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Brittany

Brittany

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Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united
Union between Brittany and France
In August 1532, King Francis I of France absorbed the independent Duchy of Brittany into the Kingdom of France. The union of Brittany and France was a step toward the unification of modern-day France.-Context:...

 to the Kingdom of France
Kingdom of France
The Kingdom of France was one of the most powerful states to exist in Europe during the second millennium.It originated from the Western portion of the Frankish empire, and consolidated significant power and influence over the next thousand years. Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, developed a...

 in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain (as opposed to Great Britain). It is characterized as one of the six Celtic nations.

Brittany occupies a large peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 in the north west of France, lying between the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 to the north and the Bay of Biscay
Bay of Biscay
The Bay of Biscay is a gulf of the northeast Atlantic Ocean located south of the Celtic Sea. It lies along the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Cape Ortegal, and is named in English after the province of Biscay, in the Spanish...

 to the south. Its land area is 34,023 km² . The historical province of Brittany is divided into five departments: Finistère
Finistère
Finistère is a département of France, in the extreme west of Brittany.-History:The name Finistère derives from the Latin Finis Terræ, meaning end of the earth, and may be compared with Land's End on the opposite side of the English Channel...

 in the west, Côtes-d'Armor
Côtes-d'Armor
Côtes-d'Armor is a department in the north of Brittany, in northwestern France.-History:Côtes-du-Nord was one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from part of the former province of Brittany. Its name was changed in 1990 to...

 in the north, Ille-et-Vilaine
Ille-et-Vilaine
Ille-et-Vilaine is a department of France, located in the region of Brittany in the northwest of the country.- History :Ille-et-Vilaine is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

 in the north east, the Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique is a department on the west coast of France named after the Loire River and the Atlantic Ocean.-History:...

 in the south east and Morbihan
Morbihan
Morbihan is a department in Brittany, situated in the northwest of France. It is named after the Morbihan , the enclosed sea that is the principal feature of the coastline.-History:...

 in the south on the Bay of Biscay.

In 1956, French Regions were created by gathering Departements between them. The Region of Brittany comprises, since then, four of the five Breton départements (80% of historical Brittany), while the remaining area of the old Brittany, the Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique is a department on the west coast of France named after the Loire River and the Atlantic Ocean.-History:...

 département, around Nantes, forms part of the Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire is one of the 27 regions of France. It is one of the regions created in the late 20th century to serve as a zone of influence for its capital, Nantes, one of a handful so-called "balancing metropolises" ¹...

 region. This territorial organisation is regularly contested.

In January 2007 the population of historic Brittany was estimated to be 4,365,500. Of these, 71% lived in the région of Brittany, while 29% lived in the région of Pays-de-la-Loire. At the 1999 census, the largest metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

s were Nantes
Nantes
Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, from the Atlantic coast. The city is the 6th largest in France, while its metropolitan area ranks 8th with over 800,000 inhabitants....

 (711,120 inhabitants), Rennes
Rennes
Rennes is a city in the east of Brittany in northwestern France. Rennes is the capital of the region of Brittany, as well as the Ille-et-Vilaine department.-History:...

 (521,188 inhabitants), and Brest
Brest, France
Brest is a city in the Finistère department in Brittany in northwestern France. Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the Breton peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon...

 (303,484 inhabitants).

History



The peninsula that came to be known as Brittany was a centre of ancient megalith
Megalith
A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. Megalithic describes structures made of such large stones, utilizing an interlocking system without the use of mortar or cement.The word 'megalith' comes from the Ancient...

ic constructions in the Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 era. It has been called the "core area" of megalithic culture. It later became the territory of several Celtic tribes, of which the most powerful was the Veneti
Veneti (Gaul)
The Veneti were a seafaring Celtic people who lived in the Brittany peninsula , which in Roman times formed part of an area called Armorica...

. After Caesar's conquest of Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

, the area became known to the Romans as Armorica
Armorica
Armorica or Aremorica is the name given in ancient times to the part of Gaul that includes the Brittany peninsula and the territory between the Seine and Loire rivers, extending inland to an indeterminate point and down the Atlantic coast...

, from the Celtic term for "coastal area". Its transformation into Brittany occurred in the late Roman period, with the establishment of Romano-British
Britons (historical)
The Britons were the Celtic people culturally dominating Great Britain from the Iron Age through the Early Middle Ages. They spoke the Insular Celtic language known as British or Brythonic...

 settlement in the area. The history behind such an establishment is unclear, but medieval Breton and Welsh
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 sources connect it to a figure known as Conan Meriadoc
Conan Meriadoc
Conan Meriadoc is a legendary British leader credited with founding Brittany. Versions of his story circulated in both Brittany and Great Britain from at least the early 12th century, and supplanted earlier legends of Brittany's foundation...

. Welsh literary sources assert that Conan came to Armorica with the Roman usurper Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus , also known as Maximianus and Macsen Wledig in Welsh, was Western Roman Emperor from 383 to 388. As commander of Britain, he usurped the throne against Emperor Gratian in 383...

, who took his British troops to Gaul to enforce his claims and settled them in Armorica. Regardless of the truth of this story, Brythonic (British Celtic) settlement probably increased during the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain in the 5th century. Scholars such as Léon Fleuriot
Léon Fleuriot
Léon Fleuriot was a French academic specializing in Celtic languages and in history, particularly that of Gallo-Roman Brittany and of the Early Middle Ages....

 have suggested a two-wave model of migration from Britain which saw the emergence of an independent Breton people and established the dominance of the Brythonic
Brythonic languages
The Brythonic or Brittonic languages form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family, the other being Goidelic. The name Brythonic was derived by Welsh Celticist John Rhys from the Welsh word Brython, meaning an indigenous Briton as opposed to an Anglo-Saxon or Gael...

 Breton language
Breton language
Breton is a Celtic language spoken in Brittany , France. Breton is a Brythonic language, descended from the Celtic British language brought from Great Britain to Armorica by migrating Britons during the Early Middle Ages. Like the other Brythonic languages, Welsh and Cornish, it is classified as...

 in Armorica. Over time the Armorican British colony expanded, forming a group of petty kingdoms which were later unified in the 840s under Nominoe in resistance to Frank
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

ish control.

In the mid-9th century Nominoe and his successors won a series of victories over the Franks which secured an independent Duchy of Brittany. In the High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages was the period of European history around the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries . The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500....

 the Duchy was sometimes allied to England and sometimes to France. The pro-English faction was victorious in 1364 in the Breton War of Succession
Breton War of Succession
The Breton War of Succession was a conflict between the Houses of Blois and Montfort for control of the Duchy of Brittany. It was fought between 1341 and 1364. It formed an integral part of the early Hundred Years War due to the involvement of the French and English governments in the conflict; the...

, but the independent Breton army was eventually defeated by the French in 1488, leading to dynastic union with France following the marriage of Duchess Anne of Brittany
Anne of Brittany
Anne, Duchess of Brittany , also known as Anna of Brittany , was a Breton ruler, who was to become queen to two successive French kings. She was born in Nantes, Brittany, and was the daughter of Francis II, Duke of Brittany and Margaret of Foix. Her maternal grandparents were Queen Eleanor of...

 to two kings of France in succession. In 1532 the Duchy was incorporated into France
Union between Brittany and France
In August 1532, King Francis I of France absorbed the independent Duchy of Brittany into the Kingdom of France. The union of Brittany and France was a step toward the unification of modern-day France.-Context:...

