"French, yes, but Breton first" Top 5 Page for this destination Bretagne by bzh

Bretagne Travel Guide: 1,955 reviews and 6,238 photos

Bretagne, or Brittany in English, is the most western region of France. It is divided in four "départements", Ille et Villaine in the East, Côtes d'Armor in the North, Morbihan in the South and Finistère int the West. The largest city is Rennes with approximately 300.000 inhabitants. One city that is missing on this map is Nantes, located further South along the coast. Historically and culturally, Nantes has always been part of Brittany and was even the capital of the region for a long time, where the Dukes of Brittany had their court. Unfortunately, due to modern Parisian central planning, Nantes is now officially in the Pays de Loire region rather that in Brittany.

Brittany has its own language, Breton, which is very close to Welsh and Cornish. It is spoken by few people but has been enjoying a revival over the past few years. The official language is French, as everywhere else in France, but English is widely spoken, especially in towns and by the younger generations.

A life with the sea

Geologically speaking, Brittany is an old mountain range. although the highest point, Menez-Hom is only 330 metres above sea level, the whole region is far from flat and the coast can be very dramatic. The Norwegians have fjords, the Bretons have abers.

Due to its geography, Brittany has always had dealings with the ocean, for commerce, fishing, navy or pleasure. Every stretch of coast has its small harbours and beaches. The most amazing feature of the coastal landscape here is that it can change extremely quickly from white sandy beaches to impressive vertical cliffs.

The other natural phenomenon Brittany is well known for is the weather. Variable would be an understatement. You can find rain or brilliant sunshine at any time of the year and it can change from the one to the other in minutes. The only constant is the wind. Rarely will you find a day without wind. The consequence of this is that the temperature is very moderate, warm winters and cool summers. The most impressive meteorological phenomenon? Winter thunderstorms: rain, wind up to 250 km/h, thunder, you name it... but what a spectacle!

Celtic heritage

One thing to always remember about the Bretons, they are extremely proud of their country and their cultural heritage. You are Breton before being French. Brittany is famous for having kept cultural aspects and monoliths from the time of the Celts. This is why Brittany has strong links to other maritime regions of Celtic heritage such as Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Cantabria.

The photograph of the Celtic triskel on the side is from the web site http://www.hirondelle.oiseaux.net/croyances.html
Similar symbols can be found everywhere in Brittany.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful beaches and coastline, the freshest fish and seafood, crepes, cider, very welcoming people
  • Cons:The weather
  • Intro Updated Feb 26, 2003
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Reviews (23)

Comments (9)

  • uaamom's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2007 at 5:36 PM

    I lived in Bretagne as a little girl and went back as a "jeune fille au pair". I miss the cidre and wish someone would make it-locally- in the US (near Santa Fe!)!

  • northvan's Profile Photo
    Sep 30, 2006 at 11:00 PM

    Great page and excurs in history of Bretagne. Will use your tips when there in a week. Thanks! ps. Love your comments on regional food speciality.

  • Mikebond's Profile Photo
    Mar 30, 2006 at 11:08 PM

    Good page about Bretagne! I have one, too. The English word for "genêt" is "broom" (I've found it in a dictionary).

  • tini58de's Profile Photo
    Jul 17, 2004 at 6:09 AM

    Just returned from Bretagne yesterday and love your page - and Bretagne!! Thanks for this fabulous "insider" page!

  • Goner's Profile Photo
    Jun 12, 2004 at 10:24 PM

    Loved this page. I also loved Brittany when I visited. One of my favorite areas in France.

  • Lalique's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2003 at 11:15 PM

    Bruno, thax a lot! I enjoyed your page to the last point! Fascinating and interesting reading! Now my 2nd France visit will difinitely cover Bretagne, you inspired me to make plans! :))

  • tessy's Profile Photo
    Mar 16, 2003 at 2:01 PM

    Thanks for explaining your nickname! Amoco Cadiz - this subject was also in music, I think there are some great songs of Tri Yann

  • Kate-Me's Profile Photo
    Mar 11, 2003 at 4:09 PM

    Fascinating Brittany history...I must study it further.

  • prleprle's Profile Photo
    Feb 26, 2003 at 12:27 PM

    Beautifull pictures...


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