The Rough Guide to Brittany & Normandy (Travel Guide eBook)
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334 pages

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The Rough Guide to Brittany and Normandy

Make the most of your time on Earth with the ultimate travel guides.
World-renowned 'tell it like it is' travel guide.

Discover Brittany and Normandy with this comprehensive and entertaining travel guide, packed with practical information and honest recommendations by our independent experts. Whether you plan to explore the Gardens at Giverny, hike the Côte de Granit de Rose or sample the region's delicious oysters, The Rough Guide to Brittany and Normandy will help you discover the best places to explore, eat, drink, shop and sleep along the way.

Features of this travel guide to Brittany and Normandy:
Detailed regional coverage: provides practical information for every kind of trip, from off-the-beaten-track adventures to chilled-out breaks in popular tourist areas
Honest and independent reviews: written with Rough Guides' trademark blend of humour, honesty and expertise, our writers will help you make the most from your trip to Brittany and Normandy
Meticulous mapping: practical full-colour maps, with clearly numbered, colour-coded keys. Find your way around Nantes, St-Malo and many more locations without needing to get online
Fabulous full-colour photography: features inspirational colour photography, including including Mont St Michel and Honfleur
- Time-saving itineraries: carefully planned routes will help inspire and inform your on-the-road experiences
Things not to miss: Rough Guides' rundown of the best sights and top experiences to be found in Rennes, Rouen, the Pays d'Auge and Finistère 
Travel tips and info: packed with essential pre-departure information including getting around, accommodation, food and drink, health, the media, festivals, sports and outdoor activities, culture and etiquette, shopping and more
Background information: comprehensive 'Contexts' chapter provides fascinating insights into Brittany and Normandy, with coverage of history, religion, ethnic groups, environment, wildlife and books, plus a handy language section and glossary
Covers: Seine-Maritime; The Lower Normandy Coast; Inland Normandy; The North Coast and Rennes; Finistère; Inland Brittany: The Nantes-Brest Canal; The South Coast

You may also be interested in: The Rough Guide to Provence & the Côte d'Azur, The Rough Guide to Dordogne & the Lot, The Rough Guide to Languedoc & Roussillon

About Rough Guides: Rough Guides have been inspiring travellers for over 35 years, with over 30 million copies sold globally. Synonymous with practical travel tips, quality writing and a trustworthy 'tell it like it is' ethos, the Rough Guides list includes more than 260 travel guides to 120+ destinations, gift-books and phrasebooks.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 janvier 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781789196559
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 35 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0034€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Jason Langley/AWL Images
Where to go
When to go
Author picks
Things not to miss
Tailor-made trips
Getting there
Getting around
Food and drink
The media
Festivals and events
Travel essentials
1 Seine-Maritime
2 The Lower Normandy Coast
3 Inland Normandy
4 The North Coast and Rennes
5 Finistère
6 Inland Brittany: The Nantes–Brest Canal
7 The South Coast
Breton music
Getty Images
Introduction to
Brittany & Normandy
Each quintessentially French yet cherishing its own unique identity, Brittany and Normandy rank among the most intriguing and distinctive regions of France. Exploring either or both offers visitors a wonderful opportunity to experience the best the country has to offer: sheltered white-sand beaches and wild rugged coastlines; mighty medieval fortresses and mysterious megaliths; graceful Gothic cathedrals and breathtaking contemporary architecture; heathland studded with wildflowers and deep ancient forests. Best of all, perhaps, there’s the compelling and exuberant cuisine, from the seafood extravaganzas in countless little ports to the rich pungent cheeses of rural Normandy.
Both provinces are ideal for cycle touring, with superb scenery yet short distances between each town and the next, so you’re never too far from the next hotel, restaurant or market. Otherwise, a car is the best alternative; public transport options tend to be very limited.
Where to go
Long a favourite with French and foreign tourists alike, Brittany is known above all for its glorious beaches . Here stretching languidly in front of elegant resorts, there nestled into isolated crescent coves, they invite endless days of relaxation. The Breton coastline winds its way around so many bays, peninsulas and river estuaries that it makes up over a third of the total seaboard of France, so it’s always possible to find a strand to yourself, or to walk alone with the elements. The finest beaches of all tend to be along the more sheltered southern coast, all the way from Bénodet and Le Fôret-Fouesnant in the west, past the Gulf of Morbihan , and down to La Baule near the mouth of the Loire, but there are also plenty of wonderful spots tucked into the exposed Atlantic headlands of Finistère , or amid the extraordinary red rocks of the Côte de Granît Rose in the north.
As well as exploring the mainland resorts and seaside villages – each of which, from ports the size of St-Malo or Vannes down to lesser-known communities such as Erquy or Ploumanac’h , can be relied upon to offer at least one welcoming hotel or restaurant – be sure to take a boat trip out to one or more of Brittany’s islands . Magical Bréhat is just a ten-minute crossing from the north coast near Paimpol, while historic Belle-Île , to the south, is under an hour from Quiberon. Other islands are set aside as bird sanctuaries, while off Finistère, Ouessant , Molène and Sein are remote, strange and utterly compelling.
Brittany was the “Little Britain” of King Arthur’s realm – Petite Bretagne, as opposed to Grande Bretagne – and an otherworldly element still seems entrenched in the land and people. That’s especially apparent in inland Brittany , where the moors and woodlands are the very stuff of legend, with the forests of Huelgoat and Paimpont in particular being identified with the tales of Merlin, the Fisher King and the Holy Grail. Modern Brittany, though, also holds the vibrant modern cities of Rennes , noteworthy for its superb music festivals, and its former capital Nantes , where the amazing steampunk contraptions known as the Machines de l’Île should not be missed.
Normandy has a less harsh appearance and a more mainstream, prosperous history. It too is a seaboard province, first colonized by Norsemen and then colonizing in turn; during the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the likes of William the Conqueror exported the ruthless Norman formula to England, Sicily and parts of the Near East, while centuries later Norman seafarers established the French foothold in Canada. Normandy has always boasted large-scale ports : Rouen, on the Seine, is as near as ships can get to Paris, while Dieppe, Cherbourg and Le Havre have important transatlantic trade. Inland , it is a wonderfully fertile belt of tranquil pastureland, where most visitors head straight for the restaurants of the Pays d’Auge and the Suisse Normande.