.

Two significant revolts occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries: the Revolt of the papier timbré
Revolt of the papier timbré
The Revolt of the papier timbré was an anti-fiscal revolt in the west of Ancien Régime France, during the reign of Louis XIV from April to September 1675...

 (1675) and the Pontcallec Conspiracy
Pontcallec Conspiracy
The Pontcallec conspiracy was a rebellion that arose from an anti-tax movement in Brittany between 1718 and 1720. This was at the beginning of the Régence , when France was controlled by Philippe II, Duke of Orléans during the childhood of Louis XV...

 (1719). Both arose from attempts to resist centralization and assert Breton constitutional exceptions to tax. The Duchy was legally abolished during the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 and divided into five Départements. The area became a centre of royalist
Royalist
A royalist supports a particular monarch as head of state for a particular kingdom, or of a particular dynastic claim. In the abstract, this position is royalism. It is distinct from monarchism, which advocates a monarchical system of government, but not necessarily a particular monarch...

 and Catholic resistance to the Revolution during the Chouannerie
Chouannerie
The Chouannerie was a royalist uprising in twelve of the western departements of France, particularly in the provinces of Brittany and Maine, against the French Revolution, the First French Republic, and even, with its headquarters in London rather than France, for a time, under the Empire...

. During the Second Empire
Second French Empire
The Second French Empire or French Empire was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.-Rule of Napoleon III:...

 conservative Catholic values were reasserted. When the Republic was reinstituted in 1871, there were rumours that Breton troops were mistrusted and mistreated at Camp Conlie
Camp Conlie
Camp Conlie was one of eleven military camps established by the Republican Government of National Defense under Léon Gambetta during the Franco-Prussian war. It became notable because of events which have led to it being described as a "concentration camp", in which troops from Brittany were...

 during the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 because of fears that they were a threat to the Republic.

In the 19th century the Celtic Revival
Celtic Revival
Celtic Revival covers a variety of movements and trends, mostly in the 19th and 20th centuries, which drew on the traditions of Celtic literature and Celtic art, or in fact more often what art historians call Insular art...

 led to the foundation of the Breton Regionalist Union
Breton Regionalist Union
The Breton regionalist union , was a Breton cultural and political organisation created August 16 1898. It was a broadly conservative grouping dedicated to preserving Breton cultural identity and regional independence...

 (URB) and later to independence movements linked to Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, Welsh
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 and Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 independence parties in the UK and to pan-Celticism
Pan-Celticism
Pan-Celticism is the name given to various political and cultural movements and organisations that promote greater contact between the Celtic nations.-Types of Pan-Celticism:Pan-Celticism can operate on one or all of the following levels listed below:...

. There was a cultural renaissance in the 20th century associated with the movement Seiz Breur
Seiz Breur
Seiz Breur was an artistic movement founded in 1923 in Brittany. Although it adopted the symbolic name seiz breur, meaning seven brothers in the Breton language, this did not refer to the number of members, but to the title of a folk-story...

. The alliance of the Breton National Party
Breton National Party
The Breton National Party was a nationalist party in Brittany that existed from 1931 to 1944. The party was disbanded after the liberation of France in World War II, because of ties to the Nazi party....

 with Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 in World War II weakened Breton nationalism in the post-war period. In 1956, Brittany was legally reconstituted as the Region of Brittany, although the region excluded the ducal capital of Nantes
Nantes
Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, from the Atlantic coast. The city is the 6th largest in France, while its metropolitan area ranks 8th with over 800,000 inhabitants....

 and the surrounding area
Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique is a department on the west coast of France named after the Loire River and the Atlantic Ocean.-History:...

. Over this period the Breton language declined precipitously. Children were not allowed to speak Breton at school, and were punished by teachers if they did. Famously, signs in schools read: "It is forbidden to speak Breton and to spit on the floor" ("Il est interdit de parler breton et de cracher par terre"). As a result, a generation of native Breton speakers were made to feel ashamed of their language and avoided speaking it or teaching it to their children. These factors contributed to the decline of Breton. Nevertheless Brittany retained its cultural distinctiveness.

Sights





Brittany is home to many megalith
Megalith
A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. Megalithic describes structures made of such large stones, utilizing an interlocking system without the use of mortar or cement.The word 'megalith' comes from the Ancient...

ic monuments which are scattered across the peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

. The largest alignments are near Karnag/Carnac
Carnac
Carnac is a commune beside the Gulf of Morbihan on the south coast of Brittany in the Morbihan department in north-western France.Its inhabitants are called Carnacois...

. The purpose of these monuments is still unknown, and many local people are reluctant to entertain speculation on the subject.

Brittany is also known for its calvary sculptures
Calvary (sculpture)
A calvary is a type of monumental public crucifix, sometimes encased in an open shrine, most commonly found across northern France from Brittany east and through Belgium and equally familiar as wayside structures provided with minimal sheltering roofs in Italy and Spain...

, elaborately carved crucifixion scenes found at crossroads in villages and small towns, especially in Western Brittany.

Besides its numerous intact manors
Manor house
A manor house is a country house that historically formed the administrative centre of a manor, the lowest unit of territorial organisation in the feudal system in Europe. The term is applied to country houses that belonged to the gentry and other grand stately homes...

 and château
Château
A château is a manor house or residence of the lord of the manor or a country house of nobility or gentry, with or without fortifications, originally—and still most frequently—in French-speaking regions...

x, Brittany also has several old fortified towns. The walled city of Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. It is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine.-Demographics:The population can increase to up to 200,000 in the summer tourist season...

 (Sant-Maloù), a popular tourist attraction, is also an important port linking Brittany with England and the Channel Islands
Channel Islands
The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two separate bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey...

. It was the birthplace of the historian Louis Duchesne
Louis Duchesne
Louis Marie Olivier Duchesne was a French priest, philologist, teacher and a critical historian of Christianity and Roman Catholic liturgy and institutions....

, the acclaimed author Chateaubriand
François-René de Chateaubriand
François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand was a French writer, politician, diplomat and historian. He is considered the founder of Romanticism in French literature.-Early life and exile:...

, the corsair Surcouf
Robert Surcouf
Robert Surcouf was a famous French corsair. During his legendary career, he captured 47 ships and was renowned for his gallantry and chivalry, earning the nickname of Roi des Corsaires .- Youth :...

 and the explorer Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier was a French explorer of Breton origin who claimed what is now Canada for France. He was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after the Iroquois names for the two big...

. The town of Roscoff
Roscoff
Roscoff is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in northwestern France.The nearby Île de Batz, called Enez Vaz in Breton, is a small island that can be reached by launch from the harbour....

 (Rosko) is served by ferry links with England and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

.

