Castles & forts

The last standing châteaux

Brittany’s shores bristle with defensive castles and forts as its long tracts of coast were vulnerable to invaders. But now these places, some in ruin, some still lovingly maintained, are assailed for their beauty. You can visit a whole host of Breton castles and manors inland too – you can even stay in some, converted into hotels or B&Bs.

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Castles on the sand 

Medieval lords ordered some of Brittany’s most spectacular castles to be built virtually on the beach. The Breton dukes’ Château de Suscinio was made for hunting rather than swimming; Fort La Latte on its wild northern promontory is the most dramatic of Breton coastal castles. As to the Château du Taureau, this stunning fort on its island beyond Morlaix went up to keep the English out; now you’re welcome to visit it… by boat only. Highly picturesque castle ruins still guard certain coastal estuaries, such as Le Guildo, although nearby La Hunaudaye has been boldy restored.

Breton big wigs 

Brittany’s main lordly families are still recalled in the finest inland castles and splendid châteaux like Josselin and Rosanbo have remained in powerful Breton dynasties, but are open to the public. There are many other cheerful family-run castles, such as La Bourbansais or Bienassis, and others still that are run by county authorities, such as the Château de Kerjean, devoted to Breton culture. A string of castles between St-Malo and Rennes are closely linked with major historic figures.

Manors and malouinières 

One or two rungs down the social order, the lesser nobles’ manors can be very attractive. A number are now appealing hotels, others museums, such as those of Kerazan and Kernault in southern Finistère. You can visit certain of the soberly grand country houses, or malouinières, that the richest merchants of St-Malo built outside town.

Find out more about Castles and Forts to visit in Brittany.

Did you know?

Louis XIV’s genius of an engineer, Vauban, helped draw up sensational coastal citadels around Brittany, from St-Malo to Belle-Île, via Camaret.

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