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visiting Brittany

Brisbane, Australia
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visiting Brittany

I am planning on visiting Brittany next April/May and would appreciate any suggestions re areas/places to base myself or regions that are a must see. I am interested in history,scenery and not busy places!! I will be a solo traveller hiring a car and plan maybe 1 or 2 weeks coming from australia, then London and then hopefully, Britanny. Many thanks for any suggestions and advise.

Los Angeles...
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1. Re: visiting Brittany

I was in Brittany this past spring and loved it. I drove from Paris to Dinan-loved Dinan-small medieval walled town with a good selection of accomodations. Brittany is actually quite large-from here you can visit many outlying villages-it is an easy 30-45 minute drive to St. Malo from here on the freeway or you can meander along the Rance River. St. Malon is a walled city on the coast-I would visit it again-however I found it to be very touristy-I liked it but Dinan was much more laid back. If you have never been to Mont. St. Michel-I would head there-it is really Normandy but worth the visit.

I would look at the different regions of Brittany-for me it was much larger than I imagined. My trip was a little messed up due to my outbound flight being cancelled two days in a row. I then drove from St. Malo through many villages and spent the night in Roscoff. I stayed along the coast-which was great and then went a little south into the countryside-this was a mistake-the day was too long and there were so many places along they way I could have spent more time in. I completely skipped the pink granite stones.(I cannot remember what they are called).

I then spent a night in Vannes-which I loved. Okay I loved everything about Brittany. There are so many villages in between that are beyond cute and worth 1-2 hours of wandering through. Vannes on a sunny day was just a delight. I also went into the countryside from here and spent a night there at a b and b.

I traveled by myself-I am 49 and do speak French. As a woman I felt safe the entire time. Do you speak French-I ask as I picked up a book when I was there with driving routes and still have-I can give you the name. Each area of Brittany is very distinctive. There are many islands you could visit. You can cycle. I feel that I got a taste of Brittany and want to go back and see more.

Except for the one day I found the driving okay-I just logged on too many miles and was jetlagged.

Quimper was the only place I did not care for-it was larger than I expected and it did not wow me-It was raining and I had just spent time in very quaint villages.

Have you thought about what regions you want to see-and how long do you plan on spending in the area?

PS I know you are from Australia and visiting France-however you can take the ferries out to the Jersey Islands-I did not know this and am fascinated with Guernsey-had I the time I would have done this. Give me more info and I will try to help you more.

I was there the end of APril/May-you will see rain-I also had gorgeous days in the 70 and the rain did not deter me.

United Kingdom
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for Barnstaple, Robin Hood's Bay, Whitby
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2. Re: visiting Brittany

Dinan is lovely, as tikkadog says, and we had a lovely week there exploring the medieval town itself, cycling the river Rance (you can hire bikes fairly cheaply) and driving the coast to places like St-Malo, Cancale, Saint-Cast-le-Guildo and the stunning Cap Frehel.

I found Mont St-Michel a huge let down - touristy and without and real charm, although the view of it from the coast was wondrous.

Another part of Brittany I have really loved was near Paimpol, which is a lovely harbour town with the nearby Île-de-Bréhat. You are also well placed to explore the Côtes-d'Armor and - slightly further along - the Côte de granit rose.

Scunthorpe, United...
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3. Re: visiting Brittany

I'm always hesitant to suggest must sees, as my list could be completely wrong for you.

We spent three weeks in Brittany September 2012. We spent a week in southern Finistere near Quimper for the coast

www.slowtrav.com/tr/tripreport.asp…

a week in Morbihan near Joselin for the ancient remains

www.slowtrav.com/tr/tripreport.asp…

and a week in northern Finistere near Morlaix for the coast and parish closes.

I wrote detailed reports for each. Apart from a few must sees which feature on everyone's list like Carnac, Locronan and Concarneau, we avoided the honey pots beloved of the tourist and searched out those places ignored by the guide books and tourists. We found some delightful places.

Pictures are here:

wasleys.org.uk/france/brittany_11/index.html

We used Michelin 1:200000 map 512 Brittany for planning and map reading. travel.stanfords.co.uk/maps/Michelin%20512

This is one of the best. Scenic routes are marked in green and it has a system of star rankings for places and attractions. It also marks churches, châteaux, ancient remains etc.