Significant urban centres include:
  • Nantes
    Nantes
    Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River, from the Atlantic coast. The city is the 6th largest in France, while its metropolitan area ranks 8th with over 800,000 inhabitants....

     (Gallo: Naunnt, Breton: Naoned) : 282,853 inhabitants in the commune (2006), 804,833 in the urban area.
  • Rennes
    Rennes
    Rennes is a city in the east of Brittany in northwestern France. Rennes is the capital of the region of Brittany, as well as the Ille-et-Vilaine department.-History:...

     (Gallo: Resnn, Breton: Roazhon) : 209,613 inhabitants in the commune (2006), 521,188 in the urban area.
  • Brest
    Brest, France
    Brest is a city in the Finistère department in Brittany in northwestern France. Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the Breton peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon...

     (Breton Brest) : 148,316 inhabitants in the commune (2006), 300,000 in the urban area.
  • Saint-Nazaire
    Saint-Nazaire
    Saint-Nazaire , is a commune in the Loire-Atlantique department in western France.The town has a major harbour, on the right bank of the Loire River estuary, near the Atlantic Ocean. The town is at the south of the second-largest swamp in France, called "la Brière"...

     (Gallo: Saint-Nazère, Breton: Sant-Nazer) : 71,373 inhabitants in the commune (2006); located in the urban area of Nantes.
  • Lorient
    Lorient
    Lorient, or L'Orient, is a commune and a seaport in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France.-History:At the beginning of the 17th century, merchants who were trading with India had established warehouses in Port-Louis...

     (Breton: an Oriant) : 58,547 inhabitants in the commune (2006), 190,000 in the urban area.
  • Quimper (Breton: Kemper) : 64,900 inhabitants in the commune (2006).
  • Vannes
    Vannes
    Vannes is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France. It was founded over 2000 years ago.-Geography:Vannes is located on the Gulf of Morbihan at the mouth of two rivers, the Marle and the Vincin. It is around 100 km northwest of Nantes and 450 km south west...

     (Breton: Gwened, Gallo: Vann) : 53,079 inhabitants in the commune (2006), 132,880 in the urban area.
  • Saint-Brieuc
    Saint-Brieuc
    Saint-Brieuc is a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department in Brittany in northwestern France.-History:Saint-Brieuc is named after a Welsh monk Brioc, who evangelized the region in the 6th century and established an oratory there...

     (Gallo: Saint-Bérieu, Breton: Sant-Brieg) : 46,437 inhabitants in the commune (2006), 121,237 in the urban area (2005).
  • Saint-Malo
    Saint-Malo
    Saint-Malo is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. It is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine.-Demographics:The population can increase to up to 200,000 in the summer tourist season...

     (Gallo: Saent-Malô, Breton: Sant-Maloù) : 52,737 inhabitants in the commune (2007), 81,962 in the urban area.
  • Redon
    Redon, Ille-et-Vilaine
    -Breton language:The municipality launched a linguistic plan through Ya d'ar brezhoneg on 10 October 2008.In 2008, 14.31% of the children attended bilingual schools in primary education.-Economy:* Cargill Texturising Systems - A pectin factory...

     (Gallo: Rdon, Breton: Redon) : 9,601 inhabitants in the commune (2006), 52,758 in the urban area.


The island of Ushant (Breton: Enez Eusa, French: Ouessant) is the north-westernmost point of Brittany and France, and marks the entrance to the English Channel. Other islands off the coast of Brittany include:
  • Bréhat enez Vriad
  • Batz
    Île de Batz
    The Île de Batz is an island off Roscoff in Brittany, France. Administratively, it is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in north-western France.-Population:...

     enez Vaz
  • Molène
    Molène
    Molène is an island off the west coast of Brittany and one of the Ponant Islands, the largest of an archipelago of some twenty islands. Administratively, it is a commune of the Finistère department of Brittany in north-western France....

     Molenez
  • Sein
    Île de Sein
    The Île de Sein is a French island in the Atlantic Ocean, off Finistère, 8 kilometres from the Pointe du Raz , from which it is separated by the Raz de Sein. Its Breton name is Enez Sun...

     enez Sun
  • Glénan islands
    Glénan islands
    The Glénan islands are an archipelago located off the coast of France. They are located in the south of Finistère, near Concarneau and Fouesnant, and comprise seven major islands: Saint-Nicolas, the Loc'h, Penfret, Cigogne, Drenec, Bananec, and Brunec...

     inizi Glenan
  • Groix
    Groix
    Groix is an island and a commune in the Morbihan department of the region of Brittany in north-western France.Groix lies a few kilometres of the coast off Lorient. Several ferries a day run from Lorient to Groix....

     enez Groe
  • Belle Île
    Belle Île
    Belle-Île or Belle-Île-en-Mer is a French island off the coast of Brittany in the département of Morbihan, and the largest of Brittany's islands. It is 14 km from the Quiberon peninsula.Administratively, the island forms a canton: the canton of Belle-Île...

     ar Gerveur
  • Houat
    Houat
    Houat is a French island off the south coast of Brittany in the department of Morbihan. It is located, along with two other major islands, in the entrance to the Baie de Quiberon. Its "twin sister" island is Hoëdic....

     Houad
  • Hoëdic
    Hoëdic
    Hoëdic is an island off the south coast of Brittany in north-western France. Its bigger "twin sister" island is Houat.Administratively, Hoëdic is a commune in the Morbihan department.-References:* * -External links:* *...

     Edig
  • Île-aux-Moines
    Île-aux-Moines
    Île-aux-Moines is a commune in the Morbihan department in the region of Brittany in north-western France....

     Enizenac'h
  • Île-d'Arz an Arzh



The coast at Brittany is unusual due to its colouring. The Côte de Granit Rose
Côte de Granit Rose
The Côte de granit rose or Pink Granite Coast is a stretch of coastline in the Côtes d'Armor departement of northern Brittany, France. It stretches for more than thirty kilometres from Plestin-les-Grèves to Louannec, encompassing Trégastel....

 (pink granite coast) is located in the Côtes d'Armor department of Brittany. It stretches for more than 30 kilometres (18.6 mi) from Plestin-les-Greves
Plestin-les-Grèves
Plestin-les-Grèves is a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department in Bretagne in northwestern France.Plestin-les-Grèves is situated on the north coast of Brittany, with a sailing club in Stefflam and Loquirec...

 to Louannec
Louannec
Louannec is a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department in Brittany in northwestern France.-Population:The inhabitants are called louannecains in French and louanegad in Breton.-Personalities:...

 and is one of the outstanding coastlines of Europe. This special pink rock is very rare and can be found in only three other places in the world, Ontario, Canada, Corsica and China.

The landscape has inspired artists, including Paul Signac
Paul Signac
Paul Signac was a French neo-impressionist painter who, working with Georges Seurat, helped develop the pointillist style.-Biography:Paul Victor Jules Signac was born in Paris on 11 November 1863...

, Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall Art critic Robert Hughes referred to Chagall as "the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century."According to art historian Michael J...

