Advice / Brittany / October

May 19th, 2014, 07:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 39
Advice / Brittany / October

Last October, during a two week period, we stayed in Dinan, Bayeux, Honfleur and Paris. It was a wonderful holiday. We really enjoyed our time driving through Brittany and Normandy so we decided to go back to Paris and Brittany again this autumn. We planned our itinerary last year after receiving some wonderful advice on this forum and I am hoping to do the same thing this year.
We really enjoyed Normandy (Mt, Saint Michel, D-Day Beaches, Honfleur, Etretat, Giverny, etc.), but we especially liked Brittany (from the Cote de Granite Rose all the way to Cancale, etc.). After reading trip reports and seeing all the pictures (wonderful trip reports!!) by FMT, we realized that we had not seen one Menhir or Dolmen last year. Maybe that was because we were having such wonderful experiences and seeing such terrific scenery that we just didn't look for them. This year we would like to see another area of Brittany, possibly Morbihan and the Atlantic Coast of Brittany.
We are planning to spend between 6 - 9 nights traveling, then about 5 - 6 nights back in Paris. I don't mind driving, but I would prefer to spend time in one - three areas rather than driving all over the place. I had thought about combing southern Brittany with the Chateau area along the Loire, but my wife and I are not fans of touring chateaus. We prefer smaller, less touristy places (funny, because that is exactly what we are!) and we hope to get a glimpse of local life. Last year, based in your recommendations, we stayed in in each place for at least 2 nights and we really liked the idea of having a home base.
Anyway, there are so many possibilities. In 7-9 days we could see a lot of the country (Brittany) but not really experience much. Thank you in advance for your help!
crossen is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 08:10 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Well Quimper is nice but in Oct maybe not, Saumur is a nice little place on the Loire, they have the national cavelry regiment based there which can make it interesting
bilboburgler is online now  
May 19th, 2014, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Thanks for the thanks crossen. I'm assuming that you already have a link to my trip report for the Gulf of Morbihan but if not let me know and I'll post a link.

Brittany has the largest concentration of megaliths on the planet so you'll have no trouble finding them, especially in/around Carnac which is sort of ground zero for these features. If you look at your Michelin map you'll notice they have an icon for megaliths and you'll notice dozens of them around Carnac but they're fairly spread out all along the Atlantic coast and inland as well. But the icons on the map only show those that are designated as historic monuments and these ony account for about 10% of what's out there. When you're in small towns and villages in Brittany you'll often see signs pointing the way to local megalithic cites not shown on the map.

I know you are looking for one base but if you have 7 or more nights I might suggest two bases. You might consider splitting your time between the Finistère and Morbihan regions. These two regions are adjacent to each other but you'll waste time basing in one area and driving to the other. Certainly you could spend all your time in either area and not run out of things to see and do in 8 or 9 days but you'll have to decide on that.

Some popular towns in Finistère include Pont-l'Abbé, Benodet, Quimper (city), Locronan, Douarnenez, Châteaulin, Concarneau, Camaret-sur-Mer, Landévennec, Le Faou, Lopérec, Ploéven, Pont-Aven and the scenic view point at Pointe du Raz. Quimper is a lovely and historic small medieval city and makes a good base here. As other bases you might also consider Douarnenez, Châteaulin, Locronan, Pont-Aven or Concarneau.

Some highlights in The Gulf are the prehistoric alignments of menhirs (standing stones) at Carnac, the small medieval city of Vannes, Locmariaquer, La-Trinité-sur-Mer, the old town in Auray, Hennebont, Pontivy, Rochefort-en-Terre, Malestroit, Josselin, La Gacilly, Lizio and Redon among many others. If you went south of here you could also explore Guérande, Piriac-sur-Mer, Le Croisic and La Roche Bernard. The small medieval city of Vannes makes a good base here. Smaller places would be Carnac, Locmariaquer, La-Trinité-sur-Mer and the old town of Auray (the eastern portion on the river, not the western part). Certainly there are others.

If you want you can have a look at this thread for more tips about visiting Brittany and research resources:

You won't have to worry about tourist crowds in October so you can base in a town that would otherwise have lots of tourists in high season, like Pont-Aven, and there will only be the residents and a few tourists in October. Don't know what other advice I can offer but if you have any questions let me know and I'll be happy to help.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
May 20th, 2014, 09:28 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 39
Thank you both for your responses. I am definitely thinking about the Quimper area as well as a few more places. I know your are right FMT, we need to stay in more than one place, and probably some places on Finister would be good. Since you are from MA, you will understand what I am about to say as well as anyone on Fodor's French Forum. My wife and I prefer to spend time in Cape Ann versus Cape Cod. From Rockport through Essex to Newburyport, especially if we can find a B & B near the ocean in Rockport (off season). We lived in a village along the shoreline in CT, and it was only about 3 hours to Rockport from Madison, CT. We don't mind cooler weather (hopefully not rain though), but in October you are taking your chances anywhere.
I have read your trip report on Morbihan and I liked what you said about the Fest Noz so I googled it and looked for scheduled festivals in October. There is one scheduled for Sarzeau on October 18, so that might be place to stay for a couple nights before we head back to Paris
Kerouac has some wonderful trip reports too but I did not recognize any as being about places in Brittany. If you ever go back to NE and need some great off the beaten track recommendations, just let me know.
p.s. The best Native American museum I have ever been to is at Fowoods in Ledyard, CT (Pequots). You might be able to find out more about rock formations there, but I did not see anything.
crossen is offline  
May 21st, 2014, 05:33 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
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If you haven't found them here are a couple of websites where you can look for Fest Noz and fest Deiz:

Sarzeau is the nicest town on the Presque-Île-de-Rhuys but since you're on the peninsula you're kind of isolated. I think Carnac and nearby are better located for getting around but you can decide about that.

Never been to the Foxwoods museum but I was a volunteer at The Robbins Museum in Middleborough, MA and I highly recommend it. I am friends with the Tribal Historic Preservation Officers for the Narragansett and the Aquinnah Wampanoag and we used to go exploring the woods looking at rocks etc. Anyway, hope you have a great time and come back if you have any other questions.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  

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