Britanny night!

Brittany will be on stage! dinner, presentations on local fun facts, and dance

Brittany will be on stage! dinner, presentations on local fun facts, and dance

There’s a lot to learn about Brittanny, where you can be away from the fast pace and life comes with wind in your hair and feet in the sand….and where food is a long tradition with the ocean in the front seat !

So why not join us for an evening of fun facts, good food,the sense of partage (sharing) and good time together..

Here is what we have in store for your evening..

  • Conference on cider by Mark Gleonec (President of CIDREF )
  • Degustation of ciders
  • Dinner based on the tradition of sea products from Brittany
    • Live comments by Pierre Ley on the tradition of conserverie in Brittany
  • and the famous dessert “Kouign Amann”
  • and of course, there will be music to dance !

Price : 25€ /person

Drinks (wines, beers, etc.) : buy your own

Where: Officine Dell’Acqua – Viale G. Garibaldi, 12, 21014 Laveno-Mombello VA (https://tinyurl.com/y9ts3twn)

Registrations: More details and on-line booking coming soon

MAESTRO -Climate change effects on exploited marine communities

The oceans account for more than 60% of monetized ecosystem services. Among these services, humankind critically depends on marine resources such as fish and benthic invertebrates for food and economic security. With ongoing fishing pressure and climate change strongly affecting the distribution and abundance of species at the global scale, our dependence on ocean ecosystem services urges us to better anticipate the future of marine resources and propose adaptive mitigation strategies.

While numerous projections of future species distributions have been produced, the expected alterations of trait structure within communities (i.e. the functional characteristics of species) have received far less attention. More precisely, we lack integrated models and scenarios to better predict and anticipate the mixed impacts of climate change and fishing pressure on the types of diversity in marine communities that ultimately determine their functioning.

By taking advantage of available data on long-term fish and invertebrate surveys, species traits, fisheries and the environment, the main goals of the MAESTRO project are thus:

  • to characterize and assess the effects of climate and fishing on the functional diversity of exploited communities during the last three decades in the Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea,
  • to forecast how exploited communities will respond to the upcoming warming until the end of this century, and
  • to investigate, for several climate change scenarios, alternative harvesting strategies targeting different species and trait groups in order to minimise the impacts of fishing on functional diversity

MAESTRO brings together IFREMER and CESAB (Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity) experts in conservation, climate-constrained modeling, benthology and fishery.

Clisson, a corner of Tuscany in the Pays de la Loire

Clisson is a commune in the Loire-Atlantique department in the Pays de la Loire region in western France.

It is situated at the confluence of the Sèvre Nantaise and the Moine 27 km southeast of Nantes (reachable by rail).

The town and the celebrated family of Clisson (the most famous members are Olivier IV de Clisson and Jeanne de Clisson) take their name from their stronghold. Clisson has its imposing ruins, parts of which date from the thirteenth century. The town and castle, the château de Clisson, were destroyed in 1792 and 1793 during the War in the Vendée.

Afterwards, the sculptor François-Frédéric Lemot bought the castle, and the town was rebuilt in the early part of the 19th century with Tuscany architecture. There are picturesque parks on the banks of the rivers. The Moine is crossed by an old gothic bridge and by a fine modern viaduct.

Clisson’s (short) history

At Clisson were born Olivier V of Clisson, and the last Duke of Brittany, François II, father of Anne of Brittany. In the fourteenth century the « Marches de Bretagne » are the border between Brittany and France. The Clisson covered market reflects the economic dynamism of the time. It is one of the largest and oldest in France.

After the Revolution, Clisson became in the 19th century a landscape inspired by Italy. F-F Lemot sculptor of Napoleon settles in near Clisson he realizes a neoclassical landscape inspired by central Italy. The decoration of tiles and bricks offered by Clisson is  a genuine Italian surprise in western France.

The Church of Notre Dame de Clisson

It was built in the old Collegiate Church. It was reformed in the nineteenth century in the Italian style. As you can see, its bell tower is a Tuscan style, and a Basilica of Rome inspires its main buildings.

