Brittany, France

This is a place for good old-fashioned fresh air, food and fun, where life is raw-edged and laid-back, with little pretension or polish. Crêpes and cider are rustic specialities; and coastal Brittany is a major European oyster producer, with Cancale and Belon among top spots for magical molluscs. Clifftop villages look out over the Atlantic, whose shorelines are beloved of surfers and seafarers, and dotted with relics, such as the standing stones at Carnac. But it’s not all salty sea air: inland from the wonderful beaches, islets and fishing villages are mediaeval castles, mystical lakes and myth-filled forests.

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Areas in Brittany

When to go

Brittany is in full swing between April and October; in winter, many shops, restaurants and cafés will be closed. Give August a miss if you want to skip the hordes – it’s prime holidaymaker time.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Air France (www.airfrance.com) flies from Paris Orly to Nantes, Lorient and Brest. Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) will get you to Brittany (Nantes, Brest and Dinard) from various regional airports in the UK, including Liverpool and Leeds.
  • Boats

    The Breton ports of Saint-Malo and Roscoff are linked to Portsmouth and Plymouth, courtesy of Brittany Ferries (www.brittanyferries.com).
  • Trains

    Take the Eurostar (www.eurostar.com) to Paris, then connect to Vannes, Lorient, Quimper or Brest; for Rennes, connect at Lille.
  • Automobiles

    There’s a lot of territory to cover, so pick up a hire car from the port or airport, or roll yours onto a ferry.
  • Taxis

    You can’t flag down taxis, so make sure to book in advance.