The Belle France guide to Petite Bretagne
Beaches, bustling seaside towns and Breton culture
Due to its close connections with Britain, Brittany was known as Petit Bretagne, or Little Britain. However, it’s a region which is proud of its own heritage, the Breton language is still widely spoken, and there are many traditions still observed that are hundreds of years old.
Brittany is known for its beaches, but also its dramatic coastline too. There are lots of different coastline towns and villages dotted all over, all varying in size and culture, from trendy resorts full of bustling restaurants and bars, to more family friendly areas. There are many walled, medieval citadelles to be explored, and as you go inland, places to be explored with evidence from its Celtic heritage, ancient forests and rural villages.
It really is a region with many different landscapes and experiences on offer, so here are a few of our suggestions of places to visit and sights to see.
Dinard is located on the Emerald coast – which runs from Cancale on the Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel to Cap d’Erquy on the Baie de St-Brieuc. It’s called the Emerald Coast due to the colour of the waters off the coast, the amazing shades of green and blues changing throughout the day and time of the year.
Dinard is on the north coast, and it was a favourite destination for 19th century aristocrats and it’s still popular today.
It’s home to many exclusive old style hotels, and also a famous water therapy centre. It’s known as the ‘Cannes of the North’ and as such, plays host to many famous people, such as Joan Collins. Winston Churchill used to like visiting here too, as well as Oscar Wilde, Picasso and Alfred Hitchcock (it’s said he based the hotel in Psycho on one of the villas on the cliff top in Dinard).
Visitors mainly go for the beaches and the buzzing restaurants and bars.
Our Emerald Coast Prestige Cycle tour (which was featured in the Daily Telegraph’s 10 best cycling holidays for 2016) starts in Dinard, where you stay in a wonderful Belle Epoque villa close to the beach.
Quimper is the ancient capital of Cournouaille, which is one of the most traditional areas of Brittany. It’s a wonderful example of a Breton town, a real rustic feel, with plenty of evidence of its Celtic heritage. Visitors must buy some of its pottery, it’s been made there since the 17th Century. It’s also known for having some of the best crêpes and cider in Brittany, so leave some room to visit some of the restaurants!
Visiting Quimper in the winter, you should time it to coincide with the Winter Festival it holds every year, which is well-known and visitors come from miles around to take part.
Our Breathtaking Brittany walking tour finishes in Quimper where you stay for the final night, and have the day to explore the town at your leisure.
Vannes is a typical example of the medieval walled citadelles, and is very picturesque. Walk along the cobbled streets and visit the marina as part of your stay here. The old city walls can still be seen, and are remarkably well preserved. A few medieval city gates still remain too, as well as a large tower which is part of the city walls, and a 17th Century palace too. The timber framed buildings are a sight to see, and with the cobbled streets, make the place look wonderful and rustic.
Our Morbihan Islands Walking tour starts in the town of Vannes, and you will stay here for the first night, allowing for some time to explore.
So, for dramatic coastlines, wonderful towns to explore and a vast array of history and Celtic traditions, Brittany really has something for everyone. The three tours above all offer something different, so give us a call, and we can work out which one would be perfect for you!
3 Related Holidays
Prestige Emerald Coast Cycling
Quiet coves, elegant seaside towns and Belle Epoque hotels
Featured in the Telegraph's 10 best cycling holidays for 2016, this easy cycle takes in the beautiful Brittany coastline and verdant countryside, following and criss-crossing the River Rance. Visit Belle Epoque towns and bustling fishing...
Sandy beaches and rocky inlets of the Coastline in Western Brittany
This south-western tip of Brittany stretches into the waters of the Atlantic, its sandy dunes and marshes giving way to dramatic cliffs as you approach the stunning Pointe du Raz. Follow the coastal paths and explore charming...
Morbihan Islands Walk
A dreamy mélange of sea, sky and islands in South Brittany
The Gulf of Morbihan features a scattering of islands waiting to be discovered, the two largest being the Ile aux Moines and Ile d’Arz. The cross-shaped Ile aux Moines offers scenic walks around its 4-mile coastline, while Arz has...