Historic Towns & Villages
Josselin is a beautiful town boasting a stunning medieval castle open to the public (click here for details) nestling by the banks of the river Oust. Take a stroll around the towns narrow medieval streets and admire the half timbered old houses dating back to 1538. The main hub of activity is the pretty town square with its many restaurants and cafes overlooking the Basilica Notre Dame du Roncier. Why not enjoy a meal at one of the following: La Table d'Or (a cosy & casual restaurant with outdoor seating), La Sarrazine (a crêperie fantastic for lunch), Le Prieuré de Clisson (restaurant) or the Pizzeria du Château,. For the best views around climb to the top of the bell tower and enjoy the stunning panorama. Hire a canoe or pedalo for a leisurely ride on the river in front of the fairytale castle. In mid-July the town is closed off for a three day medieval festival with jugglers, jousting, knights spit roasts and even an open air cinema.
Quimper is beautiful, regarded as the cultural heart of Brittany with its Gothic Cathedral, atmospheric old quarter with incredible architecture including half timbered houses dating back to the 14th century, ancient history museums and annual festivals of Breton culture in July. Why not take a boat trip along the Odet, generally regarded as Brittany's prettiest river and see the little bridges decked in geraniums, then sit awhile in a cafe bar or creperie and soak up the atmosphere.
Vannes - the walled town with a harbour, where boat trips run around the Gulf de Morbihan. It has a medieval old town with back streets of cobbled alleyways, incredibly coloured and half timbered buildings housing good restaurants and quaint shops. Set in the midst is the Cathedral, well worth a visit then walk along the ramparts and look over into the wonderful French style gardens before relaxing on the terrace of a cafe overlooking the marina to unwind with a quiet drink. Vannes also has an excellent twice weekly market, on Wednesdays and Saturdays - one of the best in Brittany, is famous for its Jazz festival in the summer and has an aquarium and butterfly glass dome which the kids will love.
Rochforte-en-Terre has been awarded the title of one of France's most beautiful villages. It has a Chateau, ramparts and lovely old houses all decked with flowers. There is a lively vibe here with art and craft galleries and Artisan workshops, cafes and restaurants.
Concarneau has beautiful sandy beaches and is a popular resort. As well as being France's third most important fishing port it has a very impressive harbour and its main point of interest is the quaint Ville Close or Walled Town. In August, Concarneau hosts the Filets Bleus festival. This traditional Breton festival gives town residents a chance to dress up in period costumes and allows tourists to learn about the local culture. The festival includes a parade, dancing, and games that are unique to the region.
Pont Aven is a gorgeous village where the river rushes down over the huge boulders into the harbour. It is famous for its butter biscuits known as 'Galettes' but you will also find plenty of other sweet treats and Breton specialities ready and waiting in the shops and in the market stalls (on a Tuesday morning). There are lots of interesting shops, interior design offering ideas for the home from modern furniture to unusual accessories and original artwork and unique crafts, as well as traditional jewellery and hand crafted pieces from recognised brands to local designers. There are also a number of restaurants and art galleries and the village is famous for its association with the post-impressionist painter Paul Gauguin and indeed today many artists still live and work in Pont Aven.
Auray is a charming town with cobbled streets and historic half-timbered houses, known particularly for its extremely picturesque harbour, Saint Goustan where you will find some very good restaurants. The old town has lots of shops and an excellent market on Monday mornings for food lovers. There are regular book and craft fairs and an annual oyster festival in September that takes place along the quays.
Huelgoat is a pretty and magical town which has a few bars with terraces beside the lake and you will find a number of galleries and pottery shops on the street above, while a traditional main square overseen by the church also has bars and creperies to tempt you in. If you fancy a walk head to the towns pretty lake marked by the extremely picturesque Moulin du Chaos by the bridge. From the mill, follow the Sentier Pittoresque into the extraordinary deeply dappled valley.
Locronan is situated on the west coast just 5 minutes from the sea and less than an hour and half away and is recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in France. Since 1924 it has been classified as a historic monument. The village takes you on a stunning step back in time, its Renaissance granite houses which are so well preserved, have stunning architecture. The cobblestone streets lead you to a large square, at its centre an ancient well. On all sides houses dating from the 17th & 18th centuries. Also here you will see the impressive large vaulted church of Saint Ronan which dates back to the 15th century. There are numerous small shops, artisan boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and cafes along the streets and in the square. There is also The museum of art and history. Locronan tourist office has a leaflet with map which suggests the best routes to follow as you explore so you miss nothing. Many craftsmen and artisans have made their home here and markets here are amazing especially over Christmas when this small town of character shines with millions of festive lights, there are daily markets, parades and shows.
Carhaix-Plouguer invites you to wander its pretty old streets with carved timber buildings. Built around two main squares where you will find bars and restaurants aplenty alongside boutique shops. However, its real claim to fame is the European Festival Vieilles Charrues or the 'Old Plough' which hosts some of the biggest names in international music. Held annually in July with some 230,000 visitors, this years concert runs from the 18th to the 21st July 2019. Click here for details of the 2019 festival