Hear about things to do when you travel to the Brittany region of France as the Amateur Traveler talks to Kristin Montgomery from GrowingGlobalCitizens.com about this less-touristed corner of the country.
Kristin says, “Brittany is located in northwestern France. It used to be a Duchy but in the 1500s it was incorporated as part of France, basically taken over against their will so there is still a very strong regional identity. There are some people who still identify as being Breton before they’re French. Brittany is a place that is not usually on a lot of traveler’s lists. If you are going to head to France you think of Paris. You think of southern France, Province, or Nice, but there are a lot of really great things to see in Brittany.”
“There are beautiful beaches first of all and they’re sand beaches unlike the rocky beaches you find down south. If you are traveling with family it is a great place to visit because it is a little less touristy, less crowded. There are more things to do that are in small towns out in the country. It has this Celtic identity that really is not found in any other place in France. You are going to be hearing things like bagpipes. You are going to be seeing traditional dancing, even some of the Breton language. I found that people here were very very friendly which is something that in other parts of France, and I think of Paris, they don’t have a reputation for being very friendly. If you are someone who is into history or likes myths and legends, Brittany has a lot of that too.”
A potential itinerary would start in Rennes, the capital of Brittany and the smallest city in France with a metro (and it’s driverless!). Brittany has some autonomy in France still and has its own parliament. In the summer there is a unique light and music show projected on the parliament building.
Next, Kristin takes us along the southern coast of the Breton Penninsula. She recommends stops in Carnac (Standing stones), Lorient (Sailing Museum), Pont-Aven (cookie factories and Gauguin art), Quimper, and Locronan (religious pilgrimage site).
Most of the things you will see and do revolve around Breton history and culture. For example, the giant monoliths at Carnac are 7000 years old and steeped in legend. The dense Brocéliande Forest is supposedly where the Knights of the Round Table roamed and the wizard Merlin is buried.
Fishing is vital to the economy of Bretagne and the walled city of Concarneau is a great place to learn more about this and take boat trips out to sea.
Lastly, Kristin takes us to visit St. Malo, a walled city full of pirate and nautical and pirate history and a popular beach town. Near St. Malo you can find Dinan with its beautiful bridge and cute shops.
In the summer there are outdoor Fest Noz parties with galettes (buckwheat crepes), kouign amann (buttery pastry), and of course cider. You can watch traditional music and dance and even join in! There are traditional wooden games and Breton wrestling.
Let’s see if Kristin can put Brittany on your to-do list. She did so for me!
This episode is sponsored by Raycon who make wireless earbuds. Their newest model, the Everyday E25 Earbuds, are their best ones yet, with 6 hours of playtime, seamless Bluetooth pairing, more bass, and a more compact design that gives you a nice, noise-isolating fit
Get 15-percent off your order at buyraycon.com/traveler. Use the code “traveler”.
right click here to download (mp3)
Growing Global Citizens
Duchy of Brittany
Parliament of Brittany
Musée de Bretagne
Durand Chocolatier (Rennes)
Le Park Carouj (Breton Theme Park)
The Forest of Brocéliande
Sailing Museum – Lorient
Lorient Submarine Base
Moulin de Rosmadec (windmill restaurant)
Pont-Aven Art Museum
Breton Cider & Apple Juice
Musée départemental Breton – Quimper
Parc naturel régional Armorique
The Pink Granite Coast
Traou Mad Galettes de Pont Aven
La Demeure de Corsaire
Breizh Cafe – St Malo
A perfect day trip to Saint Malo, France
The best small towns for day trips in Bretagne, France
New Patron Lowell:
I have been listen to your podcast for the last few years and have enjoyed them. Over the last three years I have been to Japan, Peru, Italy and China. It was great to review your podcast of these countries before I when to the countries. I will be traveling, hopefully, to Bhutan this year and Tanzania next year. It is the joy of my week to listen to your podcast. Lowell
It was great to hear the Devon and Cornwall episode. I grew up not far from Plymouth and there are so many great things to do here! One thing not mentioned, that I would highly recommend is getting the train in Devon and Cornwall. The trains travel right on the coastline and you can see some brilliant views. Once the train track even washed away in Devon, don’t worry they’ve rebuilt it since then (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-48472901).
Another thing I would like to mention is it is the 400th anniversary of the mayflower pilgrimage. This has obviously been postponed but it is worth looking at the website for details as there are some brilliant events planned for Plymouth, UK and Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Thanks from your listener,
Amy from Teignmouth, UK
Please take our listener survey