Brittany & Poitou-Charentes regions of France

Hi. I'm spending 11 nights in these regions in July and, as you know, RS does not have a lot to say about the area (except for Saint Malo and Dinan). I've done a lot of research online and have the Lonely Planet and Michelin Green Guide for Brittany, but it would be nice to get some impressions and ideas from someone familiar with the area. I'm staying 5 nights at Dol-de-Bretagne (near Saint Malo), 3 nights at Plougenven (about halfway between Saint-Brieuc and Brest) and 3 nights in La Tremblade (near Royan). I already plan to visit Saint Malo, Dinan, Quimper, Carnac and probably Rennes and Nantes. I'm just looking for any ideas of other places/things to see in these areas that may not be covered in the guidebooks. Any "don't miss" sites or special villages? Any places you found that were typical of or unique to Brittany? I like the outdoors/nature, especially coastal areas and I like wandering around quaint photogenic villages and I'm especially interested in the Celtic history of this area - love the music and traditions. Any ideas would be gratefully appreciated.

Posted by Beatrix
Calgary
1974 posts

Hi Nancy, have you arranged all your accommodations yet? We stayed at a very unique B&B just outside Dol we enjoyed a lot: www.manoirdelagrandemettrie.com From there we explored St Malo, Dinan, Vitre, Fougères, Cancale (seafood and oysters!!!). If your stay in Dol includes a Saturday try to spend a couple of hours in town as the market atmosphere is quite fun. On the way to Plougenven you should stop at Cap Frehel. I find the lighthouse there a bit boring but just before you get to the lighthouse there's Fort La Latte. Much more interesting. Especially if you manage to watch "The Vikings" with Kirk Douglas which was filmed in part on that site ;-) http://www.castlelalatte.com/en/ We also stayed for a few days in walking distance of the Cairn de Barnénez in Plouezoc'h which is close to Plougenven. It's a prehistoric site that also offers fantastic views over the bay of Morlaix. By far not as touristy as Carnac but similar pre-historic stories surrounding the site. http://barnenez.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/ This is also a good place to visit some of the "Enclos paroissial" - Parish Close. You find them in numerous little villages throughout the Finistere. My favourite one is probably Lampaul-Guimiliau. http://ca-en.franceguide.com/Inside-Brittany-s-Parish-Walls.html?NodeID=1&EditoID=30590 It's also close to Roscoff. We got lucky and were there during one of the summer festivals. Great atmosphere!

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
969 posts

"This is also a good place to visit some of the "Enclos paroissial" - Parish Close. You find them in numerous little villages throughout the Finistere. My favourite one is probably Lampaul-Guimiliau." Good info. I was planning on seeing the close at St Thegonnec, will try to get to Lampaul-Guimilau also. Churches, church-yards, cathedrals, and shrines are of great interest to me. Anything old/medieval/pre-historic speaks to me. Any other ideas/suggestions/comments on places are most welcome. Thanks

Posted by Beatrix
Calgary
1974 posts

These "Enclos paroissial" are in very small villages and fairly close together. You can easily see half a dozen of them in a day ... till your head is spinning and they all look the same. So pick a few that are on your way, no need really to go completely out of your way to see one particular one. I should add that the market in Dol is only in the morning:
http://www.pays-de-dol.com/Marches-dol-de-bretagne-mont-m21.html If you're mostly interested in quaint villages I'd consider skipping Rennes and Nantes. Granted, I've never been in Nantes but I lived in Rennes for almost a year. Its historic centre is rather small as most of it was destroyed. It is an important administrative and economic centre for Brittany but otherwise rather modern. If you are there anyways you can certainly find some things of interest. But I wouldn't go out of my way to fit it into your schedule.