and Morlaix and Concarneau.

Ploumanac'h © LE GAL Yannick / CRT Bretagne Ploumanac'h © LE GAL Yannick / CRT Bretagne

Most people visit Brittany to explore the spectacular coastal scenery and with nearly 3,000km of coastline then is plenty to explore! The dramatic Pink Granite Coast (Côte de Granit Rose) runs from Louannec to Plestin-les-Grèves, 28km away and boasts secret coves, scenic coastal walks and sandy beaches. The best known, and one of the most striking, beaches along the Pink Granite Coast is Ploumanac’h. This pretty seaside village was voted France’s favourite village in 2015 and there is the romantic Château de Costaérèsas and famous pink granite lighthouse to discover.

As well as a dramatic coastline Brittany has a number of islands just off shore to be discovered. Belle-Île-en-Mer is the largest island in Brittany and has a wild, rocky coast, sandy beaches and a pretty capital town, Le Palais, with shops and restaurants. The islands are a haven for wildlife and exotic plants. Île de Batz has more than 2,000 exotic plants in the Jardin Georges Delasselle, the Île de Groix is an exceptional nature reserve and the archipelago of Ouessant and Molène is classified as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. Find out more about Brittany’s islands: 10 beautiful French islands to visit and explore

Belle-Ile-en-Mer in Brittany © CRTB / BERTHIER Emmanuel Belle-Ile-en-Mer in Brittany © CRTB / BERTHIER Emmanuel

Things to do in Brittany

Brittany has many fêtes and festivals, mainly during the summer months, but the largest and best known are the Festival Interceltique in Lorient and the Festival de Cornouaille in Quimper. Both of these festivals celebrate the Breton culture with traditional music and Fest Noz dances. There are also seafood festivals such as the Fête de la Coquille Saint-Jacques (scallop festival) in Saint-Quay-Portrieux, Loguivy-de-la-Mer and Erquy.

With such a long coastline, Brittany has an abundant supply of seafood, including oysters from Cancale, and scallops. Brittany’s most famous dish has to be its pancakes. The savoury pancakes are called galettes, made with wholemeal flour and often filled with ham, cheese and eggs, while the sweet pancakes are called crêpes, made from white flour and filled with cream, chocolate and fresh fruit. Cider is the local drink or wine from the nearby Loire Valley.

Festival de Cornouaille in Quimper © Festival de Cornouaille Festival de Cornouaille in Quimper © Festival de Cornouaille

If you enjoy sailing or boating, or just want to give it a try, then Brittany is a good place to visit. Serious sailors test their skills in the Gulf of Morbihan and there is a choice of canals for cruising, including the Canal de Nantes à Brest.

Brittany is a great area for outdoor enthusiasts, especially hikers who can try the GR34 (grande randonnée) route that encircles Brittany, one of the many coastal paths or the Parc Naturel Régional d’Armorique, Brittany’s only regional park and home to the peaks of the Monts d’Arrée. If you fancy a more enchanting walk try the Forët de Brocéliande, the forest of King Arthur.

Vannes © LE-GAL-Yannick / Region Bretagne Vannes © LE-GAL-Yannick / Region Bretagne

Buying property in Brittany

Brittany is a relatively affordable region for property – the average resale price is around €148,000 compared to the national average of €157,600 – but prices obviously vary depending on the area you are looking to buy a property in.

The cheapest department is Côtes-d’Armor with an average property price of €121,000. Its cheap property prices, sandy beaches and typical Breton towns make Côtes-d’Armor popular with expats and second-home owners.

Finistère is the second cheapest department with an average property price of €138,000. Finistère appeals to outdoor people with its wild rugged coast and tranquil countryside.

Morbihan is quite a bit more expensive with an average property price of €160,000 due to its popularity with holidaymakers and retirees and the presence of several popular towns, including Vannes.

Ille-et-Vilaine is the most expensive department in Brittany with an average property price of €175,000 because it is home to two popular towns – the capital of Brittany, Rennes, and the harbour town of Saint-Malo.

Properties close to the coast are more expensive as are the major towns – some of Brittany’s most expensive areas are Saint-Malo, Vannes, Lorient, Brest and the capital city Rennes which all have average property prices over the average for Brittany.

Properties further away from the Brittany coast and in the countryside are cheaper – some of Brittany’s cheapest areas are Guingamp, Pontivy, Morlaix and Châteaulin where average property prices are below €120,000.

The traditional property style in Brittany is the Breton longère, a rectangular house built from granite with a slate or thatched roof most often found in the countryside. You will also find half-timbered properties and stately homes.

To find out more about Brittany visit www.brittanytourism.com

More reading:

5 reasons why Brittany is so desirable to British buyers

British expats running a B&B in Brittany

A family holiday in Brittany

10 beautiful French islands to explore


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Complete France visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Complete France staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Complete France account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Article by France Magazine France Magazine

More from Travel

Want to enjoy a boat holiday on the French waterways but not sure where to go? We’ve picked 11 of the best canals and navigable rivers to cruise on in France

Read more
Boating in France
Wed, 12:53

Although the Champagne region isn’t necessarily the first place you think of when planning a barge cruise holiday, it offers beautiful scenery, great places to visit and, of course, plenty of champagne! And with prices from just €1,220 per person, it’s more affordable than you might think...

Read more
Boating in France
Mon, 10:02

Rooting and rummaging around a French brocante is one of the best ways to spend a weekend morning. Here are 7 flea markets you won’t want to miss...

Read more
Friday, February 9, 2018

Christopher Nolan’s big-budget action film Dunkirk is up for eight Oscars at next month’s awards. Here are the Dunkirk locations to look out for when watching the film...

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

France is full of beautiful places to explore and discover during your stay. These are a few of our favourite spots for you to visit during your next trip

Read more
Short breaks
Sunday, January 28, 2018

France is famous for its romantic places and as a destination for starry-eyed lovers. Here are our favourite 8, from its fabulous capital Paris to the little village of St-Valentin

Read more
Friday, January 26, 2018

Can you name all 20 of these French locations?

Read more
Apester quiz/poll
Thursday, January 25, 2018

The weather may be a bit grey and gloomy this time of year, but the City of Light offers plenty of things to do and see in the winter

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Finding your own new cycle routes can be a great part of a cycling adventure; Andy from Fellow Velo shares some tips on what to look out for when you are researching your rides off the beaten track

Read more
Cycling in France
Friday, January 19, 2018

Although less famous than their Loire Valley counterparts, the châteaux of Burgundy-Franche-Comté offer a range of attractions. Here are our favourites...

Read more
Subscribe today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now