I’ve just returned from an amazing trip to northern France, a part I had yet to discover and one that always seems to get forgotten when people travel to France. The region of Brittany is quite a destination, offering everything from history dating back to the Neolithic period to phenomenal recipes with its famous salted butter and abundant supply of fresh seafood. In four days, I managed to see a good chunk of the region, which is located in the most northwestern point of France. Its Celtic roots are prevalent in the Breton language, the traditional costumes, and even the way of life.
Locals Guide to Eating in Brittany
I love traveling to places that have such a strong presence in the culinary scene and Brittany gets a high score from me! Brittany is one of the only French regions that does not produce wine, but they make great hard ciders and beers instead. Seafood is everywhere and local markets display a variety of different kinds of fish, shellfish, and even algae that are of the highest quality. Brittany is famous for its oysters from Cancale, its coquilles Saint Jacques (scallops), and tuna and sardine canning. The butter is amongst the best in the country and often has a little extra salt, which accentuates its richness.
There are incredible desserts made with the butter produced in the region. You absolutely must try the incredibly delicious Kouign Amman (a butter, sugar and puff pastry mixture that melts in your mouth) and the buttery Galettes (butter biscuits that are crunchy and flaky).
The Birthplace of Crepes
Of course, we mustn’t forget about crepes, as this is the land where they were born, and every city or town has a creperie or twenty! The local variety of crepes are Buckwheat crepes. These savory crepes are called a galette (just like the cookie) and are extremely flavorful. Buckwheat is used in many other local recipes as well.
Top Places to Visit In Brittany
I visited many great towns while there, and each had so much charm, authenticity, and history. Though I visited in the off season, I never felt like I was in a tourist trap and always felt extremely welcomed by all the locals. Here’s a list of places not to miss in Brittany, many of which are even on the list of Most Beautiful Villages of France.
- Malo: This is probably one of the most famous cities due to its proximity to Normandy. 80% of the city was destroyed during WWII, however, it has been perfectly rebuilt. Today, it is one of the most charming cities in the region. It offers quaint local shops, restaurants, and a beautiful view of the coastline. It also some of the highest tides in Europe.
- Vannes: An amazing little town that has preserved some of its medieval walls and the half-timbered houses of the time. The three rivers in the city center offer a scenic view. This is an amazing location for those that love boating!
- Rochefort-en-Terre: A tiny little jewel with just two main streets and a medieval castle, stone-lined buildings, and a postcard-perfect atmosphere.
- Dinan: This larger town is a mix of half-timbered homes and stone-lined buildings with cobblestones, towers, and colorful streets. Also offers great little shops selling local products and nice restaurants featuring the very best of the region.
- Concarneau: This precious seaside town has a fortified castle built on an island and a beautiful coastline. Sunsets are not to be missed here!
- Lecronon: This village is out of a movie set; small and extremely picturesque with a lovely church and a creperie or two, making it a perfect lunch stop!
- Carnac: The megalithic alignments at Carnac date back more than 6,000 years and expand over 4 kilometers in the countryside. Yet there is no explanation for them and there are many theories behind them. It is a part of history not to be overlooked.
- Rennes: This is a vibrant city with a young feel. The architecture is a mix of modern and old that perfectly blend together. Here you’ll find amazing restaurants and good hotels, and lots of places to visit and have enjoy local life.
- Quimper: Another bigger town offering an impressive historic center that even has a “Butter Square” (Place au Beurre). A very walkable city with a river, gorgeous gardens, and a place to interact with the locals.
- Pont-Aven: Famous as a regular meeting spot for some of the most famous impressionists like Paul Gauguin. This town’s houses, river and flowers are straight out of a fairy-tale.
Next time you’re planning a trip to France, make sure you add Brittany to your list! As the local tourism board states on their website “Let yourself be surprised by Brittany”. Bon voyage!
For more information visit: https://www.brittanytourism.com/ At Daiquiri Tours, we’re happy to create the itinerary that is just right for you. If you are interested in booking a tour to Brittany, visit us online at https://daiquiriusa.com/site/build_my_itinerary