, Raymond Wintz
Raymond Wintz
Raymond Wintz was a Paris-born painter and engraver whose most famous paintings were of marine and coastal views in Brittany. He is best known for his painting The Blue Door, which is still widely available as a poster and print.-Life:Raymond Wintz was born on 25 March 1884...

 and his wife Renee Carpentier Wintz, who both painted coastal and village scenes. Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin was a leading French Post-Impressionist artist. He was an important figure in the Symbolist movement as a painter, sculptor, print-maker, ceramist, and writer...

 and his famous School of Pont-Aven in the Finistère
Finistère
Finistère is a département of France, in the extreme west of Brittany.-History:The name Finistère derives from the Latin Finis Terræ, meaning end of the earth, and may be compared with Land's End on the opposite side of the English Channel...

 département, Brittany also painted many village scenes.

Festivals



Brittany has a vibrant calendar of festivals and events. Several are of course maritime themed while others reflect Brittany’s lively music heritage or the region’s diverse culture.
Traditional Breton festivals, fest noz in Breton, regularly take place in towns and villages throughout Brittany and include local music and dancing. Brittany also hosts some of France’s biggest contemporary music festivals.

Cultural festivals
  • Festival de Cornouaille: July (Quimper, Finistère)

A long-established festival that showcases Brittany’s cultural diversity.
  • Les Filets Bleus: August (Concarneau, Finistère)

This long-standing festival celebrates fishing traditions in the coastal town of Concarneau.
  • Festival Interceltique de Lorient
    Festival Interceltique de Lorient
    The Festival Interceltique de Lorient or Gouelioù Etrekeltiek An Oriant was founded in Lorient, Brittany in 1971 by Polig Montjarret...

    : August (Lorient, Morbihan)

An internationally renowned festival that celebrates Celtic traditions.
  • Festival du Film Britannique: October (Dinard,Côtes-d’Armor)

This British film festival screens previews of British films in France.

Music festivals
  • Vieilles Charrues
    Vieilles Charrues Festival
    The Vieilles Charrues Festival is held every year in mid-July in the city of Carhaix located in the west of Brittany.This festival is the largest music festival in France, attracting more than 200,000 festival-goers every year . This festival was created in 1992 in Landeleau, a small village in...

    : July (Carhaix, Finistère)

This music festival is the Breton equivalent of Glastonbury in the UK.
  • Astropolis: July (Brest, Finistère)

A prominent electro and techno festival.
  • La Route du Rock
    La Route du Rock
    La Route du Rock is a biannual music festival that occurs in the city of Saint-Malo.Traditionnally the festival was held every year but since 2006, a winter edition is held called collection d 'hiver after the french fashion word. The 20th occurrence of La Route du Rock transpired on the dates of...

    : August (St-Malo, Ille-et-Vilaine)

Pop and rock, often with an Anglo-Saxon flavour.
  • Les Transmusicales: December (Rennes, Ille-et-Vilaine)

Known for showcasing brand new acts : Nirvana and Portishead did some of their early gigs at this festival.

Maritime festivals
  • Fêtes Maritimes de Brest: July (Brest, Finistère)

This sailing event takes place every 4 years (the next one is in 2012).
  • La Route du Rhum
    Route du Rhum
    The Route du Rhum is a transatlantic single-handed yacht race, which takes places every 4 years in November. The course is between Saint Malo, Brittany, France and Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France...

    : November (St-Malo, Ille-et-Vilaine)

This transatlantic single-handed yacht race takes place every 4 years (the next one is in 2014).

Regional languages




French, the only official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

 of the French Republic, is today spoken throughout Brittany. The two regional language
Regional language
A regional language is a language spoken in an area of a nation state, whether it be a small area, a federal state or province, or some wider area....

s are supported by the regional authorities within the constitutional limits: Breton
Breton language
Breton is a Celtic language spoken in Brittany , France. Breton is a Brythonic language, descended from the Celtic British language brought from Great Britain to Armorica by migrating Britons during the Early Middle Ages. Like the other Brythonic languages, Welsh and Cornish, it is classified as...

, strongest in the west but to be seen all over Brittany, is a Celtic language most closely related to Cornish
Cornish language
Cornish is a Brythonic Celtic language and a recognised minority language of the United Kingdom. Along with Welsh and Breton, it is directly descended from the ancient British language spoken throughout much of Britain before the English language came to dominate...

 and Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

. Gallo
Gallo language
Gallo is a regional language of France. Gallo is a Romance language, one of the Oïl languages. It is the historic language of the region of Upper Brittany and some neighboring portions of Normandy, but today is spoken by only a small minority of the population, having been largely superseded by...

, which is spoken in the east, is one of the romance Langues d'oïl
Langues d'oïl
The langues d'oïl or langues d'oui , in English the Oïl or Oui languages, are a dialect continuum that includes standard French and its closest autochthonous relatives spoken today in the northern half of France, southern Belgium, and the Channel Islands...

.

Breton was traditionally spoken in the west , and Gallo in the east ' onMouseout='HidePop("69639")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Gallo_language">Gallo
Gallo language
Gallo is a regional language of France. Gallo is a Romance language, one of the Oïl languages. It is the historic language of the region of Upper Brittany and some neighboring portions of Normandy, but today is spoken by only a small minority of the population, having been largely superseded by...

: Haùtt-Bertaèyn, or Upper Brittany
Upper Brittany
Upper Brittany is a term used to describe the eastern part of Brittany which is predominantly of a Romance culture and is associated with the Gallo language. The name is in counterpoint to Lower Brittany, the western part of the ancient province and present-day region, where the Breton language...

). The dividing line stretched from Plouha
Plouha
Plouha is a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department in Bretagne in northwestern France.-Population:Inhabitants of Plouha are called plouhatins.-International relations:Plouha is twinned with Killorglin located in County Kerry, Ireland....

 on the north coast to a point to the south east of Vannes
Vannes
Vannes is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France. It was founded over 2000 years ago.-Geography:Vannes is located on the Gulf of Morbihan at the mouth of two rivers, the Marle and the Vincin. It is around 100 km northwest of Nantes and 450 km south west...

. French had, however, long been the main language of the towns. The Breton-speaking area once covered territory much farther east than its current distribution.

Since the 13th century, long before the union of Brittany and France, the main administrative language of the Duchy of Brittany was French, and previously it was Latin. Breton (in the West) and Gallo (in the East) remained the two languages of the rural population of Brittany, but since the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 the bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

, the nobility
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

, and the higher clergy
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

 spoke French. Government policies in the 19th and 20th centuries, which forbade the speaking of Breton in schools, along with the demands of education, pushed many non-French speakers into adopting the French language. Nevertheless, until the 1960s Breton was spoken and understood by most of the inhabitants of western Brittany.

In the Middle Ages, Gallo gradually expanded into formerly Breton-speaking areas. Now restricted to a much reduced territory in the east of Brittany, Gallo finds itself under pressure from the dominant Francophone
Francophone
The adjective francophone means French-speaking, typically as primary language, whether referring to individuals, groups, or places. Often, the word is used as a noun to describe a natively French-speaking person....

 culture. It is also felt by some to be threatened by the Breton language revival
Language revival
Language revitalization, language revival or reversing language shift is the attempt by interested parties, including individuals, cultural or community groups, governments, or political authorities, to reverse the decline of a language. If the decline is severe, the language may be endangered,...