Les Halles de Clisson (Medieval Market)

This is where the Clisson market is held. It has been registered as a historical monument in 1923. According to recent reports, it’s from the 14th Century. But there is little information about this market before the eighteenth century.

What is known is that it was a prosperous place, and the lords of Clisson helped make it prosperous. They charged taxes on the sale of certain goods.

During the Vendée War, the city was burned and almost completely devastated.It is said that the city’s own extinguished the fire of Les Halles to have a refuge within the city. Several restoration works have been done to preserve the elements that give authenticity to this monument.

Between land and sea, the Marais poitevin

On the board for your next holidays. Curled up between land and sea, the Marais poitevin is a unique and timeless destination. With its “Natural Regional Park” and “Grand Site de France” labels, its stunning beauty is waiting for you.

Parc naturel régional values

Labelized in May 2014, The Parc naturel régional is a sustainable project driven toward the preservation and valorisation of its patrimony

The brand “Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional” is a recognized brand that is committed to the development of the territory and the preservation of local products. Deployed by the Marais poitevin regional natural park, it offers visitors, tourists and consumers a collective and supportive approach, ensuring structuring effects for sustainable development.

The word Marais is often translated as “marsh,” but this is rather misleading – a better term might be wetlands or water meadows. The Marais Poitevin has both types of environment, with lush green pastureland and lower-lying wetlands criss-crossed by shady canals. As you’ll find out, there’s so much to do and see here — from boat trips to hiking or biking, you’ll be spoiled for choice when explore this delightful protected natural area, centred on the mediaeval town of Fontenay-le-Comte.

The Marais Poitevin by boat

This part of the Vendée is called the “Green Venice.” Located south of Fontenay-le-Comte, the wetlands canals are undoubtedly the busiest part of the Marais Poitevin. The waterways are covered by a green canopy of ash trees and poplars, a romantic and exotic getaway.

guide-boatman will take you on a boat trip along the canals and bays of the marais. You’ll learn how to handle the pigouille (punting stick) and even how to set fire to the water! More about that later…

Boats are undeniably the classic and best way to enjoy and discover the landscapes of the Green Venice. The silence and the mysterious atmosphere that emerge from the marais never fails to leave an impression. If you prefer to be independent, you can also rent a boat to visit the Marais Poitevin on your own – perhaps with the whole family.

Around the Marais poitevin

If boat trips are not your cup of tea, discover the marais on foot, by bike, on horseback – why not, by donkey! A few kilometers south of Fontenay-le-Comte, various  circuitwalking and cycling trails are available.

The wetlands

A three kilometre observation trail in the Nalliers-Mouzeuil-Saint-Martin Biological Reserve leads walkers to a meeting with purple heron and turtle doves. Take the opportunity to visit the Maison de la Reserve, a place of mediation in this protected area. It is one of the last examples of wetland forest in the area.

From Le Langon, a cycling circuit embraces the Regional Nature Reserve of the Poiré-sur-Velluire marshland. Other circuits starting from Velluire, Auchay-sur-Vendée or Doix-lès-Fontaines allow visitors to discover another facet of the Marais Poitevin halfway between wetlands and drained pasture.

Cycling enthusiasts will find bike paths throughout the Marais Poitevin. Greenways and bicycle routes help you discover the Regional Natural Park, from Niort to Marans, following the Vélo Francette® route.

Drained pasturelands

The drained wetlands, now low-lying dry pasture, extend west of Fontenay-le-Comte. They are protected from flood waters and tides by levees and dikes. Complementary to the wetlands, it has open landscapes with plains and hedges.

Around Fontenay-le-Comte, discover the communaux, these great flood-prone natural meadows which in the summer are home to herds of grazing cows and horses. Don’t miss the Regional Nature Reserve at Poiré-sur-Velluire.

