5 Reasons to Visit Brittany on a Family Vacation
The bustling and congested urban sprawls of Paris, Toulouse or Nice can be stressful for a family trip. One solution is to look westward to Brittany, where the sun, sand and rugged landscape melts away all of the big city concerns.
Nestled on the westernmost tip of France is Finistere a coastal area of Brittany, where the ocean defines much of the history and landscape. Finistere has a certain enigmatic appeal to it, the rugged nature and historical Celtic tales add a dimension of mystery. Also known in French as the ‘end of the earth,' the area’s stirring winds is complemented by low-key coastal towns, the beautiful nature is shaped by the endless coastline of boulders and sand. Take the time to discover France's far-reaching coastal region.
Explore the coastline of Brittany
The westernmost tip of France has a beautiful landscape that will challenge your ideas for a beach getaway. The dramatic cliffs of Pointe du Raz, Pointe du Van, Plougonvelin, Cap de la Chevre, Pointe de Saint Mathieu and Pointe de Penhir all provide spectacular views facing the ocean- some may be quite daring for the faint-hearted. Many of the viewpoints at the top of the cliffs provide a fantastic opportunity for hiking, keeping keen adventurer on their toes. Along with taking in the sights, it is also possible to hike through the coastal trails that wind along the shorelines.
Staying in Brittany
In Brittany, there are many perks when it comes to finding the right accommodation for the family. Whether you prefer a countryside farmhouse, a traditional Gîte next to the beach, a cozy guesthouse where you can interact with the local Breton, or an outdoor experience on a campsite, there are plenty of accommodations to choose from, depending on your needs.
Take for example the traditional French cottages and villas called Gîtes. These holiday homes are rented out to travelers and are perfect for families looking to enjoy the place to themselves. Depending on your preference, the holiday homes come in all shapes and sizes: choose from newly renovated luxury villas, or cozy beach cottages, to stone-wall French designs. Many of these homes are owned by British and French homeowners, which provides plenty of options.
Another option for the adventurous folks would be to go camping! The campgrounds in Finistere will never run short with 247 campsites! This is a great opportunity for families to enjoy the outdoors of Brittany. Get back to basic with a simple family tent and experience the seaside atmosphere on a quiet camping ground just steps away from the beach. If that isn't your style, then upgrade to a mobile home for extra comfort with all the essential amenities. Many of the campgrounds have sporting activities, pools and waterparks to keep everyone entertained.
Go on walking routes
It’s no surprise that Brittany has an extremely wide-ranging terrain, and one of the best ways to explore it all is by walking! In Brest, you can discover multiple walking routes in and around the city port, and a leisurely walk around the harbor is great to get the family active. For a forest walk, check out the walking trail in the Huelgoat. Observe the intricate rock formations, giant boulders, Devil’s Cave, and far-reaching beech, chestnut and oak trees as you walk through this almost whimsical forest.
Charming provincial towns & coastal villages
There are more than a handful of towns and villages to visit in Finistere. If you are short on time, it may be difficult to make a proper decision. Here are some unique points worth checking out.
Quimper is a provincial town located in the center of Finistere. The French aesthetics is alive and well, and you’ll be able to observe it while you walk through the city center. The main points of attraction are the Gothic Cathedral of Saint-Corentin, Bishop’s Palace (now the Museum of Breton), and the Museum of Fine Arts. The beautiful churches of Locmaria, Saint Mathieu, and Kerfeunteun are all within walking distance of each other. Shop around the boutique stores in the main city center and sample some delicious French crepes. Don't forget to stop by Jardin de la Retraite for a relaxing stroll through the garden.
Brest is well-known for its commercial harbors, but also for its many main attractions. The naval port town lost much of its historic buildings when it was bombed in WWII. The town was reconstructed from the ground up, and has a straightforward and modern atmosphere, unlike many of the other characteristic coastal villages. One of the main draws to Brest is Océanopolis, an aquarium featuring a zoo and educational exhibitions on the tropical, polar and Bretton marine ecosystems. Other attractions include The National Botanical Park of Brest, Maritime Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum de la Tour Tanguy, and the Centre d'Art Passerelle.
Concarneau is known as the town of art & history. The art is exhibited in the many galleries found in town, and the fortified walls around the harbor date back to 1300s. The town has a direct relationship with the fishing, tinning and ship-building industry, which helped development in a more modern way. Today, Concarneau is still defined by its fishing ports, marinas, beaches, and creeks. The municipality provides special tours and workshops for both adults and children visiting the town.
Get ready to soak your feet in the sand and experience Brittany’s beaches. There is no such thing as a typical Brittany beach since the coastline comes in a variety of geographic terrains: white sandy beach, jagged rocks, and marram grass. Kerlouan’s beach has a mix of big and small boulders and a traditional lighthouse up at the top of the rocks. For the perfect stretch of white, uninterrupted beaches in Brittany, take the family to Penfoul, Portez, Crapauds, Sables-Blancs, and Pors Theolon. Be warned, the powerful gust of wind can be overwhelming, but a nice treat on those hot summer weather.