February 16, 2016 Regional guides

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  • Capital: Rennes
  • Population: 2,920,000 (4,8% of French population)
  • Specialities: Crêpes, cider, seafood, Kouign Amman cake, strawberries, artichokes

Background on Brittany

Brittany is a land rich in contrasts, made up of the four departments of Finistère, Côtes-d’Armor, Ille-Et-Villaine and Morbihan. It is steeped in history and tradition and is proud of its strong maritime culture. A favoured holiday destination for the French and Brits, it’s 600 km of fine, sandy coastline curves around the north western tip of France, enclosing 27,500 sq. km of fertile countryside and quaint market towns. The Breton people are hardy, down to earth and friendly. They remain close to the land, the sea and their culture. Breton is still spoken in a few areas and local traditions are upheld at the many lively festivals and fest noz of the summer months.

Known by the Celts as Armorica, “land of the sea”, Brittany has a long and lively past. Prehistoric megaliths (standing stones) rise up from the ground around Carnac and it is said that young King Arthur received the sword of Excalibur from the fairy Vivian in the Paimpont Forest, 40 km south of Rennes. Half-timbered buildings characterize the bustling, medieval towns of Vannes, Dinan and Rennes, while the castles and fortresses of St. Malo, Fougères and Vitré bear witness to Brittany’s strategic location. The region’s beauty has attracted many artists and the lovely town of Pont-Aven is lined with galleries showing works of painters past and present.

From cornfield to oyster bed, woodland walk to long sandy beach, modern shipping port to charming, historical town, there is something for everyone in this varied and dynamic region. Rennes, situated in Ille-et-Villaine, has been Brittany’s capital since the 16th century. Home to the Breton houses of parliament, it is a hive of cultural activity, nurtured by the large student population. The Côtes-d’Armor on the northern shore is lined with seaside resorts, pink granite coves and traditional fishing ports. Morbihan, on the southern coast is backed by wooded river valleys and has a gentler feel and a milder climate. Exposed to the rough Atlantic winds, Finistère in the west has drama. The name aptly means “the end of the earth”.

The region is known for its excellent seafood (Concarneau is particularly famous for its oysters and mussels which are brought straight up from the shoreline beds), sweet crepes and savoury buckwheat pancakes, cider, “galettes” biscuits and buttery Kouign Amman cake. It offers a wide variety of sports including sailing, windsurfing, fishing, golf, hiking, mountain biking and horse riding.

Brittany is a land of spirit and character where history, art, culture and nature live side by side with all today’s modern services. Shopping is always close by and plentiful. Traveling is fast and easy – Paris is only 2 hours by train from Rennes, ferries run from two ports to the UK and there is a very good network of free dual carriageways.

Discover the delights of this beautiful region, so diverse and rich in contrasts, where you will find and live the best of all worlds.

Facts and figures

  • Capital: Rennes
  • Population: 2,920,000 (4,8% of French population)
  • Density: 107,5 per sq. km (France = 108,2 per sq. km)
  • Area: 27,507 sq. km (10,620 sq. miles) representing 5% of France
  • Economy: Services (69,1%), industry (25,1%), agriculture (5,7%)
  • Specialities: Crêpes, cider, seafood, Kouign Amman cake, strawberries, artichokes


  • 600 km of coastline
  • Over 1100 km of cycling tracks on 74 circuits
  • Horse-riding: 2000 km of paths, rides along the beach, woodland treks
  • 11 golf courses. See them at
  • A total of 11,6 million stays (68,2 millions nights)
  • Over 900 hotels, 800 camp sites and 10,000 furnished or rural lodgings

Important Links

To find out more about the Brittany region visit:

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