Agroecology: When artificial intelligence translates pig vocalisations

Pigs express their emotions through vocalisations. Recognising these sounds, and the emotions they express, would provide the information necessary for farmers to adapt their interventions and ensure the welfare of pigs throughout their lives. This is why INRAE, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and the University of Copenhagen have coordinated the development of a system for recognising pig vocalisations as part of the European SOUNDWEL project. Their results, published on 7 March in Scientific Reports, point to the possibility of an automatic recognition tool for vocalisations to monitor and improve pig welfare on-farm.

Pigs express their emotions through different types of vocalisations (like grunts, screams and squeals), each of which has many more or less subtle variations. Deciphering these sounds would help livestock farmers to better understand the emotions expressed by their animals and to improve their welfare. The researchers’ idea is to develop a system to recognise and distinguish pig vocalisations, the emotions they convey and the situation that generated them, in order to help livestock farmers in their decision-making.

A library of 7400 vocalisations

In order to build this tool, the researchers started by collecting thousands of vocalisations. In the end, over 7,400 good quality vocalisations from 411 pigs in different European laboratories could be analysed. These sounds were recorded in 19 different contexts: from the birth of the pigs and throughout their life, in different types of indoor rearing (e.g. on slatted floors or on straw) and in slaughterhouses. These contexts can be sources of positive emotions (suckling, reunion with fellow pigs…) or negative ones (fights, isolation…). By combining the expertise of ethologists, bioacousticians for the detailed analysis of the acoustic structure of the recorded vocalisations (a more or less high frequency, purity of the sound…), and computational methods of artificial intelligence, the researchers worked on the automatic classification of the vocalisations according to the emotional valence (negative or positive emotion) and the situation in which they were emitted, with a view to possible action by the livestock farmer.

Artificial intelligence to translate the emotion that pigs are experiencing

The results show that artificial intelligence is very effective at recognising not only the emotional valence of the vocalisations (91.5% accuracy), but also the situation in which they were emitted (82% accuracy). On receiving a new sound, the system will automatically compare it with previously classified sounds to qualify it. This system could be of great help to livestock farmers as it could alert them in real time if a situation requires their immediate intervention, such as in the case of a piglet being crushed by the mother or repeated or prolonged fights within a group, which are an indication of a problem. It would also allow livestock farmers to reinforce positive situations for the pigs, helping them to evaluate, for example, the provision of new toys or infrastructure to enhance the welfare of their animals. It is also a very innovative system for research on the vocalisations of pigs — and other animals — as it allows working on a larger scale than more common and time-consuming manual analyses.

Similar acoustic monitoring systems already exist on farms to monitor the health of pigs by analysing the noise of their coughs. The INRAE research team is now working on adding an analysis of pig vocalisations to this listening system in order to combine physical and mental health measures for better welfare on-farm.

REFERENCE
Elodie F. Briefer, Ciara C.-R. Sypherd, Pavel Linhart, Lisette M.C. Leliveld, Monica Padilla de la Torre, Eva R. Read, Carole Guérin, Véronique Deiss, Chloé Monestier, Jeppe H. Rasmussen, Marek Špinka, Sandra Düpjan, Alain Boissy, Andrew M. Janczak, Edna Hillmann, Céline Tallet, Classification of pig calls produced from birth to slaughter according to their emotional valence and context of production, Scientific Reports, DOI : 10.1038/s41598-022-07174-8

A vast burial cave of the Bronze Age discovered in the Charente “Le réseau de la Licorne”

The chance discovery of an underground network leading to an impressive cavity occupied in the Bronze Age (2 200/800 BC), reveals the existence of one of the largest burial caves known to date in France.

With more than one linear kilometre of galleries under almost twenty meters of depth, this discovery, dubbed «Network of the Unicorn» by its inventors, is exceptional in both its archaeological wealth and its state of conservation (traces of footsteps; numerous ceramics including several dozen intact: bowls, vases, pots, plates, etc.; human and animal remains…). It has a remarkable scientific potential, yet to be determined but probably underestimated to this day, for the documentation and knowledge of the funeral traditions of the Bronze Age. The very large size of the site of the Unicorn and its use for more than a millennium suggest a complex archaeological context whose study represents, for years to come, a scientific challenge.

