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The best of Brittany: France’s picturesque coast

Aug 13, 2015 by Jamie Mc Laughlin

The varied landscapes, rich history, unique folklore tradition and distinct Celtic culture of Brittany, France make it one of the country’s most intriguing regions. This northwestern peninsula is made that much more noteworthy due to its dramatic emerald coastline, replete with white-sand beaches, soaring cliffs, and sweeping seascapes. Read on to discover three of the features that make the rugged, stunning Brittany Coast an unparalleled gem.

The coast of Brittany, France

Ancient cities

The Brittany Coast is dotted with an array of old-world towns, ancient fortress cities and scenic ports, which hint at the peninsula’s storied past and rich maritime heritage. One of the coast’s most notable fortified cities is Saint-Malo. This walled port sits on a granite islet and was once home to a legion of privateers who made their fortunes pillaging foreign ships. Walk along the town’s medieval ramparts and discover why the city is distinguished as one of the most famous features in Brittany. Another must-visit coastal location, which can be found on the banks of the River Rance, is the quaint city of Dinan. The ancient cobbled streets and half-timbered houses that run through this charming riverfront area bring the Middle Ages to life.

Picturesque islands

The skyline that runs along the Brittany peninsula is punctuated with a series of picturesque islands, which boast jagged cliffs, pebbled beaches, and stunning views. Although they’re each noteworthy in their own right, a visit to many of the smaller islands depends on the level of the tide. For example, you must wait until low tide in order to visit Grand Bé. Only then can you walk along the sandbank to the island and pay a visit to the tomb of French novelist, diplomat, and Romanticist, François-Auguste-René, the Vicomte of Chateaubriand.

Tempting cuisine

From the plenteous fisheries along the peninsula’s extensive coastline to the sweeping apple orchards that produce one of the area’s most notable exports, the Brittany region is the prime spot to find good food and drink. For the best in fresh seafood try oysters in the seaside town of Cancale, which is known as France’s “oyster capital.” For a sweet bite, head to one of the region’s many crêperies to try a famous crêpe. These sweet, thin pancakes are cooked to order and can be served with any number of fillings. Wash all the delicious, regional food down with a nice glass of cider—another one of the region’s famous delicacies.

Inspired? Experience the Brittany Coast on tour!

About the author | Jamie Mc Laughlin
It was Jamie’s homestay in Germany that made her fall in love with travel (and her studies in Florence that really sealed the deal). When she’s not writing and sharing the magic of seeing the world with others, she’s usually on the lookout for her new favorite memoir, testing out recipes at home, or visiting her family on Cape Cod.