Brittany: an all-round region
Christophe Froger has been Manager of the INTER-HOTEL La Chaussairie, a 3-star establishment in Rennes, Brittany, since 1998. As he says himself: "I haven't moved, I've always lived in Rennes." Therefore it is completely natural that he would set up his hotel in his home city. In love with his region, he also appreciates the variety and beauty of the other regions in France.
In Brittany it's "the weather" that he loves, he says, as though winking, then adds, "more seriously, the peace, the quality of life, the kindness of the people and, above all, avoiding the stress of big cities.
From north to south, you will love the variety of the Brittany landscapes. Inland, you will discover legends and traditions. On the coast of the Channel or the Atlantic, the incredible cliffside vistas cannot be ignored. From the Emerald and Pink Granite coasts to the Gulf of Morbihan, follow your desires across the beautiful Brittany region and experience all that it has to offer during your stay.
A cultural city break
We begin our visit in Rennes, a university city with a rich heritage. The Saint Georges Palace, Opera house, Parlement and the Palais du Commerce are just some of the many sights in the city. On a stroll around the pedestrian quarter, you will discover the half-timber houses which add to the charm of the picturesque lanes. Don't miss the Thabor gardens in the east of the city, considered among the "most beautiful in France": they are a real ode to nature.
Venture into the Rennes suburbs and stop off in Vezin-Le-Coquet in the Ille-et-Vilaine department to enjoy a variety of cultural events. Also nearby lies Chartres-de-Bretagne where you can view old lime kilns and the remains of the Fontenay castle.
To the north-east of Rennes, head to the town of Fougères to visit the medieval castle and the watchmaking workshop and museum which, via a magnificent 200-strong collection, retraces advances in the measurement of time. Extend your stay in Saint-Brice-en-Coglès, which won the Stage Town label in 2004.
A romantic stay in Brittany
Christophe Froger is keen to point out that, "Rennes is just 45 minutes' drive from touristic destinations such as Saint-Malo, Dinan, Dinard and Cancale. I always recommend them to my guests."
Head closer to the Emerald Coast next for an essential stay in Dinard, a seaside resort, near Côtes d’Armor and Saint-Malo. Dinard is known for its beautiful beaches, magnificent private buildings and the British Film Festival which takes place in autumn.
Upon leaving Dinard, drop in on Dinan, a magnificent walled town. The ramparts and castle which protected the town in yesteryear are sure to impress. Just a short distance away lies Saint-Malo, "the Corsair town" and chief city in the north of Brittany known, among other things, for its ramparts, its two famous privateers, Surcouf and Duguay-Trouin, and for being one of the most visited seaside resorts in Brittany.
You Brittany trip will then take you to Lamballe which has developed its heritage through a buoyant arts and crafts industry, the development of which is presented in the Arts and Popular Traditions Museum. Head to the coast to add a romantic flavour to your trip. Near Saint-Brieuc and its windswept beaches, Paimpol is one of the main fishing ports and marinas in the Channel. Another town in the Côtes d’Armor department, Guingamp, is well known by football fans. It is also the capital of Breton dance. The Pink Granite Coast and its breathtaking views can be admired just a short distance away. The perfect spot for a romantic getaway in coastal Brittany.
Wellness breaks in Brittany
Situated at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Bénodet is a fashionable seaside resort. Come here for a relaxing break and enjoy its thalassotherapy centre, the "Thermes Marins de Bénodet", strolls along the marina or the sea air on one of its many beaches.
Continuing down the Finistère coast, don't miss Douarnenez and its large sardine port. Set sail on a cruise and explore Ile Tristan, just over 50 yards from the town. Get away from it all in the Bay of Morlaix by Carantec, a small seaside resort situated on a granite massif.
Extend your stay in Finistère by travelling to Brest at the tip of the department, a city with an abundant religious, civil and military heritage. Don't miss the range of opportunities to set sail on cruises to île Ouessant and île Molène, which are surrounded by many reefs and currents. Here, nature shows its harsh, wild side. Visitors suffering from seasickness can always wander the paths of the Oceanopolis centre, an enormous leisure centre (containing an aquarium) illustrating oceans around the world. In the Bay of Morlaix, the seaside resort of Carantec will win you over with its microclimate, sandy beaches and range of activities for your (watersports, tennis, golf, etc.). It also boasts an abundant natural and historical heritage (castle, lighthouse, nearby islands).
Famous for its Channel crossings, the port of Roscoff is a charming port town in Finistère. Classed as a Natura 2000 Special Protection Area, Roscoff offers an incredible variety of flora and fauna. In Quimperlé, drop in at the Maison des Archers and the Halle à la Décoration.
Morbihan and its menhirs
Several miles away from Quimperlé lies Morbihan. Known for its inter-Celtic festival in addition to the many places of interest such as the Davis Tower, the submarine museum and La Thalassa, a former scientific vessel which today plays the role of an "oceanology discovery vessel", the town will welcome you proudly.
Set off to explore Carnac and its famous menhirs. World-renowned for its megalithic sites, dolmens and other cairns, Carnac is a Celtic town and how we imagine Brittany to be. By extending your stay in Morbihan, you can visit Auray, classed as a 'city of art and history.'.
Finish your Breton adventure with Vannes in the Gulf of Morbihan, where you can explore a collection of structures by taking the ramparts path. Don't forget to stop in Pontivy, just a few miles from Vannes, where you can visit its 18 historical monuments including the Rohan castle.
"Breton gastronomy is the seafood that you sample in Saint-Malo and Cancale, and the crepes. We have good crepe restaurants in Rennes."
Brittany has an abundance of specialities and local products. Saint-Brieuc Scallops, Roscoff pink onions, Rennes little grey melons, Nantes lamb's lettuce, Guérande salted butter and salt. The Breton gastronomy has always delighted epicureans with its famous crepes and Breton galettes, Kouign amann, palets and Breton Far, cider and seafood (such as Breton lobster, oysters and mussels).
In Brittany, the wide variety of attractions and opportunities for discovery are what you would expect of the region. The climate is temperamental, with the sun often chasing the rain.