Discovered in February 2021 by speleologists, during road works in the delegated municipality of Saint-Projet-Saint-Constant (La Rochefoucauld-en-Angoumois) in Charente, a first assessment is carried out in early April 2021 by the Regional Service of Archaeology (SRA) the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs (DRAC) of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Once authenticated, this discovery is named «Réseau de la Licorne» by the members of the Association de recherches spéléologiques de La Rochefoucauld (ARS-LR), its discoverers. The first findings confirm the importance of the discovery and its very probable dating to the Bronze Age. A second expertise gathering protohistorians took place in June 2021 to document the impressive archaeological content discovered and confirm its dating.

This cavity, in addition to archaeological remains, contains many concretions, such as the classic draperies formed by calcite flows, but also magnificent stalagmites with a triangular section as well as eccentric stalactites still in the process of formation.

The involvement and expertise of the State services in the conservation of this archaeological heritage, in conjunction with the actors concerned, played a key role. The priority for the Ministry of Culture is to preserve this exceptional site, which is extremely fragile. This means understanding the environmental conditions that have enabled the conservation of this site, which is 3 to 4 millennia old, in order to be able to maintain them.

The Ministry of Culture, through its archaeology services, will continue its close collaboration with local stakeholders to ensure that this exceptional site delivers the secrets of the Bronze Age and that the knowledge of this period deepens.

Veloscenic cycle route, 450 km from Paris to Mont Saint-Michel

The Veloscenic is a well-signposted route from Paris via Chartres and Normandy, to the Mont St-Michel. This exceptional trail crosses such gorgeous areas as the Chevreuse Valley, the Perche, French Maine and the Bocage Normand. The route is accessible to different levels of cyclist. Long stretches are along greenways, linked by quiet roads.

the cycle route (click to see detailed routes)

Vélodyssée, the atlantic cycling route

La Vélodyssée, French part of the Atlantic Coast Route – EuroVelo 1 is a bicycle route that crosses Brittany and along the Atlantic to the Basque Coast, La Vélodyssée is an invigorating cycling journey through landscapes of unspoilt beauty.
Get on your bike and explore this cycle tour of over 1200 km with its beautiful ocean backdrop! Between Roscoff and Hendaye, 70% of the route is on traffic-free paths. Discover our regional treasures as you follow the longest, fully-signposted cycle route in France.

The route (click on map to see detailed routes)

The spirit of La Vélodyssée is:

A new kind of holiday, with a more sustainable, slow tourism experience

No more hurrying from place to place. Really take the time to explore a location using ‘slow’ (non-polluting) modes of transport with destinations close to you. 

Whether you’re travelling with family, as a couple, or with friends, discover France’s west coast at your own pace, with all of its treasures along a safe route marked from north to south and south to north. Route guidebooksGPS tracks, and our website will make it easy for you to plan your holidays and will guide you along the way.

Exchanges and encounters at the heart of your journey

Share a moment with family or friends, the ideal opportunity to talk and connect with each other as you roll along France’s west coast.

Take advantage of accommodations specially for cyclists in Accueil Vélo (Cyclists Welcome) lodging, as well as services dedicated to cycling. 

Meet men and women who are the heart and soul of the regions traversed by La Vélodyssée: visit an oyster farmer in Charente-Maritime, a winemaker in Landes, a chocolatier in Basque Country, a lock keeper in Brittany, and more. Try out a session of surfing, land sailing, canoeing, boating, or another fun activity with a local professional. Go bird watching, guided by a specialist from the Vendée.

All along the cycling route, meet fellow travellers on La Vélodyssée: families, couples, groups, or single riders, young people and less-young people, riders going ‘down’ towards the south and those going ‘up’ towards the north. You’ll meet people going on day trips or just a weekend and others going long-distance, not even stopping at the end of La Vélodyssée and instead continuing along the rest of the EuroVelo 1 cycling route.