The best guide book is Eyewitness Brittany which has reasonable maps, good pictures and enough information to get you going. It also covers many places not mentioned in Lonely Planet or Rough Guide.

amazon.co.uk/DK-Eyewitness-Travel-Guide-Brit…

With a bit of time spent reading you can soon draw up your own individualized list of must sees which will be much better than relying on someone else's list.

Paris, France
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4. Re: visiting Brittany

I must say that EESW has some of the best trip reports about Brittany I've seen posted on any travel forum and I highly recommend you look at them. I'll add links to a couple of my trip reports about Brittany that you might get some ideas from as well.

This first link is to a report about exploring the area near Dinan and Saint-Malo. I've written it in a manner to assist visitors to Brittany and the report has links to just about every major tourist office website you could need to plan a trip to Brittany. It's got plenty of photos and descriptions as well:

http://tinyurl.com/82azcyh

This second link is about exploring The Gulf of Morbihan:

http://tinyurl.com/8xuuryc

UK
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5. Re: visiting Brittany

Hi Julie. The above places are certainly lovely places to visit. I especially think Dinan is a fantastic place to visit. An absolutely beautiful medieval town full of tiny cobbled streets, old churches, with its own port which is so pretty, lined with cafes, brasseries and pizzerias. There are plenty of hotels to choose from and 2 campsites that I have stayed at. One was the municipal campsite in the town which was very noisy, close to the road. A quiet campsite half an hour's walk along the quiet river bank (then up a hill, by foot) called 'Hallerais' is worth a look. Excellent facilities and a restaurant/shop on site.

I also think if history is what you are really interested in, then Carnac in South west Brittany is a great place to go, with its neolithic menhirs (standing stones like Stonehenge) there are absolutely loads of them! It is near to some beaches and another medieval town (much larger than Dinan) - Vannes.

tripadvisor.in/Tourism-g187096-Carnac_Morbih…

Auray, which is between Vannes and Carnac has a lovely port which is worth a visit website here in French

http://www.saint-goustan.net/

I hope wherever you choose, you have a great time. I have been to many areas in Brittany and know a fair bit of it. If you need any more info let me know!

Josselin
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6. Re: visiting Brittany

If you stay in or near.Dinan you can pop to Mont St Michel.

Dinan is nice but it won't take long to see it all. Market day is Thursday and worth a look.

Dinard is interesting with the villa's from the turn of the century.

I personally do not like St Malo. . !

Cancale for a plateau de fruit mer or 12 oysters. You can take the coast road from MSM to St Malo via Cancale.

In fact following the coastal road for all pittany is a pleasure.

We are trying to think of places in the centre but appart from Josselin haven't come up with anything! We will ponder on it.

UK
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7. Re: visiting Brittany

thefranceinsider.com/2012/03/most-beautiful-…

the above shows 5 most beautiful villages in Brittany, I don't know how busy it will be in April/May but I can't imagine it being really over-busy.

Josselin
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8. Re: visiting Brittany

Don't forget that it can sometimes be a little bit rainy here.

For weeks on end!

I looked at the best villages - They are not the best in my opinion. When we have the time I will give a list of suggestions

Paris, France
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9. Re: visiting Brittany

If you stop in a tourist office in Brittany you can pick up a Carte Touristique de Bretagne (Tourist Map of Brittany) and there will be icons for just about anything of touristic interest in that region. For charming cities/towns/villages the key icons to pay attention to are the ones for:

Ville d'Art et d'Histoire (Town of Art and History)

Ville Historique (Historic Town)

Petite Cité de Caractère (Small Town of Character)

Commune du Patrimoine Rural (Rural Heritage Village)

Plus Beau Village de France (Most Beautiful Village of France)

There are dozens of such types of villages shown on the map. There are also icons for cathedrals, churches, parish enclosures, megaliths, châteaux, ruins, fortifications, sports/hiking/biking/boating/leisure activities and a whole host of other things.

Here are some useful weblinks to find some of these towns:

cites-art.com/les-petites-cites-de-caractere…

frenchentree.com/france-brittany-tourism-lei…

http://www.vpah.culture.fr/france/france.htm

www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/en

MD
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10. Re: visiting Brittany

Janetbrn2, I'm interested in your list of best villages in Brittany, so when you come up with your list , please start a new thread so I don't miss it. I bet I'm not the only one interested.