In this corner of land that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean (hence the name meaning ‘at the edge of the earth’) you will find the true essence of Brittany, made up of verdant pastures, fishing villages, ancient archaeological sites, storm-beaten cliffs and untamed lighthouses protecting the coastline, wild forests and picture-postcard landscapes.
This is the most famous and densest area of Celtic culture, making Brittany one of the 6 Celtic nations along with Cornwall, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man.
With the imposing twin spires of its cathedral and its splendid location overlooking the river Quimper , it is not only the capital of Finistère but above all the landmark of Celtic culture, with the wonderful Festival de Cornouaille.
Like most of the lively towns in this region, Quimper retains that old-world charm of twisted cobbled streets, half-timbered houses with flowering fenistras and the feeling of having stepped back in time as you stroll through the pedestrianised old town, nestled between the Odet and Steir rivers and with the reassuring presence of Mont Frugy.
A former stronghold of Brittany, the fortified town of Concarneau has a strong maritime vocation while preserving a rich architectural heritage.
Having survived wars and corsair raids over the centuries, sheltered by its ramparts and fortifications, Concarneau shows its true identity along the quays of the port: you can see fishing boats, shipyards, pontoons welcoming boats of all kinds, regattas at the start.
The town is entirely facing the sea, nestled at the end of one of Brittany’s most beautiful bays, with beaches accessible on foot along the corniche: it is a privileged place for bathing, nautical and thalassotherapy activities.
Perched on the mountainside, Locronan is awarded the title of‘most beautiful village in France’ as soon as you cross the entrance, you will realise why. The village, which surprises with its blue granite houses at the foot of the square tower of its church, looks like something out of a storybook.
Locronan is a town of unchanged charm thanks to its rigorous preservation of traditions, its old granite houses and its old-world atmosphere: there are no telephone wires or electricity here and its authentic air has led it to be the film set for many costume films.
Roscoff is a charming town and one of the most charming ports in northern France with its granite cottages and numerous villas. Here you can fully breathe in the seafaring tradition of fishing, seaweed harvesting and smuggling.
Full of character, this former merchant town on the Armorican peninsula has much to offer tourists: near the old port, you will find its pink granite residences, which tell of a time when shipowners and privateers made it their city of refuge.
Still active, the port is famous for crab fishing and provides connections to the Channel Islands, Ireland and Great Britain.
Located at the tip of Brittany, Brest is one of Europe’s sea capitals and one of the most beautiful ports in France.
Thanks to its large military and commercial port, Brest has a rich and exciting history. Unfortunately, due to the bombings of World War II, only a few vestiges of its ancient past remain.
In spite of the inevitable reconstruction, Brest has managed to intelligently renew itself, rising from its ashes to create a unique and ever-changing city.
This strip of land retains all the charm of authentic Brittany and is the ideal place for those who love wild cliffs, deserted countryside and small secluded coves on a beautiful sea.
In the past, it was considered of strategic importance as an outpost for the defence of the territory and ruined forts and artillery positions can still be seen today.
Pont-Aven is one of the most enchanting villages in Brittany, so much so that in the past it became a refuge for Parisian artists fleeing the hustle and bustle of the city and seeking rural inspiration, first and foremost Paul Gauguin.
Pont-Aven’s artistic tradition continues to this day and the town hosts some sixty galleries and artists’ studios within its walls.
Pont-Aven is also famous for the sweetness of its famous galettes de Pont Aven.
Douarnenez is a fishing port, the centre of sardines par excellence, which retains a charm that is hard to find in other villages in Brittany. Its inhabitants were called penn sardin, i.e. sardine head, and all of the town’s life hinged on the processing and canning of small fish.
To understand the charm of this place, one has to wander through the old alleys of the town that gravitate around the port of Rosmeur. Here, the population lived only by fishing and conditions were often degraded. We recommend a guided tour that will tell you the stories and sorrows of this old quarter: it will be like going back in time.
This small town with its small marina is a good base to start exploring the Finstére and retains a certain charm due to its location between the hills, being cut in two by the river and the immense granite viaduct above it.
The old town is worth a visit for its medieval streets, Gothic churches but above all for its typical lantern houses, a unique feature of Morlaix.
This small archipelago swept by the sea and the wind is one of the most solitary and evocative places in Brittany. Only two islands, Moléne and Ouessant , are inhabited by 950 inhabitants who have always fought against a hard life, marked by fishing and bad weather. Those who venture this far will not be disappointed by this wonderful natural environment that has become a Unesco World Heritage Site and a marine park.
In Ouessant, you can walk at least part of the long trail (45 km) that follows the contours of the island, where you will admire a beautiful landscape of wild creeks, cliffs and flocks of sheep. Or to Pointe de Pern, the westernmost point in France, you will pass picturesque clusters of cottages, stone walls and gwaskedou, the three-pointed star-shaped sheep shelters. The lighthouses of Pointe de Créac’h and Stiff are also very beautiful.
Visiting Moléne, on the other hand, takes only a couple of hours. Here you will feel as if you have come to the end of the world: very few cars, low vegetation and only 270 souls. Le Bourg, the only village, looks like something out of a postcard with its whitewashed fishermen’s cottages, small jetty and salty air.
These islands are unfortunately also infamous for the many shipwrecks that have occurred over the centuries: to get to know their stories, you can visit the Musée des Phares et Balises or the Écomusée d’Ouessant (in Ouessant), which recalls the hard life of the inhabitants through objects, original clothes, shipwrecked treasures and the proëlla, the candles lit in memory of the souls of sailors who died at sea, or the Musée du Drummond Castle (in Moléne), which recalls the heroic feat of the island’s inhabitants who saved the survivors of an English ship from a shipwreck.
Brittany is not only made up of wild coastlines but also of marvellous forests such as the one surrounding the village of Huelgoat. Many legends hover here, telling of an intricate forest of centuries-old trees such as moss covering stones and boulders with unusual rock formations that tickled the imagination of poets and troubadours.
As with the forest of Paimpont, everything here revolves around the legend of King Arthur , such as the Camp d’Artus a Gallic fort or the Caves of Artus, where the famous king is said to have stopped for the night.
But the tangles of branches, the play of light and the stones also evoke a world of fairies, gnomes and giants where young and old can let their imaginations run wild, as in the Devil’s Cave or the Wobbly Rock, an immense 100-tonne boulder that sways gently when touched in the right spot.
There are many itineraries to choose from and excellent picnic spots: at the tourist office you will find all the marked trails, from short ones to half-day walks.
Apart from being a charming seaside resort, once frequented by illustrious personalities such as Marcel Proust and Winston Churchill, the main attraction of Bénodet is the wonderful beaches with superb white sand dunes stretching for more than 4 kilometres between Le Lettuy and Pointe de Mousterlin.
If you have time, don’t miss a trip to the Iles de Glénan where you will be amazed by the beauty of the turquoise water and white beaches. The only island that can be visited is the Ile de Saint-Nicolas and we recommend taking a small scenic cruise to see all the islands together.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
Route: 100 km | Duration: 3 days | Recommended period: June/July
After the first day dedicated to the art and romantic beauty of Pont-Aven, head to the seaside town of Concarneau with its fortified city and authentic atmosphere.
The second day is spent in Quimper, not only to immerse yourself in Celtic culture but also for beautiful river walks or a gatronomic cruise.
Lastly, we take in the more solitary moors of Finistére to admire the splendid views of this stretch of coastline.