Occupying a peninsula in the northwestern corner of France, Brittany is an outlying region with a real sense of separateness from the rest of the country thanks to its strong Celtic heritage.
The area derives it name from the Dark Age Britons who migrated to the area as they fled the Anglo Saxon invaders who were pushing the Celtic peoples further and further west. Brittany has strong linguistic and cultural connections with Wales and in particular, Cornwall; indeed, the western-most province of Brittany is called Counuaille.
The historical territory of Brittany is currently divided between two French administrative units – the region of Brittany itself and the area to the south, which is now in the Loire Atlantique département.
Together they make up what is known as ‘historical Brittany’, covering more than 13,000 square miles and home to some 4.6 million people.
Being a peninsula, the sea dominates much of the imagery of the region. Bordered to the north by the English Channel and to the south by the Bay of Biscay, cliffs, beaches and islands are popular destinations for visitors.
A trip to Brittany is very much an outdoor experience and many travel to the coastal areas to enjoy surfing, windsurfing, kayaking and sailing.
Those seeking the real Celtic experience should head to Finistère, the westernmost point of continental France. Translated as ‘Land’s End’, it shares its name with the point at Cornwall's furthest extremity and is the stronghold of the Breton language. It has the strongest connections to the Celtic countries across the English Channel to the north.
Finistere’s Parc d’Armorique, a 425,000 acre national park, is rich in Celtic fairy tales and if you want to go even further back in time, there are a large number of standing stones and burial mounds scattered across the park.
It’s also worth leaving the coast to explore inland Brittany. At Monts-d’Arrée, Brittany reaches its highest point, surrounded by characteristic peat bogs and stretches of empty moorland.
You could say this historically poor area is the ‘real’ Brittany. At the other extreme, the chateaus, castles and walled citadel towns spread throughout the area reflect wealth and prosperity. One thing that’s never in short supply in Brittany is variety.
Breton Tourism - https://www.brittanytourism.com/
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