Brittany forms a “region” in north-western France that is situated alongside the Atlantic Ocean and bounded to the east by the Pays de la Loire and Normandy regions.
The Brittany region consists of 4 départements: the Finistere (département 29), the Cotes-d’Armor (département 22), the Morbihan (département 56) and the Ille-et-Vilaine (département 35).
Brittany’s population is 3.00 million and its surface area is 27,200 km².
The Mystery of the Megaliths
Humans have occupied Armorica since the Palaeolithic era. Living originally as hunter gatherers, the population became settled in the Neolithic period (around 4500 BC), gradually mastering the techniques of raising livestock, cultivating crops and building. This was the civilisation that created the tradition of standing stones. Most of the megaliths (dolmens, tumulus, and menhirs) were constructed between 4500 and 200 BC. With almost 3000 standing stones spread over several sites, Carnac displays some of the greatest vestiges of megalithic art.
The Breton Legends
Brittany is well known for it’s numerous legends; Merlin the Enchanter and Tristan and Iseult are among the most famous.
Merlin the Enchanter
Brocéliande is the mythical name for the existing Forest of Paimpont, located to the South West of Rennes. The remains of a vast forest covering the centre of the peninsula during the Middle Ages, it is the source of many Celtic legends. The Knights of the Round Table found the Forest a worthy setting for their destiny and mission. King Arthur summoned them to find the Holy Grail, hidden in the Brittany woods. Merlin the Enchanter, friend and advisor to the young Arthur, was a privileged guest in Brocéliande. The Fountain of Barenton marks his first encounter with the Fairy, Viviane. Merlin loved Viviane so much that he built for her, under the pool reflecting the Chateau de Comper at Concoret, a crystal citadel. The one also known as the Lady of the Lake brought up Lancelot, future member of Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. Despite the great difference in their ages, the love of Viviane for the Enchanter was deep and loyal. But finally unable to bear the ravages of time, and using the magic she had learned from Merlin, Viviane bewitched him at the Fountain of Youth, restoring the youthful features of the old Druid. She then imprisoned him in perpetuity in nine magic circles, as solid as rock.
Brittany ’s Knights and Korrigans
Some of the most famous legends include the tale of the gentle giant Gargantua, Morgan La Fée, who imprisoned hapless lovers in the Valley of No Return and the Ankou, who gathered up the dead in his creaking cart... Along the jagged coastline and as far as the Monts d’Arrée hillsides, every part of Brittany has a legend to tell. The strange rocks and misty lakes in the age-old forest of Broceliande provide a marvellous setting for the tales of the Knights of the Round Table and their Quest for the Holy Grail. Here, Merlin the Magician built the Château de Comper for his beloved Vivian. The castle now houses the Centre de L’Imaginaire Arthurien, with exhibitions and events based around King Arthur’s legendary knights. Visitors flock to storytelling walks through the forest to the Valley of No Return, the Fountain of Barenton or Merlin’s Tomb. The centre’s annual highlight is the Arthurian week festivities held in late July.
"Crêpes" and "galettes"…Such an institution!
"Crêpes" and "galettes" are indisputably part of Breton culinary heritage. The main difference between "crêpes" and "galettes" lies in the making of the batter. The batter for "galettes" is salty whereas the batter for "crêpes" is sweet.
"Galettes" are made from buckwheat flour and can be served with ham, cheese and eggs (the typical "complète").
Wheat flour is used to make "crêpes". The butter and sugar "crêpe" is the most classic of all.