When people ask us what things to do when visiting Bretagne (Brittany) in France, our answer is always the same: How much time do you have?! Brittany is one of the most wonderful regions in the country – it has a strong identity with links to Celtic influences, even inspiring its own dialect. If you’re looking for wild landscapes, quaint villages, stunning coastal routes and medieval monuments, Brittany may well be the place for you. There are so many points of interest in Brittany, it’s hard to whittle it down to just a few, but we’ve done our best – read on to discover our top five things to do in Brittany, France.
- 1. Saint-Malo
- 2. Pink Granite Coast
- 3. Rennes – the capital
- 4. Step back in time to the megalithic sites
- 5. Locronan: one of the most beautiful villages in France
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Saint-Malo is a must-see place when you visit Brittany. This stunning city lies on the coast and boasts beautiful views as far as the eye can see. During World War II, much of the city was destroyed, but even after being rebuilt, it has kept its traditional and medieval identity. Stroll around the cobblestone streets and soak in the history. The Saint-Malo cathedral was built in 1146 so it’s definitely worth a visit. You can round off the day with a stop at a traditional Breton crêperie (crêpe/pancake shop) – Brittany is famous for its crêpes and galettes (savory crêpes made with buckwheat), as well as its fantastic cider.
2. Pink Granite Coast
If you’re a nature lover, Brittany has a lot to offer, including enchanted forests and magical moorlands. One of the top places we would recommend visiting is the Pink Granite Coast. This rocky coastline is famed for its pink color and stretches over 30 kilometers. The views are simply breathtaking. From this area you can also see the Ploumanac’h lighthouse, which is made of the same pink granite. This coastline is ideal for walkers, as well as bird watchers, as it is a haven for wildlife.
If you continue onto the neighboring region of Normandy, you will also discover incredible areas of natural beauty, in which there are many fantastic hikes.
3. Rennes – the capital
We can’t discuss points of interest in Brittany without mentioning its capital: Rennes. This city is vibrant, beautiful and mixes both the modern and the traditional. It has even been voted one of the best cities to live and work in France. There are many places to visit in Rennes, including the Fine Arts Museum and Thabor Park. Since opening in 1794, the museum has grown an impressive collection of artifacts. Paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and Donatello are displayed there as well. Thabor Park is a great option for sunnier days. It covers an incredible 10 hectares and is popular with both tourists and locals, thanks to its botanical garden, music kiosk, playgrounds and much more.
Another must-see place in the Breton capital is the historic center, which is famed for its colorful, half-timbered houses which are a distinctive feature of the city. Plus, on your stroll you’ll also come across Rennes cathedral and the opera house.
4. Step back in time to the megalithic sites
Many people may not know that Morbihan, a department in Brittany, has one of the highest numbers of megalithic sites in the world. This is therefore an ideal place for history buffs, and anybody who loves visiting natural points of interest. Given there are hundreds of sites in the region, we’ll only name a few: firstly, the Carnac Stones, which date back to between 4500 and 3300 BC. Le Grand Menhir is another incredible prehistoric stone structure, measuring 20 meters in length. The Brittany tourism website is a great place to start to help you decide which sites to visit.
5. Locronan: one of the most beautiful villages in France
Our final recommendation is Locronan, a magnificent village in the region. It is officially one of the plus beaux villages (most beautiful villages) in the country, and rightly so. The center of this tiny village is pedestrian-only, making it a wonderful place to wander around. Think gothic architecture, granite buildings and charming, narrow streets. It truly is a gem of the region and a must-see stop during your visit to Brittany.
Brittany: well worth the trip
Brittany has so much more to offer than just what we’ve mentioned so far. It’s absolutely worth the trip, thanks to the traditional architecture, stunning nature trails and cultural vibrancy. Whatever your interest, you’ll find something which aligns with it in this stunning region. Also, if you’re looking to make a move to France, Brittany is a great option for that. So what are you waiting for…it’s time to start planning your visit!
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Clara Avrillier is a writer, linguist and content manager living in the South of France. She loves getting out in nature, doing sport, reading and playing music. She also works with expats looking to move to France. Connect with her on LinkedIn.