, which is gaining ground in territories that were not previously part of the main Breton-speaking area.

Diwan
Diwan (school)
Diwan is a federation of Breton language-medium schools in Brittany .-Concept:The Diwan concept, which allows children to learn French and Breton through immersion was inspired by the Gaelscoileanna movement in Ireland, Ikastolak movement in the Basque Country and the Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin...

("seed") schools, where classes are taught in Breton by the immersion method
Language immersion
Language immersion is a method of teaching a second language in which the target language is used as the means of instruction. Unlike more traditional language courses, where the target language is simply the subject material, language immersion uses the target language as a teaching tool,...

, play an important part in the revival of the Breton language. These schools are privately funded, as they receive no French central government support. The issue of whether they should be funded by the State has long been, and remains, controversial. Some bilingual classes are also provided in ordinary schools.

Bilingual (Breton and French) road signs may be seen in some areas, especially in the traditional Breton-speaking area of Lower Brittany. Signage in Gallo is much rarer.

Some villages have received an influx of English-speaking immigrants and second-home owners, adding to the linguistic diversity.

Be Breizh: Breizh is the Breton word for Brittany and given that the Bretons are particularly proud of their roots, you will see the word – or simply the letters BZH – in evidence throughout the region. Along with the black and white Breton flag (the Gwenn Ha Du) and the triskell, you will see these symbols of Breton identity on cars, t-shirts and shop fronts. In 2011, the regional tourist board adopted the phrase ‘Be Breizh’ to sum up this unique Breton spirit.

Religion


While Christianization may have occurred during Roman occupation, the first recorded Christian missionaries came to the region from Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 and are known as the "Seven founder saints":
  • St Pol Aurelian, at Saint-Pol-de-Léon
    Saint-Pol-de-Léon
    Saint-Pol-de-Léon is a commune in the Finistère department in Bretange in northwestern France, located on the coast.It is famous for its 13th-century cathedral on the site of the original founded by Saint Paul Aurelian in the 6th century. It has kept a unique architecture, such as Notre-Dame du...

     (Breton: Kastell-Paol),
  • Saint Tudwal
    Saint Tudwal
    Saint Tudwal was a Breton monk. He is considered one of the seven founder saints of Brittany. Tudwal was said to be a son of Hoel Mawr . Tudwal travelled to Ireland to learn the scriptures, then became a hermit on what is now called Saint Tudwal's Island East off North Wales...

     (sant Tudwal), at Tréguier
    Tréguier
    Tréguier is a port town in the Côtes-d'Armor department in Brittany in northwestern France. It is the capital of the province of Trégor.-Geography:Tréguier is located 36 m. N.W. of Saint-Brieuc by road. The port is situated about 5½ m...

     (Breton: Landreger),
  • St Brioc
    Brioc
    Saint Brioc was an early 6th century Welshman who became the first Abbot of Saint-Brieuc in Brittany. He is one of the seven founder saints of Brittany.Very little is known about his early life, as his 9th century 'life' is not altogether reliable...

    , at Saint-Brieuc
    Saint-Brieuc
    Saint-Brieuc is a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department in Brittany in northwestern France.-History:Saint-Brieuc is named after a Welsh monk Brioc, who evangelized the region in the 6th century and established an oratory there...

     (Breton: Sant-Brieg, Gallo: Saent-Berioec),
  • St Malo, at Saint-Malo
    Saint-Malo
    Saint-Malo is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. It is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine.-Demographics:The population can increase to up to 200,000 in the summer tourist season...

     (Breton: Sant-Maloù, Gallo: Saent-Malô),
  • St Samson of Dol
    Samson of Dol
    Saint Samson of Dol was a Christian religious figure who is counted among the seven founder saints of Brittany. Born in southern Wales, he died in Dol-de-Bretagne, a small town in north Brittany.-Life:...

    , at Dol-de-Bretagne
    Dol-de-Bretagne
    Dol-de-Bretagne , cited in most historical records under its Breton name of Dol, is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine département in Brittany in north-western France.-History:...

     (Breton: Dol, Gallo: Dóu),
  • St Patern, at Vannes
    Vannes
    Vannes is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France. It was founded over 2000 years ago.-Geography:Vannes is located on the Gulf of Morbihan at the mouth of two rivers, the Marle and the Vincin. It is around 100 km northwest of Nantes and 450 km south west...

     (Breton: Gwened),
  • St Corentin
    Corentin of Quimper
    Saint Corentin is a Breton saint. He is venerated as a saint and as the first bishop of Quimper. His feast day is December 12. He was a hermit at Plomodiern and regarded as one of the seven founder saints of Brittany...

     (sant Kaourintin), at Quimper (Breton: Kemper).


Other notable early evangelizers are Gildas
Gildas
Gildas was a 6th-century British cleric. He is one of the best-documented figures of the Christian church in the British Isles during this period. His renowned learning and literary style earned him the designation Gildas Sapiens...

 and the Irish saint Columbanus
Columbanus
Columbanus was an Irish missionary notable for founding a number of monasteries on the European continent from around 590 in the Frankish and Lombard kingdoms, most notably Luxeuil and Bobbio , and stands as an exemplar of Irish missionary activity in early medieval Europe.He spread among the...

. With more than 300 "saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s" (only a few recognised by the Catholic Church), the region is strongly Catholic. Since the 19th century at least, Brittany has been known as one of the most devoutly Catholic regions in France, in contrast to many other more secularised areas (see "Bl. Julien Maunoir
Julian Maunoir
Julien Maunoir , was a French-born Jesuit priest known as the "Apostle of Brittany". He was beatified in 1951 by Pope Pius XII and is commemorated by the Roman Catholic Church on 29 January and 2 July....

"). The proportion of students attending Catholic private schools is the highest in France. As in other Celtic regions, the legacy of Celtic Christianity
Celtic Christianity
Celtic Christianity or Insular Christianity refers broadly to certain features of Christianity that were common, or held to be common, across the Celtic-speaking world during the Early Middle Ages...

 has left a rich tradition of local saints and monastic communities, often commemorated in place names beginning Lan, Lam, Plou or Lok. The patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 of Brittany is Saint Anne
Saint Anne
Saint Hanna of David's house and line, was the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ according to Christian and Islamic tradition. English Anne is derived from Greek rendering of her Hebrew name Hannah...

, the Virgin's mother. But the most famous saint is Saint Ivo of Kermartin
Ivo of Kermartin
Saint Ivo of Kermartin , also known Yvo or Ives, as Erwann and as Yves Hélory , was a parish priest among the poor of Louannec, the only one of his station to be canonized in the Middle Ages. He is the patron of Brittany, lawyers, and abandoned children. His feast day is May 19...

 ('saint Yves' in French, 'sant Erwan' in Breton), a 13th century priest who devoted his life to the poor.

Once a year, believers go on a "Pardon
Pardon (ceremony)
A Pardon is a typically Breton form of pilgrimage and one of the most traditional demonstrations of popular Catholicism in Brittany. Of very ancient origin, probably dating back to the conversion of the country by the Celtic monks, it is comparable to the parades associated with Saint Patrick's Day...