Incredible diversity!

From Brittany, the land of legends, to the Loire Estuary, from marshes in the Vendée to beaches in Aquitaine, from north to south on this French cycling route, you’re guaranteed to find a huge variety of magical, natural landscapes: canals, moorlands, marshes, dunes, beaches, pine forests, wooded countryside, pools, and more.

So many choices! You’ll fall head over heels for quintessential French cities like Nantes, La Rochelle, Rochefort, Royan, Bayonne, Biarritz, and more.

You will be stunned by emblematic tourist sites like the Nantes-Brest Canal, the Poitevin Marsh, Fort Boyard, Arcachon Bay, Dune du Pilat, and the Landes forest. And let’s not forget about those stops along the way to taste local farm products you don’t want to miss.

La boule de fort

Traditional game of the Loire Valley and in particular of Anjou, which dates back to at least 1660, boule de fort is the only sport that is practiced in “charentaises” (slippers)!

Initiation et découverte de la BOULE DE FORT à SAUMUR (49)

The combination of the ball slightly offset center of gravity (strong side) to the tread (metal circle) with the extremely “rolling” raised-edged-playground gives the ball a slowly zigzag course.

Would the game have inspire or been inspired by lawn bowling practiced throughout the Commonwealth or by “bourle” practiced in Haut de France, Belgium and the Netherlands?
Was it inspired by the ball games of the sailors waiting for the tide in the “Gabares” hold?

Gabare

Still, it is unique in France and classified as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

What about you givin’ a roll with us!

The largest medieval tapestry in the world

Did you know that the Château d’Angers hosts the largest medieval tapestry in the world?

Commissioned in 1375 by Louis 1st of Anjou, this monumental work, based on a 1st century A.D. manuscript (the visions of St John, the final text of the New Testament) illustrates the historical, social and political context of 14th century France, at the time of the Hundred Years War, of epidemics and famine.

Made of wool using the tapestry technique, it measures 103 meters long and 4.5 meters high. Grand !

Anjou by bike

Anjou is located at the heart of renowned local, national or European cycle routes such as “La Loire à Vélo“, “EuroVélo 6” or “Vélo Francette®“, “Vélobuissonnière” or the “Loir Valley by bike” (roadmap) to cross several regions of France.

Wild Loire and Corniche angevine circuit

On the Wine Routes, this wine tourism circuit of 58 km by car takes you through the vineyards of the Anjou corniche, its small villages and on the banks of the Loire… Take the opportunity to taste one of the AOC wines of the region !

The Champignon de Paris is actually a famous Angevin…

The Champignon de Paris is actually a famous Angevin…

Passed from the catacombs of Paris to the humidity of the troglodyte cellars of the Loire Valley, button mushrooms are one of the flagship products of Anjou.

Despite its name, the “champignon de Paris” mainly grows… In the Loire Valley, and more specifically in Saumur, which alone concentrates more than 50% of French production!

In particular, it is used in the so convivial recipe of Galipettes.

The “Crêmet d’Anjou”

Le Crêmet d’Anjou, this evocative name well defines this emblematic Angevin dessert.

Made from fresh cream and known for a long time, it echoes the “douceur angevine“.

“The delight of God”, according to Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland, Angers 12/10/1870; † Paris 22/07/1956) who brilliantly praises it: “Le Crêmet d’Anjou is a delight of God. No whipped cream equals this frothy, fragrant, creamy and light little heap”.

Taste the cream according to your desires, plain, accompanied by honey, syrup or even accompanied by red fruits.

How about making up your own mind? (Recipe in FR)

Le Crêmet d’Anjou

Le Crêmet d’Anjou, ce nom évocateur caractérise bien cet emblématique dessert Angevin.

Fabriqué à base de crème fraîche et connu de longue date, il fait écho à la « douceur angevine ».

