10 great ideas for enjoying the seaside
The Armor region is "the land by the sea', full of attractions and curiosities not to be missed. Come and recharge your batteries with a seaside holiday and enjoy the power of the waves and sea-spray.
Vast stretches of fine sand
The Armor region, the land by the sea, makes up 2,800 kilometres of Brittany’s coastline between the Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. Because of their different exposures to winds and sea-currents, Brittany’s beaches vary widely, with something to suit everyone: some beaches are great for lazing about, while others are perfect for getting sporty. Everyone can find their ideal spot, ranging from the villas and beach-huts of Dinard to the dunes and breakwaters of Erdeven.
To find out more: Beaches
The really high tides provide an unmissable natural display in Brittany around the time of the equinoxes. Twice a day the sea tirelessly rolls and unrolls its carpet of foam across the shore. When the tide's in, the fury of the waves as they shatter on the rocks will really make an impression. At low tide, it’s time for collecting shellfish and taking home your catch to cook for the family.
To find out more: www.grandes-marees.com
Chasse-marée, sinagot, goélette, bisquine – these are the highly evocative names for types of old sailing-boats found off Brittany’s shores. You can watch these treasures of maritime heritage in graceful action at the legendary gatherings in Brest and Douarnenez in 2012. While you're waiting, take a trip on one of the famous local ships, either the "Recouvrance', the symbol of Brest, or Robert Surcouf’s "Renard" from Saint-Malo.
To find out more : Traditional sailing ships
The Sept-Iles, a paradise for sea birds
Set off from Perros-Guirec on a boat heading for the Sept-Iles archipelago (Seven Islands), home to the oldest ornithological reserve in France, with more than 20,000 sea birds. Using binoculars you'll be able to watch the only French colony of gannets, lots of guillemots, razorbills, gulls, cormorants and puffins and, if you're lucky, maybe one of the 30 grey seals that have taken up residence here.
To find out more: Vedettes de Perros-Guirec
Enjoy the marinas
The 2,500 kilometres of Brittany’s coastline are studded with marinas. Sailboats, motor-boats, multi-hulled vessels and small pleasure launches are moored side by side in Brittany’s largest marinas at Le Crouesty, Perros-Guirec, La Trinité-sur-Mer, La Forêt-Fouesnant and many more. In the homeland of Eric Tabarly and Olivier Kersauson, get a taste of the world of sailing by having a drink at the yacht club and strolling along the pontoons to the sound of the halyards clinking against the masts.
To find out more: www.nautismebretagne.fr
The customs officers' footpath
The GR 34 long-distance coast path, known as the customs officers' path (sentier des douaniers) was created at the time of the French Revolution as a way of combating wreckers and smugglers. You can follow this route, which is 2,000 kilometres long, for a few days or just a few hours and enjoy the varied landscape of dunes, beaches, rocky headlands and inlets, all with one feature in common: the spectacle of the sea on the horizon.
To find out more: Hiking
The lighthouse route
Le Créac'h, Le Stiff, Le Four, Les Pierres Noires ... these are the legendary names of the sentinels that guard the coast of Brittany. If you take the lighthouse route, named after these famous structures, you'll follow the shoreline from Brest to the Les Abers area, across land and sea. Some of these 23 magnificent lighthouses, that safeguard shipping routes, are open to the public and offer a breath-taking view from the top of their dizzy heights.
To find out more: www.echappeesbretonnes.com/phares-finistere/
Sailing: the lure of the ocean
Do you want to feel the sea-spray on your face, to skip across the waves and enjoy the thrills of sailing? Then get out onto the water! Whether you’re a sailing fan or a complete beginner, you'll find something to suit you in one of the many sailing and watersports centres in Brittany. They cater for everything, from popular sports such as wind surfing and dinghy sailing to extreme adventures like kite-surfing, wave-skiing and wakeboarding. Go for it!.
To find out more: Seaside activities
Brittany, the place for thalassotherapy !
Head for the coast to restore your energy and vitality! Make sure you include thalassotherapy (seawater therapy) in your "Breton-style fitness regime', to enjoy the beauty of the coastal landscape combined with the benefits of seawater. Relaxing massages, seaweed wraps and tailor-made treatments are on offer at expert centres, where you'll soon shake off the stress and tiredness of daily life.
To find out more: http://wellness.brittanytourism.com/
When stones become fortresses
Brittany has a close connection with the name of Vauban, who left his mark on many coastal fortifications: the "Tour Vauban" in Camaret, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the "Fort National" at Saint-Malo, the citadels of Belle-Ile and Port-Louis, the Taureau fortress in Morlaix Bay, the Ville Close (walled town) in Concarneau, and Brest Castle. This military architecture, designed with remarkable ingenuity, owes its longevity to the celebrated saying: "When Vauban lays siege to a town, the town is taken; when Vauban defends a town, the town is impregnable".
To find out more: www.vauban.asso.fr