", the saint's feast day of the parish. It often begins with a procession followed by a mass in honour of the saint. There is always a secular side, with some food and craft stalls. The three most famous Pardons are:
  • from Sainte-Anne d'Auray/Santez-Anna-Wened, where a poor farmer in the 17th century explained how the saint had ordered him to build a chapel in her honour.
  • from Tréguier
    Tréguier
    Tréguier is a port town in the Côtes-d'Armor department in Brittany in northwestern France. It is the capital of the province of Trégor.-Geography:Tréguier is located 36 m. N.W. of Saint-Brieuc by road. The port is situated about 5½ m...

    /Landreger, in honour of St Yves, the patron saint of the judges, advocates, and any profession involved in justice.
  • from Locronan
    Locronan
    Locronan is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in north-western France.Locronan is a member of the [Les Plus Beaux Villages de France]] association.-The place name:...

    /Lokorn, in honour of St Ronan
    Ronan of Locronan
    Saint Ronan is the name of an Irish pilgrim saint and hermit in western Brittany, eponymous founder of Locronan and co-patron of Quimper, together with its founder, Saint Corentin.-From Locronan to Quimper:...

    , with a troménie (a procession, 12 km-long) and numerous people in traditional costume (Locronan is also very close to a more known city Douarnenez which use to be the very famous rendez-vous point for all sailers in the world every 4 years).


There is a very old pilgrimage
Pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

 called the Tro Breizh
Tro Breizh
Tro Breizh is a Catholic pilgrimage that links the towns of the seven founding saints of Brittany. These seven saints were Celtic monks from Britain from around the 5th or 6th century who brought Christianity to Armorica and founded its first bishoprics.The tour originally was a month-long ...

(tour of Brittany), where the pilgrims walk around Brittany from the grave of one of the seven founder saints to another. Historically, the pilgrimage was made in one trip (a total distance of around 600 km) for all seven saints. Nowadays, however, pilgrims complete the circuit over the course of several years. In 2002, the Tro Breizh included a special pilgrimage to Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, symbolically making the reverse journey of the Welshmen Sant Paol, Sant Brieg, and Sant Samzun. It is believed that whoever does not make the pilgrimage at least once in his lifetime will be condemned to make it after his death, advancing only by the length of his coffin each seven years.

Many distinctive traditions and customs have also been preserved in Brittany. The most powerful folk figure is the Ankou
Ankou
Ankou is a personification of death in Breton mythology as well as in Cornish and Norman French folklore.Ankou is also known as "Aräwn".-Background:This character is reported by Anatole Le Braz, writer and legends collector of the 19th century...

 or the "Reaper of Death". Sometimes a skeleton wrapped in a shroud with the Breton flat hat, sometimes described as a real human being (the last dead of the year, devoted to bring the dead to Death), he makes his journeys by night carrying an upturned scythe which he throws before him to reap his harvest. Sometimes he is on foot but mostly he travels with a cart, the Karrig an Ankou, drawn by two oxen and a lean horse. Two servants dressed in the same shroud and hat as the Ankou pile the dead into the cart, and to hear it creaking at night means you have little time left to live.

Breton music



Brittany is an area of strong Celtic heritage, rich in its cultural heritage. Though long under the control of France and influenced by French traditions, Brittany has retained and, since the early 1970s, revived its own folk music, modernising and adapting it into folk rock and other fusion genres (Alan Stivell
Alan Stivell
Alan Stivell is a Breton musician and singer, recording artist and master of the celtic harp who from the early 1970s revived global interest in the Celtic harp and Celtic music as part of world music.- Background: learning Breton music and culture :Alan was born in the Auvergnat town of Riom...

, Dan Ar Braz
Dan Ar Braz
Dan Ar Braz, born Daniel Le Bras , is a French guitarist and the founder of Héritage des Celtes.- The apprenticeship years :...

, Red Cardell
Red Cardell
Red Cardell are a Breton Rock band formed in 1992. Its members include Jean-Pierre Riou, as singer and guitarist, Jean-Michel Moal on the accordion, Manu Masko on Drums, and since spring 2011, Mathieu Péquériau on Harmonica.-Biography:...

...).

Gastronomy



Although some white wine is produced near the Loire, the traditional drinks of Brittany are:
  • cider
    Cider
    Cider or cyder is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from apple juice. Cider varies in alcohol content from 2% abv to 8.5% abv or more in traditional English ciders. In some regions, such as Germany and America, cider may be termed "apple wine"...

      – Brittany is the second largest cider-producing region in France; Traditionally served in a ceramic cup resembling an English Tea cup.
  • beer – Brittany has a long beer brewing tradition, tracing its roots back to the seventeenth century; Young artisanal brewers are keeping a variety of beer types alive, such as Coreff de Morlaix, Tri Martolod and Britt;
  • a sort of mead
    Mead
    Mead , also called honey wine, is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by fermenting a solution of honey and water. It may also be produced by fermenting a solution of water and honey with grain mash, which is strained immediately after fermentation...

     made from wild honey called chouchen
    Chouchen
    Chouchen is an alcoholic beverage popular in Brittany, France. A form of mead, it is made from the fermentation of honey in water. Chouchen normally contains 14% alcohol by volume...

    n
    ;
  • an apple eau de vie
    Eau de vie
    An eau de vie is a clear, colorless fruit brandy that is produced by means of fermentation and double distillation...

     called lambig.


Historically Brittany was a beer producing region. However, as wine was increasingly imported from other regions of France, beer drinking and production slowly came to an end in the early to mid-20th century. In the 1970s, due to a regional comeback, new breweries started to open and there are now about 20 of them. Whisky
Whisky
Whisky or whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Different grains are used for different varieties, including barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn...

 is also produced by a handful of distilleries with excellent results, such as Eddu distillery at Plomelin near Quimper, which elaborates a real and successful creation using buckwheat, Glann ar Mor distillery which makes an un-peated Single Malt, as well as a peated expression named Kornog. Another recent drink is kir Breton (crème de cassis
Crème de cassis
Crème de cassis is a sweet, dark red liqueur that is made from blackcurrants.Several cocktails are made with crème de cassis, including the very popular wine cocktail, kir.-Origin and production:...

 and cider) which may be served as an apéritif
Aperitif
Apéritifs and digestifs are alcoholic drinks that are normally served with meals.-Apéritifs:An apéritif is usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. This contrasts with digestifs, which are served after a meal for the purpose of aiding digestion...

