Sweeping landscapes and ancient legends of enchanted forests. Brittany is your number one destination for an unforgettable experience
Well, as you might gather by reading this article, I am from Brittany. And if like me, you are interested in politics, history and culture, here is a list that should convince you to visit this beautiful region.
Above all, Brittany is a region full of magnificent landscapes. From peaceful forests, to wild floras, passing by endless beaches and picturesque villages, you will be amazed by the beauty of the sites and the diversity of colours. The deep blue of the ocean and the changing sky which can range from clear to a perturbed dark within the space of a few hours, will completely alter the way you experience the landscapes or the charismatic edifices and ports.
We have some specialities that you just don’t want to miss. In Brittany you will find the tastiest crêpes ever! In fact, crêpes took their origin in Brittany, and in my view, the years of practice have provided an expertise that make them unique and unequalled: delicate and sweet but with a strong, rich character at the same time. Also quite typical — but not so healthy I’m afraid — are kig ha farz and kouign-amann; the first being a rustic meat dish and the second a hearty puff-pastry-style cake.
Brittany is a place with rooted traditions. You can take part in traditional parties called fest-noz, hear Breton music and try some dance steps encouraged by the lively crowd. You can also learn some Breton words when reading the road signs and discover the origin of our symbols (the Gwenn-ha-Du flag, the triskell, the ermine and the Celtic cross). If you have an interest in fashion, you should have a look at the variety of traditional Breton costumes which are a constant inspiration for today’s designers.
The most famous that takes place in Brittany is undoubtedly the King Arthur legend. The mysterious Brocéliande forest has a central place in the story and is still thought to shelter fairies, dragons and other magical creatures, as well as ponds and moors. If you have a chance to walk there, you must see Merlin’s grave, the Val sans Retour (Valley of No Return) and the Barenton fountain. However, a lot of other myths exist in the region, such as stories of the Korrigans — little magical creatures who look like dwarfs — and the Lost City of Ys legend — our local Atlantis.
- History and Politics
The region is full of castles, ancient ports, abbeys, cathedrals, old charming cities, heritage lighthouses, towering churches and much more. For instance, in the Meneham area you can visit a seventeenth-century cottage used for spying on the sea during the Anglo-French war — one of my favourite places. If politics is your thing, you will appreciate a visit to the Breton Parliament. You also have the possibility of observing the eternal Breton political debate: ‘Should the neighbouring Loire-Atlantique region be considered a part of Brittany?’ Because of places such as the Castle of the Duke of Brittany this region has for a long time been heatedly debated.
- Culturally dynamic
With a rich traditional heritage and contemporary influences, Brittany is one of the most culturally dynamic regions of France. The area has inspired a lot of artists and artistic movements such as Impressionism and Surrealism, most notably because of its landscapes. Brittany also plays host to many artistic and cultural events, with more than 60 performance venues as well as museums and art galleries.
Only in Brest for instance, with approximately 140,000 inhabitants, can you find three important museums, four venues where famous international artists perform — including one that can accommodate 12,000 people — and a multitude of cultural associations. These accommodate all types of artistic genres, festivals, gigs, theatre plays and street arts, including dance performances — amongst which the hip-hop festival takes centre stage. The summer is a time when Brittany truly comes alive with some of its most unmissable French festivals. These include: the Vieilles Charrues (modern music), the Festival Interceltique de Lorient (best Celtic festival in Europe), or the Astropolis (oldest electro music festival of France).
So, with so much to do and see, why not give Brittany a go? You won’t regret it, promise!