Despite being heavily bombed in August 1944, as German troops stuck doggedly to the area around their Lorient naval base, Hennebont underwent a remarkable revival after the war and has been declared a Cité d’Art et d’Histoire. Now it celebrates both its historic, industrial and horsey sides, while you can embark from here on boat trips as far as the Isle of Groix.
Begin appreciating the medieval legacy by admiring the main gateway, the 14th-century Porte Broërec’h, flanked by two massive towers. These defences reflect what a fought-over site Hennebont occupied. Learn more of the town’s turbulent history at the museum contained within the gateway. As for the huge mouth of the central church, it tries to swallow you up as you pass by. Hennebont’s Thursday markets are joyously traditional, and in July the place hosts a major medieval fair, with tournaments recalling daring-do of past ages.