One of France’s most remote and intriguing regions, Brittany (Bretagne in French), is the rugged north-western tip of France jutting into the Atlantic Ocean. Prehistoric standing stones attest to its ancient past, while its local dialect, Breton (closely related to Cornish and Welsh), and its very name are a reminder that it was an outpost for Britons escaping invading Anglo-Saxons. Along with fascinating history and stunning scenery, you’ll enjoy some of the world’s best oysters, thin savoury buckwheat crêpes, funky cider and unique baked treats like kouign amann (flaky sugary buttery croissant-like cake) and far Breton (dense prune-filled custard flan). Before heading home, visit the regional capital of Rennes for more fascinating history and delicious food.
Stay Hôtel de la Plage
On a beautiful sweep of wide beach at Sainte-Anne la Palud, what started as a humble café is now a Relais & Châteaux hotel run by the great grandchildren of its founder. Light filled rooms look out over the beach and the glass-walled dining room is virtually on the sand.
Eat Le Petit Hôtel du Grand Large
This casual Michelin-starred restaurant-with-rooms is well worth the detour along a narrow sandy spit to the sleepy beachside village of Port Ivy. Service is relaxed and chef Hervé Bourdon uses the freshest local seafood and produce to create some of the best food I’ve ever eaten!
Drink Cider at Breizh Café
Cancale, a port town on the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel famous for its oyster market, is also a great place to drink local cider. Harbour-front Breizh Café has a dedicated cider sommelier and serves traditional buckwheat crêpes. After dinner climb upstairs to a little guest room and wake to the wonderful harbour views.
History Carnac Megaliths
Brittany is scattered with prehistoric megaliths, the most impressive being the 3,000+ stones at Carnac. The largest collection in the world, some over 6,000 years old, consisting of tombs, burial mounds, rows, circles and huge single stones, they cover miles of fields and are easily viewed from the road.
Walk Pointe du Raz
The western-most tip of this already remote peninsula is called finistere, literally ‘end of the world’, and it certainly feels that way when you take the windy, clifftop walk around Pointe du Raz for stunning views of crashing waves and jagged crags that are home to many sea birds.