The Essential Guide to Brittany
Collected by Jennifer Ladonne , AFAR Local Expert
An independent kingdom until 1532, Brittany still has a rebellious feel, its rocky coasts and windswept beaches conjuring a Celtic—and Druidic—past. History is alive here, especially in the ancient ramparts, half-timbered houses, and picturesque villages that cling to old customs and festivals. Come to this mystical region to experience a very different side of France.
Ille-et-Vilaine, 3 Avenue George V, 35800 Dinard, France
One of the most scenic walks on Brittany’s Emerald Coast, the Promenade du Claire de Lune offers stunning views of St-Malo, St-Servan, and the Rance Estuary. The portion in Dinard is bordered by palm trees and mimosa blooms as well as...
17 Avenue George V, 35800 Dinard, France
There’s not a room without an ocean view at this boutique hotel, set in a quirky 19th-century villa that used to house an aquarium. Here, breezy, marine-themed interiors enhance the building’s rounded shape, making guests feel at one...
9 Rue de l'Orme, 35400 Saint-Malo, France
At once sweet, salty, and smoky, Beurre Bordier is one of Brittany’s most famous products. Taste it for yourself at butter artisan Jean-Yves Bordier’s Saint-Malo creamery, where he uses 19th-century methods of pounding and shaping...
1er étage, 7 Quai Admis en Chef Thomas, 35260 Cancale, France
At this Michelin-starred restaurant overlooking the port of Cancale and the bay of Mont St-Michel, chef Raphaël-Fumio Kudaka proves that Breton ingredients and Japanese cuisine are a match made in heaven. Combining local seafood with Japanese...
8 Rue De L'horloge, 22100 Dinan, France
The fortified city of Dinan is among the best preserved, most charming medieval towns in Brittany. Surrounded by 1.6 miles of ramparts, it’s home to cobblestone lanes, half-timbered houses, and the marvelous Basilica St-Sauveur, with its...
29253 Île de Batz, France
Created in 1897 by Paris businessman and exotic plant enthusiast Georges Delaselle, these luxurious gardens—just off the coast of Brittany on the Île de Batz—take visitors back to colonial times. The gardens were abandoned in the...
Le Créac'h, 29242 L'ile D'ouessant, France
As France’s westernmost landmass, the windswept L’Île d’Ouessant (also called Ushant) has served as a strategic point for sailors for hundreds of years. While it’s home to one of the world’s most powerful...
7 Rue de la Plage, 29550 Plomodiern, France
The bounty of the Breton countryside and coast is transformed into sophisticated cuisine at this two-Michelin-starred restaurant, housed in a Relais & Châteaux hotel of the same name. Here, the elegant dining room harmonizes with the...
Place Saint-Corentin, 29000 Quimper, France
A magnificent example of Gothic architecture, Quimper’s St. Corentin Cathedral dates back to the 13th century, when the bishops of France forced their influence on wild and unruly Brittany. Built on the remains of an ancient Roman temple,...
16 Rue du Phare, 29120 Combrit, France
Beautiful surroundings and a Michelin-starred restaurant make this Belle Époque villa the perfect weekend getaway. Here, 16 rooms offer bright, modern decor and views of the sea through the pine trees, while three cottages feature spacious...
56340 Carnac, France
In Carnac, row upon row of some 3,000 upright stones cover three fields (Ménex, Kermario, and Kerlescan), creating a magical atmosphere. Though the exact meaning and purpose of the prehistoric stones—some dating as far back as 4000...
22 Rue des Chanoines, 56000 Vannes, France
It took seven centuries to complete this impressive Gothic church—a fact that accounts for its array of architectural features, from the Romanesque tower to the Renaissance chapel. One of the largest cathedrals in Brittany, it’s also...
Le Buot, 35350 Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes, France
In 2008, chef Olivier Roellinger stunned the culinary world by shuttering his famous three-Michelin-starred restaurant to focus on more relaxing endeavors. This was good news, however, for guests of Château Richeux, his picturesque hotel in...
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