Thanks to the wealth accrued by its warriors, Normandy can boast some of the most imposing and resplendent church architecture in France – the Gothic cathedrals of Coutances , Bayeux and Rouen , and the monasteries of Mont-St-Michel and Jumièges .
In Brittany, by contrast, it’s often the tiny rural chapels and roadside crosses that are the most intriguing. Breton Catholicism has always had an idiosyncratic twist, incorporating Celtic, Druidic, and possibly prehistoric elements. Though hundreds of its saints have never been approved by the Vatican, their brightly painted wooden figures adorn every church, along with skeletal statues of death’s workmate, Ankou , and their stories merge with tales of moving menhirs, ghosts and sorcery. Noteworthy village churches include those of Kermaria-an-Isquit and Kernascléden , both of which hold frescoes of the Dance of Death , and the enclos paroissiaux or “parish closes” of Finistère, where the proximity of the dead to the living seems to echo the beliefs of the megalith builders.


FACT FILE The terms Normandy and Brittany remain in constant use, although the regions’ original boundaries are no longer recognized in law. Normandy is officially split between Haute Normandie (Upper Normandy) and Basse Normandie (Lower Normandy), which together cover just under 30,000 square kilometres, and are home to 3.5 million people. Although Brittany – Bretagne – officially excludes its historic capital, Nantes, and the département of Loire-Atlantique, Bretons still consider them part of a region totalling 34,000 square kilometres, with a population of 4.5 million. French is used everywhere, but 210,000 people still speak Breton , 35,000 of them daily. Historically there were many distinct dialects of Breton, while Gallo , a non-Celtic language spoken by the Normans who conquered England, survives in both Normandy and Brittany. Famous Normans Christian Dior (1905–57); Gustave Flaubert (1821–80); William the Conqueror (1028–87). Famous Bretons Sarah Bernhardt (1844–1923); Jack Kerouac (1922–69); Sir Lancelot (dates unknown); Jules Verne (1828–1905). While Normandy is famous for cheeses such as Camembert, Pont l’Evêque and Livarot, Brittany produces no cheese. Why? Exempt from French salt taxes, Bretons could preserve butter without needing to make cheese. Evidence of Brittany’s Celtic traditions range from bagpipes ( biniou ) to the leprechaun-like sprites known as korrigans .
The pleasures of Normandy are perhaps less intense than those of Brittany, but it too has its fair share of beaches , ranging from the shelving shingle of pretty Étretat to the vast sandy swathes that line the western Cotentin peninsula . Sedate nineteenth-century resorts like Trouville and Houlgate have their own considerable charms, but it’s the delightful ancient ports like Honfleur and Barfleur that are most likely to capture your heart, and numerous coastal villages remain unspoiled by crowds or affectations. Lovely little towns lie tucked away within 20km of each of the major Channel ports – the headlands near Cherbourg are among the best, and least explored, areas – while the banks of the Seine , too, hold several idyllic resorts.
Normandy also boasts extraordinary architectural treasures, although only its much-restored traditional capital, Rouen , has preserved a complete medieval centre. The absolute jewel of the region is the abbey of Mont-St-Michel , which over the course of several centuries became so closely moulded to its tiny island home that the entire island now seems like a single stunningly integrated building. Jumièges and Caen hold further monasteries, while Richard the Lionheart’s castle towers above the Seine at Les Andelys, and Bayeux , in addition to its vivid and astonishing Tapestry , holds a majestic cathedral. Many other great Norman buildings survived into the twentieth century, only to be destroyed during the D-Day landings of 1944 and the subsequent Battle of Normandy , which has its own legacy in a series of war museums, memorials and cemeteries. While hardly conventional tourist attractions, as part of the fabric of the province these are moving and enlightening.

< Back to Intro
When to go
Every French town or district seems to promote its own micro-climat , maintaining that some meteorological freak makes it milder or balmier than its neighbours. On the whole, however, Normandy and Brittany follow a broadly set pattern. Summer , more reliable than in Britain, starts around mid-June and can last through to mid-October. Spring and autumn are mild but sporadically wet. If you come for a week in April or November, it could be spoiled by rain, though rainy spells seldom last more than a couple of days. Winter is not too severe, though in western Brittany especially the coast can be damp and very misty.
Sea temperatures ,

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