Are you thinking of moving to the Brittany region? We hope that the following information will be of help to you but please also use the links where further details can be found.
Where is the Brittany region?
Brittany is in the most western part of France, almost completely surrounded by the Atlantic ocean and The English Channel apart from where it borders Lower Normandy and Western Loire in the east. It consists of 4 departments : Côtes-d'Armor (22), Finistère (29), Ille-et-Vilaine (35) and Morbihan (56). The capital is Rennes, a city with a long and rich history, built at the confluence of the rivers Ille and Vilaine. There is a large student population – Rennes boasts 2 universities! – and although the most important industry is car manufacturing ( Citroën ), high-tech manufacturing and quaternary industry also play an important role. Rennes has been called a 'city of history and art' and you will see some fine examples of architecture to prove this as well as museums and Breton festivals! The latter are by no means limited to Rennes, click here for more information.
What is there in the Brittany region?
Visiting this region you quickly become aware of the fact that Brittany is not like the rest of France, the whole atmosphere is different, Brittany is Celtic and proud of it. It became part of France less than 500 years ago. The Breton language has survived, although you may not hear it very often, and those of you who speak Cornish, Welsh or Gaelic will probably be able to understand most of it.
With the Atlantic ocean lapping at its rugged coastline, rolling onto the long sandy beaches or finding those little coves it is only natural that here we come across so many legends and fabled characters. In one of its castles Lancelot of the Lake was born and Merlin – the wizard in King Arthur's days – lives on still trapped in a stone. Talking of stones, there are many ancient standing stones (megaliths) all over the region, over 5000 just around Carnac.
Away from the spectacular coast you will not be disappointed either as the landscape can be quite beautiful and Brittany offers many interesting (market)towns and villages. Dinan oozes medieval charm, as does walled Vannes, Pont- l'Abbé with its traditional lace coiffes (head-dresses), the ancient but still thriving and gorgeous seaport of St Malo, modern seaside resorts like Bénodet and lovely fishing ports such as Concarneau.
The Morbihan gulf on the south coast is tidal and packed with little islands, a superb area for water sports. The southern part south of Finistère is more traditional and here the Breton culture is more noticeable ( you may hear some Breton). Further west you come to the Crozon Peninsula, favoured by many in summer but also great if you like watching the sea in stormy weather. And then there is the beautiful Rose Granite coast – red rocks - on the splendid north shore with its countless islands. If that is not enough there are parks e.g. Parc Régional d'Armorique, and nature reserves, rivers and canals, many castles (Josselin,Vitré etc) and fortresses.
Brittany is a fishing and agricultural region – get ready to harvest some seaweed here - but the tourist industry is also of great importance. The Bretons do like their music, dancing and just getting together.
Climate of Brittany:
The climate is not unlike the south of Britain, possibly a bit warmer in summer especially on the south coast which boasts many hours of sunshine. It has more rainy days than most other regions and in summer it doesn't get as hot which some people may prefer.
Property in the Brittany region:
Brittany is hugely popular with foreign buyers which is not all bad news especially for the economy. Like in so many parts of France the rural population is in decline but as foreigners are buying properties in the villages and rural areas this has helped many a village/town to survive. Due to its popularity prices have risen sharply but we are told that it is still possible to find a bargain, Finistère being one of the more likely areas.
Do have a look at our property section by clicking here, you might just find your dream house there and may qualify for a special 5% agency fees discount.
Food in the Brittany region:
If you do not like seafood this region with its oysterbeds (Cancale) and lobsterpots, languostines, mussles, sole, crab etc may not be for you. Mind you, the vegetables are great as is the lamb and of course you must try the galettes (crèpes) with their variety of savoury fillings. Try and walk past a patisserie, I dare you. Cider is what you drink here. Quite frankly, this region is justifiably proud of its excellent cuisine.
Getting to Brittany:
There are direct/indirect flights from the UK to Brest Airport, Dinard Airport, Rennes Airport and Quimper Airport. If you don’t mind indirect flights you can also use Lorient Airport. The main airlines in Brittany are Flybe, Air France and Aurigny. For a quick overview and search for flights try Skyscanner.
From the UK you can hop on a ferry to Roscoff with Brittany Ferries from Plymouth or sail to St Malo with Brittany Ferries to Portsmouth, Condor Ferries to Poole (usually from May to September) and hopefully Weymouth once repairs to the ferry port are completed.
Although not in Brittany you may want to consider:
Cherbourg : Brittany Ferries to Portsmouth&Poole but not during the winter months, Condor Ferries from Portsmouth but only in summer.
Caen : Brittany Ferries to Portsmouth
Le Havre : LD Lines to Portsmouth
Dieppe : Transmanche/ LD Lines Ferries to Newhaven
Dunkerque (Dunkirk): Norfolkline/DFDS Seaways to Dover
Calais: P&O Ferries, LD Lines or MyFerryLink to Dover.
Normally Calais is the cheapest place to cross the Channel but beware of the long drive to Brittany (roughly 5 hrs to Rennes, possibly 8 hrs to Brest)
The road network is pretty good, especially around Rennes. Generally speaking the roads are fairly quiet but be prepared for heavy traffic in and around the cities.
Rennes is served by the TGV high speed train from Paris which takes roughly 2 hrs. From here you can continue on to Brest (about 4.5 hrs from Paris) via Lamballe, St Brieuc, Guingamp, Plouaret-Trégor and Morlaix or the southern route to Quimper (about 4.5hrsfrom Paris) via Redon, Vannes and Lorient.
For high speed services have a look at a map of the TGV routes
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