10 great ideas for enjoying our towns
Brittany’s towns and cities are exciting, charming and authentic all at the same time. If you’re on the lookout for cultural excursions and architectural discoveries, Brittany has more than enough to keep you happy every time you visit.
A shopping trip in Brittany’s cities
The cobbled streets and pedestrian areas of Brittany’s towns and cities are heaven for shopaholics - they're crammed with boutiques, well-known stores and specialist shops. Whether you’re in the wonderful Passage Pommeraye in Nantes, the teeming Rue Le Bastard in Rennes or around Saint Corentin’s Cathedral in Quimper, you’ll find it hard to resist temptation. The shop-windows, full of clothing, fashion accessories and decorations, are practically irresistible.
To find out more: Rennes, Nantes, Quimper
Museums: Brittany’s living memory
Departmental museums, art galleries and major cultural sites in Brittany’s main towns bring together the legacy of the region's collective memory through a range of artworks. Find out about archaeology, sculpture and photography, as well as discovering the different artistic movements that have played a part in the region’s history, such as the famous Pont-Aven School of painting. To keep up the public's interest, modern and contemporary works are shown alongside the permanent collections.
To find out more: Arts
Every day is market day!
On Thursdays, it’s in the Place Du Guesclin in Dinan, on Fridays, it’s in front of the Ville Close (walled town) in Concarneau, on Saturdays, it's in the Place des Lices in Rennes... every town has its own unmissable weekly market. It's a place to meet up and discover regional specialities. You’ll rub shoulders with producers and craftsmen who will happily let you sample their famous galette-saucisse, kouign-amann, organic fruit and vegetables, and help you to discover local crafts.
To find out more: www.marchedefrance.org
The Spa: a magic moment in the heart of the city
After an exhibition, a guided tour of the historic centre and a spot of window-shopping, you can enjoy a bit of pampering in a spa. A massage, beauty treatment or steam-bath is the perfect way to relax in the heart of the city. The combination of professional treatments and exotic perfumes will soon give you the energy boost you need to make the most of your city break.
To find out more: Wellness
Picturesque half-timbered houses
The half-timbered houses in the Bouffay district of Nantes or in the old parts of Rennes, in the Place des Merciers in Dinan or the Rue Kéréon in Quimper, add a bit of colour to the streets of these Towns of Art & History. They're often hidden away in pedestrian areas that are ideal for a quiet stroll. Just take your time gazing up at these character buildings, which are known in French as "colombages" or "encorbellement" houses.
To find out more: www.cites-art.com
The streets that know how to party!
Maybe because the landscape is so wild and untamed, Brittany is a warm and welcoming sort of place - and its many fêtes, festivals and concerts are an expression of that friendly spirit. Many towns on the peninsula have a "party" street: the Rue Saint Michel in Rennes, Rue de la Cordonnerie in Dinan, and Rue Jacques-Cartier in Saint-Malo... These are the streets where the city lights burn brightest, places to spend a night to remember.
To find out more: What's on
Enter Brittany, stage right!
With some 210 professional theatre companies, 70 street theatre companies and more than 30 contemporary dance companies, Brittany has a great reputation for creativity. As well as the many theatre and dance festivals, there are also some superb venues for stage performances: the National Theatre of Brittany in Rennes, the Rennes and Brittany National Choreographic Centre, the Brittany Centre for Dramatic Arts in Lorient and the Quartz in Brest.
To find out more: www.spectacle-vivant-Bretagne.fr
Top locations for gourmets
When you start getting hunger pangs, and you want to be sure of a really great meal, head for one of the restaurants labelled "Tables et Saveurs de Brittany" (Tables and Tastes of Brittany). These renowned gourmet restaurants serve up recipes that are really something special. Or try one of the "Restaurants du terroir" for an authentic take on the riches of Breton gastronomy, or the "Crêperies Gourmandes', which are the best places to taste Breton pancakes – a treat not to be missed.
To find out more: Restaurants