« Régal des dieux », selon Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland, Angers 12/10/1870 ; † Paris 22/07/1956) qui en fait un brillant éloge : « Le crêmet angevin est un régal des dieux. Nulle crème chantilly n’égale ce petit mulon mousseux, parfumé, onctueux et léger », le crêmet se déguste au gré de vos envies, nature, accompagné de miel, sirop ou encore accompagné de fruits rouges.

Que diriez-vous d’en juger par vous-même ?

Maewan, a network of people working together in harmony with nature…

Maewan aims to reposition Man at the centre of his environment to tackle one specific issue:

How to achieve collective wellbeing in a world with limited resources?

Maewan’s sailboat, a nomadic operational platform, left France for a seven-year expedition from the Arctic to Antarctica, passing through the Pacific. It supports educational and environmental actions led by world-class athletes, both in France and abroad.

Meawan in numbers

  • 45 educational projects
  • 7 environmental projects
  • 100 exceptional athletes

A sport adventure

Founded in 2014, the Maewan project was initially carried out by a start-up, allowing the activities, sponsoring, financing and management of the sporting adventure. Chaired by the boat’s captain, Erwan le Lann, this structure has created 4 films, 1 photo exposition and a book retracing the few first years of the expedition from France to the Kouril Islands.

MORE INFORMATION

Youtube Channel

Normandy, Brittany, Pays de Loire

We are now in the regions of our beloved sea and oceans… in May we are travelling from Normandy to Bretagne to Pays de la Loire where you can live with the wind in your hair and your feet in the sand.  Brittany rocks it with its endless sandy beaches, a stunning rocky coastline dotted with picturesque villages. Normandy is famous the D-Day Beaches, the tidal island of Mont St Michel and the Bayeux Tapestry, but it is also home to chic seaside resorts, charming fishing villages, Rouen with its cathedral and association with Joan of Arc. The Pays de la Loire is a place of châteaux, vineyards, and long sandy beaches fringing the Atlantic coast with a warmer climate and a laid-back culture with both inland and coastal towns and villages with vast sandy beaches all the way down to Vendee.

Normandy

A place of history, culture and traditions, Normandy offers many delights to visitors in search of authenticity and natural beauty. Peaceful and unspoilt, its wonderful lands offer an incredibly diverse landscape, ranging from the forests, hedged farmland and rustic meadows of its green countryside to the majestic white cliffs of the Alabaster Coast, through the famous Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, the meanders of the Seine Valley, Swiss Normandy and the Cotentin and Bessin marshes. As well as being a top destination for leisure and relaxation and a true haven of peace, Normandy has managed to preserve an important cultural, architectural and gastronomic heritage. Seafood, salt marsh lamb, cider, Pommeau and perry, teurgoule, dairy products from Isigny and cheeses from Pays d’Auge are among the treats in store for visitors’ taste buds!

The fiefdom of William the Conqueror and the site of the D-Day landings in 1944, Normandy nowadays has an impressive number of major sites that attract visitors all year round, starting with the very famous Mont Saint-Michel and its prestigious Benedictine abbey, the iconic Château-Gaillard, the Gothic cathedral of Coutances, the medieval city of Bayeux, the Cities of Art and History of Caen and Rouen, the chic resorts of Deauville and Bagnoles-de-l’Orne, the magnificent gardens of Monet, the charming village of Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei or the elegant Carrouges Castle.

However, Normandy also offers a journey through the history of the Second World War, through the D-Day beaches, Le Hoc headland, the Caen Memorial and the many museums devoted to this period.

Finally, charming places like Étretat, Fécamp or Honfleur, which won over the Impressionists in the 19th century, are still just as appealing as ever.

