The first British visitors to Brittany left England from Cornwall while fleeing the Roman invaders. They landed in an area not unlike their own Cornwall, with its rocky coastline, inland forests and Celtic civilisation. Today this region is a beautiful destination for family holidays: fantastic scenery, picturesque villages, great food, lots going on and, perhaps above all, superb beaches, great for shrimping and sandcastles, which linger long in childhood memories.
One of Brittany's most delightful resorts with a small harbour and a sheltered beach which is small and popular but not too commercialised. It stands at the mouth of the Odet in a pretty setting backed by attractive woodland.
A great naval port and one of Brittany's most significant towns. The main sights include the port itself (boat trips are available), the castle, the maritime museum and Océanopolis, the well known and heavily publicised aquarium. There are great views of the town and its surrounding countryside from the Cours Dajot, near the castle.
On the northern coast of Finistère, west of Goulven bay, this seaside resort is another example of beautiful Breton beaches. It also has a menhir, standing 25 feet high.
Primarily a commercial fishing port, Concarneau is also famous for its old walled town – the Ville Clos. Cross the modern-day drawbridge, and you can explore charming narrow streets, lined with shops and restaurants. East of Concarneau, running up to the Aven and Belon estuaries, are about 15km of usually almost deserted sands with small inlets which blend into heath and open fields with occasional low sandy cliffs. This particular coastline is renowned for its beauty.
A fine resort, noted for its excellent beaches, especially the Plage des Dames, its sailing school and its marina.
Iles de Glénan
An archipelago of nine islets and hundreds of outcrops teeming with birdlife, crystal lagoons and dazzling beaches, all accessible by boat from Benodet.
A superbly preserved mediaeval village (in fact used as the setting for Polanski's film 'Tess') which is named after an Irish saint, Ronan. Perhaps the most picturesque village in Brittany (and there are many!), it can be crowded in high season.
A market town which is visually memorable for the vast expanse of 19th Century railway viaduct, the supporting pillars of which march across the town reaching up to 200 feet above the rooftops. The countryside to the north is a little-visited region of small valleys, high cliffs and rocky coves hiding perfect sandy beaches. Two of the best are found near the little port of Caranterec.
Pointe du Raz
There are superb views from this dramatic rocky outcrop which juts defiantly out into the Atlantic – magnificent on a wild, windy day! Look out for the dolphins which swim off the point. The impressive but less spectacular Pointe du Van lies just to the north - you get a great view of the Pointe du Raz, and the parking is free.
This small town attracts admirers of Gaugin who came here to paint before going to Tahiti. Here he began the famed 'Pont Aven' school of Impressionists. To the east, the coast is broken by inlets as far as Le Pouldu. One of the rivers, the Belon, is famed for its oyster beds. Wooded valleys and paths run down to the rivers Belon and Aven, and there is a beautiful 9km coastal path through landscape designated as being of exceptional beauty.
This is Brittany's oldest city and is very much the county town, built on the banks of the river Odet. Points of interest include the gothic cathedral, the Bishop's palace and old quarter with its covered market and pottery workshops – the faienceries de Quimper. Boat trips leave from Quimper and head downriver to the pretty seaside town of Benodet.
At the junction of two rivers, it enjoys an attractive situation with the lower town built around the former Abbey of Ste Croix, one of the finest examples of romanesque architecture in Brittany. There's a Breton museum and even a crêpe museum!
About 10 miles away are the Rochers du Diable where St Guenol and the Devil fought a bloody battle. The Devil was defeated and slid down into the gorge, leaving deep claw marks in the rock face as he scrabbled desperately to escape. Colourful legends aside, the rocks form an impressive gorge with a picnic area and surrounding woodland, ideal for stretching the legs after a leisurely lunch.
Finistère’s major northern port but also a popular seaside resort in summer. An attractive little town with white-washed houses, narrow streets and alleyways.