Varied landscapes, a fascinating folklore tradition, Celtic culture—Brittany is one of France’s most intriguing regions. (Plus, the dramatic coastline and white-sand beaches make this northwestern peninsula that much more spectacular!) Read on to discover some of the features that make the Brittany Coast an unparalleled gem that you should be sure to visit on your tour of France.
The Brittany Coast is dotted with an array of old-world towns, ancient fortress cities, and scenic ports, which hint at the peninsula’s storied past and rich maritime heritage. One of the coast’s most notable fortified cities is Saint-Malo. This walled port sits on a granite islet and was once home to a legion of privateers who made their fortunes pillaging foreign ships. Walk along the town’s medieval ramparts and discover why the city is distinguished as one of the most famous features in Brittany.
Another must-visit coastal location, which can be found on the banks of the River Rance, is the quaint city of Dinan. The ancient cobbled streets and half-timbered houses that run through this charming riverfront area bring the Middle Ages to life.
Brittany’s coastline is punctuated by a series of islands that boast jagged cliffs, pebbled beaches, and stunning views. Although they’re each noteworthy in their own right, a visit to many of the smaller islands depends on the level of the tide. For example, you have to wait until low tide to visit Grand Bé. Only then can you walk along the sandbank to the island and visit the tomb of French novelist, diplomat, and Romanticist François-Auguste-René, the Vicomte of Chateaubriand.
From the coastal fisheries to the sweeping apple orchards, the Brittany region is the prime spot to find good French food and drink. For the best in fresh seafood, try oysters in the seaside town of Cancale, which is known as France’s “oyster capital.” Want a sweet bite? Head to one of the region’s many crêperies to try a famous crêpe. These sweet, thin pancakes are cooked to order and can be served with any number of fillings. Wash all the regional food down with a nice glass of apple cider or apple brandy called Calvados—two of the region’s other famous products.