CHILD OF WIND AND TIDES
This is a land that reaches out to the sea, its foam-whitened shoreline sculpted by the waves, its landscapes forged by the tides. The people of Brittany live from the land, the water and the estran, the wide stretch of sand and rock exposed at low tide. Between ocean and shore, the boundaries become blurred. The water flows inland through coastal marshes to the prés salés - the pastures whose salt-tinged grass gives the local lamb its distinctive flavor. To the north, Roscoff, Morlaix and Saint-Malo evoke the maritime adventures of the corsairs in the raucous cries of seagulls and the clacking of halyards. Lined with trails through the gorse and heather, the “Emerald Coast” offers the best shellfish for those with the patience to find them: the fine- fleshed abalone that thrives in the cold waters near the shore. At the far western end, Pointe du Grouin overlooks the sublime silhouette of mont Saint-Michel, the Chausey Islands and the Normandy coast.
To reach southern Brittany, the route leads away from the buoys and beacons, through a countryside redolent with the odor of salt spray and tilled soil. Here and there, the locals still follow the old practice of using seaweed to fertilize their vegetable gardens. Under a majestic vault of oaks and chestnut trees, the roads and lanes are marked out by sculpted crucifixes or simple stone crosses. They lead to another coastal landscape, bathed in a contrasting palette of light, a succession of cliffs, sandy bays, sheltered ports and seaside resorts. In the summer, the sailing schools of Quiberon and La Baule take their dinghies and catamarans out on bays protected from the high westerly waves. More experienced sailors venture out to the islets in the Gulf of Morbihan, a refuge for waders like the gray heron and white ibis. The pleasure boats can even go island-hopping all the way from northern Brittany to the southern end of the Pays de la Loire. Bréhat, Batz, Ouessant, Groix, Belle-Île, Houat and Hoëdic, Yeu… These tips of land emerging from the Atlantic, where the children live barefoot all summer long, are the region’s loveliest treasures.
Restaurant and hotel on the seafront. On the sand dunes, facing the charming port of La Gravette, Anne de Bretagne is a contemporary villa, perfectly placed to enjoy the best of Brittany. There are breath-taking views over the ocean from the suites and the Italian-style terraces. In the excellent restaurant, Philippe Vételé’s cuisine is inventive with a touch of the sea, in perfect harmony with the wines selected by Michèle Vételé, a highly-recognised sommelier. In season, you can try wild clams with shredded leek. Fish and shellfish create a perfect match: “slow-cooked” line-caught sea bass is served with a sardine concassé, a string of winkles and a sea lettuce emulsion. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. The secluded island of Belle-Île-en-Mer is the ideal setting for a restorative getaway. You reach this aptly named “beautiful island at sea” by boat, with its rocky coves with turquoise water, blooming hills and pastel-hued ports. Castel Clara Thalasso & Spa overlooks with its two buildings inspired by Belle-Île the picturesque Goulphar Bay, where the Impressionist Claude Monet liked to paint his magical landscapes. Marvel at the views of the Aiguilles de Port-Coton, a series of sculptural rocky formations jutting out in the middle of the ocean, savour the delights of seafood cuisine, or head to the thalassotherapy centre or spa to discover the new Ludique & Design pool. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. This Belle Epoque Mansion house with its sophisticated décor by Jacques Garcia overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and La Baule’s fine sandy six-mile-long beach. Every detail counts. This villa, now a hotel, is an ideal retreat for couples and families who want to spend some special time together. The delicious breakfast already hints at the chef’s treats in store, such as pigeon breasts in wild hay. You can enjoy all the activities offered by La Baule Resort: golf and the Thalgo Thalassotherapy Centre, an evening at the Casino and water sports in the bay when the weather is fine. Here time stands still and you can get around on the bikes available at the hotel. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. Locguénolé is located next to the dark waters of a sea inlet in the heart of a land of legends. The Château and the small Manor House overlook a wide estuary where the light and landscape change with the tides. These buildings from the 18th and early 19th centuries are set in wooded parkland and have remained in the hands of the same family for centuries. They boast a combination of modern comfort and tradition with classical décor and period furniture. The creative cuisine is based on a subtle pairing of ingredients from the Morbihan terroir and the ocean. A private pontoon permits sailors travelling up the Blavet from Lorient harbour to dock at this delightful haven. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. Bertrand Jaquet, owner of Domaine de Rochevilaine, has a genuine passion for Brittany and his desire to share that love with his guests is evident. Be seduced by the breathtaking, typically Breton setting on the Vilaine estuary with its jagged cliffs and blue waters. Savour a Breton lobster like none other at the seaside restaurant, where dining feels a bit like being on the deck of an ocean liner. Listen to the sound of the waves during a restorative treatment at the spa, perhaps “la table phénicienne” (the Phoenician table), a massage patented by the property. Another one of Bertrand Jaquet’s passions is art, as can be discovered in the hotel’s wonderful art gallery. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on a golf course. The boundless charm of this estate works its magic as soon as you cross the gates. A 15th century castle nestles in the heart of magnificent parkland with ancient trees and outbuildings housing the guest rooms. Each of the rooms boasts an original décor and they all exude warmth, authenticity and sophistication: also the hallmark of the Chef’s inventive cuisine at Le Montaigu, and of the décor of the bar in the former stable block which has preserved the ancient marble feed and water troughs. The Cour Carrée spa is a perfect haven of peace offering well-being and peace of mind and the 18-hole golf course, designed by Henry Cotton, provides superb views over the castle. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in the country. Delightful French-style gardens and the historic walls of the Logis de la Chabotterie, a significant site in the Vendée war where General Charette was captured in 1796, provide the idyllic setting for this highly renowned restaurant. The two-star Chef Thierry Drapeau takes his inspiration from the surrounding countryside and its top-quality ingredients, then adding an artistic flourish to his fine regional cuisine. He favours herbs over spices, and creates a fragrant, brightly coloured "floral cuisine". Savory might accompany an asparagus starter, and pureed Vitelotte potatoes add a pretty dash of violet to a brandade of cod delicately flavoured with parsley juice. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. Formerly a smuggling port and refuge, Roscoff has remained a unique destination, with its waves of emerald, granite cottages and manor houses nestled amongst the cliffs. This hideaway is an ancient trader’s property with a swimming pool, spa and direct access to the beach. The chef will treat you to an exceptional quality of fish and seafood, directly sourced from the local fishermen. His cuisine is a reflection of modern Brittany; it is a real pleasure to see, to feel, to taste! A 15 minutes boat trip is all that is needed to discover the island of Batz, a “tropical” pearl with palm trees and beaches of fine sand that has been magically misplaced in the English Channel. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. Refined dishes such as lobster ravioli, croustille of tourteau, suckling veal and lamb from the Ponclet farm, white of turbot… take on a special flavour when they are served on the seafront in a wonderful place like Hôtel de la Plage. The panoramic restaurant overlooks the ocean and the vast beach of fine sand, only separated by a unique dry stone wall. There are similar views from the rooms, where you can hear the gentle lapping of the waves. Guests with families will enjoy the beach entirely dedicated to children, the water-based recreational activities and walks offered by the Bay of Douarnenez and the Finistère. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. For the past four centuries, this granite fort on the Croisic peninsula has stood guard over the moods of the Atlantic Ocean and the ramparts, moats and drawbridges of this look-out post of the savage coast are all still standing since the days of Vauban. Built to resist storms and attacks, today, behind this tough exterior there is charming oak panelling, sweet-smelling gardens, a sheltered swimming pool and a kitchen garden. The chef uses herbs and vegetables from the garden in his inventive cuisine that usually includes fresh seafood. For dessert, the slightly salty homemade caramel is a real treat. ... Learn moreless