An insider’s guide to Morbihan in southern Brittany, including the main attractions to visit on holiday, the best towns and villages to live in and buying property in Brittany.
With everything from prehistoric sites and medieval towns to stunning coastlines and mouth-watering seafood, the department of Morbihan in southern Brittany has plenty to suit all tastes. It is perhaps most famous for the Carnac stones, a collection of megalithic sites which predate Stonehenge, and the Gulf of Morbihan, a natural harbour on the coast.
Morbihan, which means small sea in Breton, is named after the enclosed stretch of sea along its coastline and it is the only French department whose name is derived from the Breton language.
Getting to Morbihan
Plane: There are airports in Rennes, Brest, Dinard and Quimper with regular flights from the UK.
Train: The nearest station is Vannes. You can get the Eurostar to Paris and TGV to Rennes, and then regional services take you to Vannes.
Ferry: The nearest ferry ports are Roscoff and St-Malo with regular ferries from Ireland and the UK
Places to visit in Morbihan
Vannes: Located at the mouth of the Rivers Marle and Vincin, Vannes is twinned with the town of Fareham in the UK. The name Vannes comes from the seafaring Celtic people Veneti, who lived in the Brittany peninsula which in Roman times formed part of an area called Armorica.
Belle-Île: Just a stone’s throw from Quiberon lays the island of Belle-Île, the largest of Brittany’s islands. With 85 square kilometres of sandy dunes, sculpted cliffs and beautiful scenery to discover, it is a very popular holiday destination in Morbihan. The island is famed for its foodie culture and the sardines and salted butter caramel are a must-try.
Ile de Groix: Groix has a few small towns, with the heart of the island on the hill in Le Bourg. A small square of cafés and shops, with a church whose spire is topped with a sculpture of a tuna – at the start of the 20th century the island had one of the largest tuna fishing ports in France. The island is easily explored by bike and offers marine activities, nature walks and fishing, although it is mainly known for its sandy beaches.
Things to do in Morbihan
Morbihan is home to the Plus Beau Village of Rochefort-en-Terre, which sits high above the River Arz. When he bought the local château in 1907, French-born American painter Alfred Kotz encouraged residents to decorate their homes with geraniums. The tradition still continues and the flower-bedecked houses have resulted in numerous awards for the most beautiful village in bloom. According to legend, the Gulf of Morbihan has as many islands as there are days of the year, but in actual fact there are between 30 and 40.
Local specialities include crab, lobster, oysters and scallops, while crêpes and galettes – sweet and savoury pancakes with a variety of fillings – are popular throughout the Brittany region.
Buying property in Morbihan
The average property price in Morbihan is €160,000 (just slightly higher than the average property price in France €158,000) making it the second most expensive department in the region of Brittany, second to Ille-et-Vilaine.
The more expensive area is around the seaside commune of Lorient where properties average at €190,000. The most expensive villages to be found in Lorient are Groix, Quéven and Port-Louis.
If you’re on a budget but you’d still like to enjoy the lifestyle Morbihan has plenty to offer, look in the direction of Vannes where property is on average, €30,000 cheaper than Lorient at €160,000.
You can find properties in Morbihan for sale on the France Property Shop website.
For more information about Morbihan, visit: http://www.morbihan-tourism.co.uk/
For more on the French departments, visit:
For information on the French regions visit:
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