. Tourists often try a mix of bread and red wine.
Large, thin pancakes made from buckwheat
Buckwheat
Buckwheat refers to a variety of plants in the dicot family Polygonaceae: the Eurasian genus Fagopyrum, the North American genus Eriogonum, and the Northern Hemisphere genus Fallopia. Either of the latter two may be referred to as "wild buckwheat"...

 flour (blé noir) are eaten with ham, eggs and other savoury fillings. They are made with plain buckwheat flour and water in Eastern Brittany and called galette
Galette
Galette is a general term used in the French cuisine to designate various types of flat, round or freeform crusty cakes, similar in concept to a Chinese bing. One notable type is the galette des Rois eaten on the day of Epiphany...

s
(Breton: galetes). La Galette Saucisse, a hot grilled pure pork Breton sausage wrapped in a cold galette, is the "fast food" of Eastern Brittany, sold from road side stands, and served at every occasion from football matches to the local school fête.
In the western parts of Brittany buckwheat pancakes are made with eggs and called crêpe
Crêpe
A crêpe or crepe , is a type of very thin pancake, usually made from wheat flour or buckwheat flour . The word is of French origin, deriving from the Latin crispa, meaning "curled". While crêpes originate from Brittany, a region in the northwest of France, their consumption is widespread in France...

s de blé noir
(Breton: krampouezh). Galettes are often served with a cup of cider, but in Brittany they should traditionally be accompanied by Breton buttermilk
Buttermilk
Buttermilk refers to a number of dairy drinks. Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left behind after churning butter out of cream. It also refers to a range of fermented milk drinks, common in warm climates where unrefrigerated fresh milk otherwise sours quickly...

 called lait ribot (Breton: laezh-ribod). Brittany also has a dish similar to the pot-au-feu
Pot-au-feu
The pot-au-feu is a French beef stew. According to chef Raymond Blanc, the pot-au feu is "the quintessence of French family cuisine, it is the most celebrated dish in France...

 known as the Kig ha farz
Kig ha farz
Kig ha farz is a cooked dished consisting of various meats simmered in a broth with a buckwheat flour based pudding. It is eaten traditionally in Brittany, more specifically around Léon in the region situated west from Morlaix to Brest.. This dish, which is quite similar to a pot-au-feu, was once...

, which consists of stewed pork or beef with buckwheat
Buckwheat
Buckwheat refers to a variety of plants in the dicot family Polygonaceae: the Eurasian genus Fagopyrum, the North American genus Eriogonum, and the Northern Hemisphere genus Fallopia. Either of the latter two may be referred to as "wild buckwheat"...

 dumplings.

Thin crêpes made from wheat flour are eaten for dessert or for breakfast. They may be served cold with local butter. Other pastries
Pastry
Pastry is the name given to various kinds of baked products made from ingredients such as flour, sugar, milk, butter, shortening, baking powder and/or eggs. Small cakes, tarts and other sweet baked products are called "pastries."...

, such as kouign amann
Kouign amann
Kouign-amann , Breton pl. kouignoù-amann) is a Breton cake. It is a round crusty cake, made with a dough akin to bread dough with sugar sprinkled between layers. The resulting cake is slowly baked until the butter puffs up the dough and the sugar caramelizes. The name derives from the Breton...

("butter cake" in Breton) made from bread dough, butter and sugar, or far
Far Breton
Far Breton is a traditional cake or dessert from the Brittany region in France. Its base is similar in composition to a clafoutis batter: a flan-style eggs-and-milk custard with flour added. Prunes or raisins are common additions...

, a sort of sweet Yorkshire pudding
Yorkshire pudding
Yorkshire Pudding is a dish that originated in Yorkshire, England. It is made from batter and usually served with roast meat and gravy.-History:...

, or clafoutis with prunes, are traditional.

Surrounded by the sea, Brittany offers a wide range of fresh sea food and fish, especially mussel
Mussel
The common name mussel is used for members of several families of clams or bivalvia mollusca, from saltwater and freshwater habitats. These groups have in common a shell whose outline is elongated and asymmetrical compared with other edible clams, which are often more or less rounded or oval.The...

s and oyster
Oyster
The word oyster is used as a common name for a number of distinct groups of bivalve molluscs which live in marine or brackish habitats. The valves are highly calcified....

s. Among the sea food specialities is cotriade
Cotriade
Cotriade is a fish stew speciality from the French province of Brittany that is made with different kinds of fish, as well as potatoes. Unlike bouillabaisse, another French stew, it usually does not contain shellfish. It is traditionally served by pouring it over toasted French bread.It is known...

.

Climate


Located on the west coast of France, Brittany has a warm, temperate climate. Rainfall occurs regularly – which has helped keep its countryside green and wooded, but sunny, cloudless days are also common.

In general, Brittany has a moderate climate during both summer and winter. In the summer months temperatures in the region can reach 30 °C (86 °F), yet the climate remains comfortable, especially when compared to parts of France south of the Loire. In Brittany a common expression and response to people complaining about the rain is "En Bretagne, il ne pleut que sur les cons", which literally translates as "In Brittany, it only rains on the idiots", and should be understood as if one is not pleased with Brittany, he should leave it.

Brittany's most popular summer resorts are on the south coast (La Baule
La Baule-Escoublac
La Baule-Escoublac, commonly referred to as La Baule, is a commune in the Loire-Atlantique department in western France.A century-old seaside resort at the gateway to Britany with beautiful villas, casino, luxury hotels and an original mix of old Breton and exclusive seaside culture boasting a 12...

, Belle Île
Belle Île
Belle-Île or Belle-Île-en-Mer is a French island off the coast of Brittany in the département of Morbihan, and the largest of Brittany's islands. It is 14 km from the Quiberon peninsula.Administratively, the island forms a canton: the canton of Belle-Île...

, Gulf of Morbihan
Gulf of Morbihan
The Gulf of Morbihan is a natural harbour on the coast of the Département of Morbihan in the south of Brittany, France. This English name is taken from the French version: le golfe du Morbihan...

), although the wilder and more exposed north coast (the Côte de granite rose, Perros-Guirec
Perros-Guirec
Perros-Guirec is a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department in Brittany in northwestern France.-Population:Inhabitants of Perros-Guirec are called perrosiens.-Tourism:...

, etc.) also attracts summer tourists.

Transport


Airports in Brittany serving destinations in France, Great Britain and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 include Brest
Brest Bretagne Airport
Brest Bretagne Airport , formerly known as Brest Guipavas Airport, is an airport serving the French city of Brest. It is located in the commune of Guipavas and 10.2km northeast of Brest, within the département of Finistère....

, Saint-Malo, Lorient
Lorient South Brittany Airport
Lorient South Brittany Airport or Aéroport de Lorient Bretagne Sud , also known as Lorient-Lann-Bihoué Airport, is the airport serving the city of Lorient...

 and Rennes
Rennes - Saint-Jacques Airport
Rennes – Saint-Jacques Airport or Aéroport de Rennes - Saint-Jacques is an airport about 6 km southwest of Rennes, Ille-et-Vilaine, in the region of Brittany, France....

. Flights between Brittany and the Channel Islands
Channel Islands
The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two separate bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey...

 are served by Saint-Brieuc
Saint-Brieuc - Armor Airport
Saint-Brieuc - Armor Airport is an airport situated northwest of Saint-Brieuc, a commune of the Côtes-d'Armor department in the Brittany region of northwestern France....

 airport. Several cities in Great Britain and Ireland are also served from Nantes
Nantes Atlantique Airport
Nantes Atlantique Airport is an international airport serving Nantes, France. It is located southwest of the city, in Bouguenais.The airport is operated by the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Nantes...

