Located in the northwestern corner of France, Brittany lies between Normandy and Pays de la Loire while facing the Atlantic Ocean. A picturesque coastline, tranquil beaches and turquoise waters – all over enticing reasons to visit the beauty of the so-called Emerald Coast. Quaint villages such as St. Malo, the city of corsairs; Dinard, with its beautiful Belle Epoque villas; and Dinan, the well-preserved medieval town, add to the charm of the region of Brittany. When adding the St. Malo land program to our new for 2021 Impressions of the Seine & Paris itinerary, you can admire all three villages and enjoy a closer look into Brittany.
Unlocking The Origin and History
History can only tell the true meaning behind the origin of the name Brittany, or Bretagne. During the Dark Ages, the Celtic Britons sought refuge from the Anglo-Saxon invaders by crossing the English Channel and fleeing from Great Britain to northwestern France. Together, the unique characteristics of Brittany’s historic provinces and distinctive Celtic heritage continue to tell the story behind their Breton culture.
A Gateway into Breton Culture
Medieval towns with their prominent Celtic heritage open the path to share their unique identity with the world. Locals, or les Bretons, proudly display their Celtic roots and beautiful traditions through their historic sites, cuisine, folk music and festivals.
Marks of their heritage can be discovered throughout the region. The legendary Carnac stones, built in pre-Celtic times, remain as a puzzling mystery for architects and even locals as there is no actual explanation for their purpose. Several thousands of standing megalith stones surround the village, the largest collection of such in the world. After adding your post-river cruise land program, you can explore a major historical site in Brittany, the Château de Fougères. Before reaching St. Malo, you will be treated to a visit to this 12th-century medieval fortress, known for its 13 towers rebuilt in stone.
Unexpected Breton Delights
Brittany’s famous salted butter brings unexpected discoveries to taste and delight from the region’s iconic salted caramel butter candies to its traditional buckwheat crêpes and hearty Kouign-amann pastry dish. Originating in the 19th century, this famous Breton cake simply translates as two words: cake and butter, and it swiftly rose in popularity throughout France. Where else can one find delicious flaky layers of sugar and butter in a refined cake-like pastry? Of course, everywhere in Europe will have their own version but Brittany takes it one delightful step further with its renowned salted butter.