Pays de Loire

Opening onto the Atlantic Ocean, with Europe’s last wild river running through it, the Pays de la Loire region offers a fascinatingly varied heritage. Vast and expansive, its scenery is very diverse and its attractions appeal to holidaymakers as well as lovers of fauna and flora. With 450 kilometres of coastline, made up of a series of superb sandy beaches, wild, rocky coasts and renowned seaside resorts such as La Baule, Les Sables-d’Olonne, Pornic and Saint-Jean-de-Monts, this highly prized destination in western France enchants fans of relaxation and sports and lovers of unspoilt landscapes in equal measure. Indeed, it’s hard to resist the charms of the wild coast or the Coast of Light, where you can enjoy the benefits of the beach or try your hand at water sports like windsurfing and kitesurfing. Off the coast, the magnificent islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier also offer some wonderful places for strolling and recharging your batteries.

In the countryside, the Pays de la Loire region is also loved by walkers and architecture enthusiasts, with the banks of the famous royal river adorned by sumptuous castles, the Poitevin Marsh offering romantic boat rides, megalithic remains, the Cities of Art and History of Angers, Laval, Nantes and Le Mans, as well as the regional nature parks of Brière, Loire-Anjou-Touraine and Normandy-Maine, all three containing countless hiking trails.

Steeped in history and boasting an impressive built heritage, this vast area encompasses some of the famous Loire castles, like those of Angers and its famous tapestry of the Apocalypse, Brissac, Le Lude, Montreuil-Bellay, Montsoreau, Saumur or Serrant.

A lively place all year round, the Pays de la Loire region also hosts major events like the Hellfest in Clisson, a big metal music festival, the 24 Heures du Mans, a legendary sports car endurance race, and the Vendée Globe, a famous round-the-world solo sailing race that takes place every four years.

Brittany

Brittany is a land rich in contrasts, made up of the four departments of Finistère, Côtes-d’Armor, Ille-Et-Villaine and Morbihan. It is steeped in history and tradition and is proud of its strong maritime culture. A favoured holiday destination for the French and Brits, it’s 600 km of fine, sandy coastline curves around the north western tip of France, enclosing 27,500 sq. km of fertile countryside and quaint market towns. The Breton people are hardy, down to earth and friendly. They remain close to the land, the sea and their culture. Breton is still spoken in a few areas and local traditions are upheld at the many lively festivals and fest noz of the summer months.

Known by the Celts as Armorica, “land of the sea”, Brittany has a long and lively past. Prehistoric megaliths (standing stones) rise up from the ground around Carnac and it is said that young King Arthur received the sword of Excalibur from the fairy Vivian in the Paimpont Forest, 40 km south of Rennes. Half-timbered buildings characterize the bustling, medieval towns of Vannes, Dinan and Rennes, while the castles and fortresses of St. Malo, Fougères and Vitré bear witness to Brittany’s strategic location. The region’s beauty has attracted many artists and the lovely town of Pont-Aven is lined with galleries showing works of painters past and present.

From cornfield to oyster bed, woodland walk to long sandy beach, modern shipping port to charming, historical town, there is something for everyone in this varied and dynamic region. Rennes, situated in Ille-et-Villaine, has been Brittany’s capital since the 16th century. Home to the Breton houses of parliament, it is a hive of cultural activity, nurtured by the large student population. The Côtes-d’Armor on the northern shore is lined with seaside resorts, pink granite coves and traditional fishing ports. Morbihan, on the southern coast is backed by wooded river valleys and has a gentler feel and a milder climate. Exposed to the rough Atlantic winds, Finistère in the west has drama. The name aptly means “the end of the earth”.

The region is known for its excellent seafood (Concarneau is particularly famous for its oysters and mussels which are brought straight up from the shoreline beds), sweet crepes and savoury buckwheat pancakes, cider, “galettes” biscuits and buttery Kouign Amman cake. It offers a wide variety of sports including sailing, windsurfing, fishing, golf, hiking, mountain biking and horse riding.

Brittany is a land of spirit and character where history, art, culture and nature live side by side with all today’s modern services. Shopping is always close by and plentiful. Traveling is fast and easy – Paris is only 2 hours by train from Rennes, ferries run from two ports to the UK and there is a very good network of free dual carriageways.

Discover the delights of this beautiful region, so diverse and rich in contrasts