, Loire-Atlantique département and former capital of the historic province of Brittany. The main airlines include, among others, Ryanair
Ryanair
Ryanair is an Irish low-cost airline. Its head office is at Dublin Airport and its primary operational bases at Dublin Airport and London Stansted Airport....

, Flybe
Flybe
Flybe Group PLC is a British low-cost regional airline headquartered at the Jack Walker House at Exeter International Airport in Devon, England...

, Aer Arann
Aer Arann
Aer Arann is a regional airline based in Dublin, Ireland. Aer Arann operates scheduled services from Ireland and the Isle of Man to destinations in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and France, with a fleet of 18 aircraft. Aer Arann has expanded from a single aircraft to Ireland's third largest airline...

, Aer Lingus
Aer Lingus
Aer Lingus Group Plc is the flag carrier of Ireland. It operates a fleet of Airbus aircraft serving Europe and North America. It is Ireland's oldest extant airline, and its second largest after low-cost rival Ryanair...

, Air France
Air France
Air France , stylised as AIRFRANCE, is the French flag carrier headquartered in Tremblay-en-France, , and is one of the world's largest airlines. It is a subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group and a founding member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance...

 and EasyJet
EasyJet
EasyJet Airline Company Limited is a British airline headquartered at London Luton Airport. It carries more passengers than any other United Kingdom-based airline, operating domestic and international scheduled services on 500 routes between 118 European, North African, and West Asian airports...

.
Others smaller airport operates domestic flights in Quimper
Quimper - Cornouaille Airport
Quimper – Cornouaille Airport or Aéroport de Quimper - Cornouaille is an airport located in Pluguffan and 5.5 km southwest of Quimper, both communes of the Finistère département in the Brittany région of France....

, and Lannion
Lannion - Côte de Granit Airport
Lannion – Côte de Granit Airport or Aéroport de Lannion - Côte de Granit is an airport located in Servel, 3 km northwest of Lannion, both communes of the Côtes-d'Armor département in the Brittany région of France...



TER Bretagne
TER Bretagne
TER Bretagne is the regional rail network serving Brittany, in the north west of France.- Rail :-Road:*Carhaix - Rosporden*Vannes - Pontivy - Saint-Brieuc*Lorient - Loudéac - Saint-Brieuc*Fougères - Laval*Rennes - Mont-Saint-Michel*Rennes - Pontivy...

 is the regional train that operates in Brittany and the TGV
TGV
The TGV is France's high-speed rail service, currently operated by SNCF Voyages, the long-distance rail branch of SNCF, the French national rail operator....

 train services link the region with cities such as Paris, Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, Marseille
Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

, and Lille
Lille
Lille is a city in northern France . It is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium...

 in France. In addition there are ferry services that take passengers, vehicles and freight to Ireland, England and the Channel Islands.

Brittany Ferries
Brittany Ferries
Brittany Ferries is a French ferry company that runs ships between France, the UK, Ireland and Spain.-1970s and 1980s:Following the provision of the deep-water port at Roscoff, the company commenced in January 1973 at the instigation of Alexis Gourvennec, when existing ferry companies showed...

 operates the following regular services:
  • Plymouth
    Plymouth
    Plymouth is a city and unitary authority area on the coast of Devon, England, about south-west of London. It is built between the mouths of the rivers Plym to the east and Tamar to the west, where they join Plymouth Sound...

    -Roscoff
    Roscoff
    Roscoff is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in northwestern France.The nearby Île de Batz, called Enez Vaz in Breton, is a small island that can be reached by launch from the harbour....

     (Armorique, Pont-Aven, certain winter sailings operated by Bretagne)
  • Portsmouth
    Portsmouth
    Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

    -St Malo (Bretagne with winter service operated by Pont-Aven)
  • Roscoff
    Roscoff
    Roscoff is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in northwestern France.The nearby Île de Batz, called Enez Vaz in Breton, is a small island that can be reached by launch from the harbour....

    -Cork
    Cork (city)
    Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and the island of Ireland's third most populous city. It is the principal city and administrative centre of County Cork and the largest city in the province of Munster. Cork has a population of 119,418, while the addition of the suburban...

     (Pont-Aven, occasionally Bretagne)


Irish Ferries operates the following routes:
  • Rosslare
    Rosslare Europort
    Rosslare Europort is a modern seaport located at Rosslare Harbour in County Wexford, Ireland, near the southeastern-most point of Ireland's coastline, handling passenger and freight ferries to and from Wales and France....

    -Roscoff
    Roscoff
    Roscoff is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in northwestern France.The nearby Île de Batz, called Enez Vaz in Breton, is a small island that can be reached by launch from the harbour....


Image gallery




See also

  • Battle for Brest
    Battle for Brest
    The Battle for Brest was one of the fiercest battles fought during Operation Cobra, the Allied breakout of Normandy which began on 27 July 1944, during the Battle of Normandy during World War II....

  • Bleimor (Scouting)
  • Breton nationalism
    Breton nationalism
    Breton nationalism is the nationalism of the traditional province of Brittany in France. Brittany is considered to be one of the six Celtic nations...

  • Breton people
    Breton people
    The Bretons are an ethnic group located in the region of Brittany in France. They trace much of their heritage to groups of Brythonic speakers who emigrated from southwestern Great Britain in waves from the 3rd to 6th century into the Armorican peninsula, subsequently named Brittany after them.The...

  • Brittany national football team
    Brittany national football team
    The Brittany football select is the professional football team of Brittany, France. It is administered by Bretagne Football Association . It is neither affiliated to FIFA nor UEFA but is characterised as one of the six Celtic nations and has also been referred to as Little Britain, as opposed to...

  • Celtic languages
    Celtic languages
    The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

  • Celtic nations
    Celtic nations
    The Celtic nations are territories in North-West Europe in which that area's own Celtic languages and some cultural traits have survived.The term "nation" is used in its original sense to mean a people who share a common traditional identity and culture and are identified with a traditional...

  • Celts
  • Cornwall
    Cornwall
    Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

  • Derby Breton
    Derby Breton
    The Derby de la Bretagne is a football match. The match can potentially designate any match-up between two sporting football associations based in the historic province of Brittany, however, most of the time, it is employed by each club's supporters to mention a football match contested between...

  • Devon
    Devon
    Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

  • Dumnonia
    Dumnonia
    Dumnonia is the Latinised name for the Brythonic kingdom in sub-Roman Britain between the late 4th and late 8th centuries, located in the farther parts of the south-west peninsula of Great Britain...

  • Ethnic groups in Europe
  • Modern Celts
    Modern Celts
    A Celtic identity emerged in the "Celtic" nations of Western Europe, following the identification of the native peoples of the Atlantic fringe as "Celts" by Edward Lhuyd in the 18th century and during the course of the 19th-century Celtic Revival, taking the form of ethnic nationalism particularly...

  • Twinning/Jumelage between Breton and Cornish towns
    Cornish and Breton twin towns
    The following table lists the names of Breton communities which have concluded town twinning agreements with communities in Cornwall:-External links:*...

  • Wales
    Wales
    Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...



External links