Brittany – Breizh

Welcome to Brittany - coat-of-arms
Welcome to Brittany – coat-of-arms

Brittany is one of the 13 administrative regions of France and is located in Western France.

It includes 4 departments:

Finistère (29 – prefecture Quimper), Côtes d’Armor (22 – prefecture Saint-Brieuc), Morbihan (56 – prefecture Vannes) and Ille-et-Vilaine (35 – Rennes); Loire Atlantique (44) in the south, is part of the historic Brittany, as its prefecture Nantes was the capital of the Dukes of Brittany.

It is divided in Haute Bretagne – Upper Brittany where people speak Gallo (French), and Basse Bretagne – Lower Brittany or Bretagne Bretonnante, the traditional Breton or Gallic speaking area.

Brittany is a gigantic peninsula that delimits the Channel from the Atlantic Ocean.

Its rugged coasts extend over 2,700 km, a third of France’s coastline, and are dotted with nearly 800 islands and islets.

and has an oceanic climate with regular yet light drizzle locally known as crachin Breton.

Northern Brittany is, however, exposed to a northwest wind, known as Noroît in French and Gwalarn in Gallic.

The only elevated regions are the Monts d’Arée and the Montagne Noires in the south.

Inland Brittany is therefore a green and rural country.

Agriculture and food processing industries are the main sectors of its economy.

The region has 7 airports (including 4 international): Brest, Rennes, St Malo-Dinard and Lorient-Lann- Bihoué).

Historical facts

Brittany is the core area of Western Europe megalithic culture.

It is the land of the mysterious megaliths alignments whose origin remains unknown; the most famous are in Carnac.

The region’s ‘modern’ history began 15 centuries ago, when the inhabitants of ancient Britania immigrated to Armorica to escape the Germanic invasions.

Brittany or Breizh in Gallic is one of the six Celtic Nations, proud, independent and faithful to its cultural heritage.

The Duché de Bretagne was founded in the 10th century and boasted a geographical situation of prime importance.

The kings of France and England fought over it over during the Hundred Years War.

However, the duchy remained under the control of the powerful feudal Breton dynasties throughout the Middle Ages.

The duchy was eventually reunited to the French Crown through the marriage of Anne de Bretagne to Louis XII, one of the most significant political alliances in French history.

Brittany remained faithful to its monarchist convictions during the turmoil of the French Revolution.

It was, however, forced to abandon its cultural identity in the late 19th century, but has since succeeded in reviving its Celtic heritage.


It vast coastal region stretches from the mouth of the river Loire to the southern bank of the Baie du Mont Saint-Michel; it accounts for a third of France’s coastline.

Nearly 800 islands and islets are scattered off its shore.

Part of this coastline is a wild and untamed land of rocks, rugged coasts where earth and sea meet, a land swept by the winds and the sea spray.

It is also bordered with stunning harbours such as the affluent fortress of Saint-Malo.

You’ll also find fishing ports such as Cancale, the Breton capital of oysters.

Trendy seaside resorts such as Dinard on the Côte d’Emeraude or Perros-Guirec on the Côte de Granite Rose, attract millions of tourist each year.

Brittany or Argoat ‘the wooded country’, inland, is a land of moors and mysterious forests inhabited by fairies and legendary heroes.

The magical Forest of Brocéliande (Forêt de Paimpont) is the setting of the Arthurian legend, the domain of Merlin the Wizard, the Fairy Vivian and Morgan le Fay.

The region’s exceptional architectural heritage includes among others stunning medieval walled cities such as Dinan, Dol-de-Bretagne and Vannes.

You’ll discover also the historical cities of Brest, Lamballe, Quimper or Rennes.

The region’s natural beauty and many archaeological, legendary and historical sites therefore sustain a thriving tourism.

Area: 27,208km2
Population: 3,273.343 (01/01/2014)

Photo via Wikimedia Commons: Brittany’s coat of arms Public domain

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