Flora and fauna

From algae to wild boar

Obélix found boar under every Breton bush and they still wander freely, even if wolves don’t. On the farm, the carthorse was the most important animal, until replaced by the tractor while bird watchers are in for a treat on the coast. Spot marine creatures in the sea, but also in Brittany’s many aquaria and as for Breton flora, it can prove surprisingly exotic, on land and underwater.

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A canter through the Breton animal world 

Admire Breton steeds at Lamballe and Hennebont’s smart studs; some farms offer horse and carriage rides. Corlay has a Maison du Cheval, one of several visitor centres devoted to a particular animal – Callac’s covers Breton spaniels and learn all about bats at Kernascléden. Marine birds are common, although Les Sept Iles harbour rarities such as puffins. Branféré has a reputed zoo, and that at Trégomeur has been updated; others include those at La Bourbansais and Pont-Scorff.

Exotic imports 

Heathland bright with yellow gorse or purple heather is typically Breton. However, imported exotic plants have thrived thanks to the mild climate – visit remarkable gardens at Roscoff, the islands Batz and Bréhat, or Brest for proof. Châteaux such as La Foltière, La Roche-Jagu or Trévarez have some of the prettiest grounds and the village of La Gacilly is home to the Végétarium, showcasing the plant world. The dunes encourage a rich variety of special plants and as for algae, you’ll encounter a lot on Breton shores; there are several centres on the subject in Finistère.

Unearthing sea creatures! 

Sea creatures aren’t always easy to spot but fear not, as Brittany has superb aquaria, from slick ones at Audierne, St-Malo or Vannes to more educational ones at Brest or Concarneau. Trégastel’s aquarium boasts the most spectacular setting and seals, dolphins and otters live free, out in secretive corners. More accessible is the profusion of sea creatures you can uncover in any Breton rock pool.

Did you know ?

Ouessant’s rare, diminutive black sheep can be spotted in just a few places beyond the island.

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