Our villas in Brittany are concentrated in the Finistère ‘département’ in the west of the Breton peninsula. In the north of this region, the city of Brest is fortuitously sheltered by a large natural harbour, La Rade de Brest. The city played an important part in the Second World War and is rich in history and culture. Reflecting its coastal position, attractions in Brest include an excellent Aquarium and the marine museum Museé de la Marine.
The area just south of Brest is a protected national park, encompassing beautiful woodland, wild moorland and the stunning Crozon peninsula with its unspoilt coastline.
In the south, the historic town of Quimper is well worth a visit, home to a distinctive cathedral with twin spires as well as the Breton museum and the Museé des Beaux Arts. Beyond Quimper, the Penmarc’h peninsula is often thought of as the heartland of Brittany, with traditional crafts and history to discover and cultural events and customs to participate in.
Moving east along the south coast are many seaside towns with fantastic family-friendly beaches, facilities and activities, and interesting towns such as Concarneau, Pont-Aven and Quimperlé to visit.
Brittany's very strong cultural identity is cherished by its people, with the Breton language making a modern-day comeback. Similarly, Breton music and dancing are proudly celebrated at regular festivals, sometimes performed by groups dressed in traditional costume but often with the opportunity for onlookers to join in; look out for the posters advertising a local 'Fest Noz'. A large scale festival of this kind drawing people from all over is the annual Interceltique festival, held in Lorient in early August. During October, the Atlantique Jazz Festival takes place in various venues across the region, from major centres such as Brest and Lorient to smaller towns like Crozon and Pont-l'Abbé.
Given its heritage as an important fishing region, seafood is of course a dominant theme on Breton menus and a wide range of fish and shellfish is available. The catch of the day is usually a good bet, guaranteed to be freshly caught, or the Coquille Saint-Jacques is a particularly delicious speciality, scallops usually prepared in a Béchamel sauce and served in the shell.
Perhaps the most typical dish however is the 'galette bretonne', a savoury filled crêpe, accompanied by a cup of Breton cider. Fillings range from simple ham or cheese to more unusual and indulgent options such as smoked salmon, creamed leeks, forest mushrooms…
Other regional specialities to sample are an egg custard flan known as Far Breton, a buttery cake called Kouign Amann, and the (equally buttery) biscuit known as Traou Mad.
Most towns hold a weekly market selling fresh local produce, and often the opportunity to sample specialities before purchasing. These include markets held in Bénodet and Concarneau on Monday, Moëlan and Telgruc sur Mer on Tuesday, Le Guilvinec on Wednesday, Pont l'Abbé on Thursday, Fouesnant on Friday, Clohars Carnoët on Saturday, and Quimper on Sunday. For the freshest fish, and an experience not to be missed, get up early and buy direct from the port when the fishermen bring their catch in – Le Guilvinec is one of the biggest fishing ports. For oysters, go to Belon port near Pont-Aven.
Brittany enjoys a mild climate, much like that of Cornwall, thanks to its coastal borders and the warming effect of the Gulf Stream. The Breton peninsula and the south coast in particular experience a micro-climate with comparatively higher temperatures and more sunshine than the rest of northern France and the UK. The region’s climate make it a good choice for families with young children, and allow sports and other activities to be enjoyed at comfortable temperatures.