- Midi Pyrénées
This part of France is a land of mystery and magic, featuring some of the most rugged coastline with numerous bays, inlets and islands. Brittany is France’s westernmost region, closest in proximity to Britain. It was originally named Amorica which is the Celtic word for “seaside” but after the fall of the Roman Empire, more Celts from Britain sailed over the channel and settled on French territory, the reason for the region’s current name. The North coast is more rustic marked by reefs and cliffs, whereas the South coast is smoother, which is why it has more salt marshes and bays.
The region’s capital, the city of Rennes, is located inland and is the cultural centre of the region. Its university is the centre of Celtic studies. About a quarter of the population here can speak Breton, which is a Celtic language similar to Welsh and Cornish. With the Bretons being traditional fishermen, the seafood here is excellent, as are their crêpes and artichokes.
To the south of the region is one of the most mysterious monuments of France: the alignments of Carnac, an arrangement of dolmens or vertical stones of enigmatic origin. But the region’s most famous attraction is Mont Saint-Michel, a medieval city perched high on a rocky island. Enclosed on all sides by the rough sea, UNESCO has declared the city a World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site.
The region’s extensive coastline is ideal for those who love water sports; anything from sailing, rowing, canoeing to surfing and sand yachting can be enjoyed here. Those who prefer digging into the past can delight in the ruins and ancient landmarks of past cultures and generations, visiting the museums, medieval towns, and wondering at the menhirs and dolmens.