Location of Brittany within France
The coast at Quiberon, Brittany
Place de la République in Rennes, Brittany
Boats in the harbour at St Malo, Brittany

Brittany (French: Bretagne, Breton: Breizh) is a diverse region of northwestern France.


The region is subdivided into four administrative départements:


Other destinations

Breton islands:


Breton flag

Brittany received its modern name when it was settled (in around 500 AD) by Britons, whom the Anglo-Saxons had driven from Britain. Breton history is one long struggle for independence — first from the Franks (5th–9th century), then the Counts of Anjou and the Dukes of Normandy (10th–12th century), and finally from England and France.

The Breton people maintain a fierce sense of independence to this day, as displayed by their local customs and traditions.

In the past 5 years or so a resurgence of the regional identity has happened in France. Breton art, music and culture are recognized across the nation.


Being a part of France, French is universally spoken and understood by almost all locals in Brittany. Many people also speak the regional Breton language, a Celtic language more closely related to Scottish Gaelic, Irish and Welsh than to French. While France tried to discourage the use of regional languages, their use is rebounding, bringing a stronger understanding of culture, contributions, and history. Through the local efforts of the Bretons and their DIWAN (Breton language schools), children are being taught in the native language while they learn standard curriculum. The DIWAN schools are supported by worldwide efforts through various groups, including the International Committee for the Defense of the Breton Language.

Due to its proximity to the UK, many people working in the tourism industry can also speak English.

Get in

By ferry

Brittany Ferries operates the following regular services:

By plane

There are airports in:

The airport in Nantes may also be used along the southern coast or Rennes to/from other European airports and for some transatlantic flights.

By train

The TGV train runs almost hourly from Paris Montparnasse to Rennes, Brest, Quimper and Saint-Malo. SNCF website

Regional trains also link Rennes to Nantes (via Redon) and Saint-Malo or Dinard.

By car

The A11, the Océane Route, links Brittany to Paris. A dual carriageway runs from Rennes to Nantes, and there is a motorway from Nantes to Bordeaux.

By bus

SNCF offers bus services from all major rail stations in Brittany.

Get around

In Brittany, all roads are free (no tolls).





Stay safe

When swimming in the sea, watch out for rips and undercurrents. Be mindful that the tide can come at a very fast pace so watch out or you might be stranded on an outlying island! Check the tides (marées) in your local tourist office. Ask for a table of the tides.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 30, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.