Occupying the north-west corner of France, Brittany is a popular region with British expats largely due to its close proximity to the UK. It is easy to travel to Brittany by ferry, which makes it a good option for Brits who want to start a new life in France while still retaining links to the UK. Bustling towns, medieval villages, a beautifully dramatic coastline and property prices below the average for France only serve to make it all the more appealing.
TOWNS AND VILLAGES
Brittany’s cities, towns and villages buzz with a sense of the region’s rich, storied past. The capital, Rennes, is a vibrant university city that thrives with a lively bar and café nightlife, while the cultural heart of the region is Quimper, the capital of Finistère. Best known for its Gothic cathedral and annual Festival de Cornouaille, Quimper is a charming town with cobbled streets filled with traditional shops and bakeries.
But for many people, moving to Brittany means being beside the seaside, and from the Petite Cité of Roscoff, full of boulangeries, craft shops and art galleries, half-timbered houses and granite cottages, to the walled town of Vannes where medieval streets give way to lots of lovely harbourside cafés, house-hunters looking for a home by the sea are spoilt for choice. The island village of Belle-Îleen-Mer with its pastel-coloured houses along the seafront is also a hidden gem.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Brittany is a playground for lovers of the great outdoors. The rugged Côte de Granit Rose that runs from Louannec to Plestin-les-Grèves boasts secret coves, scenic coastal walks and sandy beaches, and in Finistère’s ruggedly beautiful Pointe du Raz you can enjoy panoramic sea views on your walk along its clifftop paths that are bordered by wild flowers.
The region also has a number of islands just off its shores that are a haven for wildlife and exotic plants. Île de Batz has more than 2,000 exotic plants in the Jardin Georges Delaselle, while the Île de Groix in Morbihan is an exceptional nature reserve.
FOOD AND DRINK
You’re never far from a crêperie in Brittany. In fact, it can sometimes seem that the locals never tire of tucking into the wafer-thin pancakes. And why would they? Just about everything goes with this Breton favourite. The savoury buckwheat galettes are a popular main meal and whether you plump for the classic galette complète with eggs, cheese and ham, or the lighter nordique option of smoked salmon with crème fraîche, you’ll be craving a sweet-tasting second. Spread with caramel, layered with poached pears or drizzled with chocolate; the options are endless for these sweet treats.
With 2,800km of coastline, Brittany is a popular spot for seafood. Accounting for almost 80% of France’s shellfish production, the region is famous for oysters. Other seafood dishes typical of the area include soupe de poisson, a hearty shellfish broth with grated Gruyère cheese and bread croutons scattered on top and, of course, moulesfrites, the quintessential Breton dish.
In Brittany’s heartlands is an abundance of apple orchards, producing the key ingredient for the region’s cider. Add a dash of blackcurrant and you’ll have a traditional apéro, the kir Breton. Then just clink your ceramic bolée cup, wish everyone a hearty yec’hed mat (cheers in Breton) and enjoy.
The colourful harbourside of Brittany’s Belle-Île-en-Mer
This image: A traditional crêperie in Brittany Right: Moules-frites is a class Breton meal