Tourist Sites

Steam Train 

Running between Paimpol and Pontrieux you will find and enjoy the charm of days gone by, travelling aboard the famous Trieux steam railway. Powered by a Mallet locomotive, let yourself drift along to the on-going descriptions (available in English), given by people in period costume. After leaving Paimpol, the train runs along the river Trieux. You will enjoy a  45 minute stop at the manor in the Traou Nez estuary, in the centre of the forest, which will give you just enough time to have some crepes and cider whilst listening to the sound of bells ringing. Later you will pass by the Château de la Roche-Jagu, behind whose defensive façade hides a beautiful Breton manor house. The train then crosses the viaduct over the River Leff, a few kilometres before reaching Pontrieux. A unique, relaxing  and picturesque way to see the area.

For prices and timetable:

Étel estuary

Midway between Lorient and Quiberon, the Étel river flows inland from its hazardous mouth has been the end of many a fisherman and sailor.  It was once one France’s most important tuna fishing ports.  The river is well known for the hidden sandbar at the entrance, which moves around with wind and currents and simply disappears at high tide.

Nowadays it houses a marina and the Musée des Thonniers (Tuna fishery Museum) which charts the history of the industry as well as remembering some water tragedies including a massive storm in 1930 when 10 boats were lost and 72 people died.

Oyster farming

Famously, Oysters have been farmed along the estuary since the end of the 19th century and now there are about 75 farmers who produce around 3,000 tonnes per year; some permit visits to their farms and of course, you can find a riverside restaurant to taste them.

Picture perfect

Just north of Belz is the tiny island of St Cado, which is a former sardine port, accessed from the mainland by a very short stone bridge. It has pretty whitewashed houses and an ancient a 12th-century chapel on the site of a 6th-century structure founded by a Welsh priest, Cado. The story goes that after a horrendous storm the bridge was washed away and the devil appeared to Cado and offered to repair it for the price of the first soul to cross the bridge.  Cado agreed and sent a poor cat over the bridge…. Between the mainland and the island, a former oyster farmer's cottage sits alone on a rock in the middle of the river – it is a very famous photo often seen on postcards.

Pont Aven

Further west into Finistere and just east of Concarneau, Pont-Aven is famous due to his connections to impressionist artist Paul Gauguin. This attractive little village also has some lovely riverside walks, copious number of restaurants, and art galleries.

Until the mid-19th century, Pont-Aven, named after the River Aven which runs through it, was known for its water mills as well as its port. When the railways came to the area it brought tourism and in the 1860s some American painters discovered it and word soon spread throughout the artistic community about its merits and in 1886 Paul Gauguin arrived for the first of several stays; in 1888 he met fellow artist Émile Bernard and the town became a popular artist holiday resort, many making it their permanent home. Works by the École de Pont-Aven can be seen in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which also hosts exhibitions by contemporary artists.

See for yourself

This is the local loo….well it was way back when…a bench with a hole in it where you sit, do your business and it falls straight into the river….of course no longer in use due to pollution controls!

Riverside walks

One of the most spectacular walks in the area is the Promenade Xavier Grall, named after a famous writer who lived in the village.  It runs alongside the river and is lined with beautiful plants and shrubs throughout the year – a real pleasure to walk….

Take and eat the biscuit

Pont Aven has some great shops but as well as visiting those, you really do have to buy and try some galettes from Biscuiterie Traou Mad, where these butter biscuits were invented in 1920.

Flowery festival

The village is always bustling on 1 August when the Fête des Fleurs d’Ajoncs (gorse flower festival) takes place; here is where you will hear Breton music, see Breton dancing and taste regional food specialities and of course many locals are in traditional costume – the Pont-Aven dresses and handmade lace hats are regarded as Brittany’s most attractive.


Rochefort-en-Terre has been voted one of France’s most beautiful villages and as a result is one of Brittany’s most visited villages. Make your way through the narrow streets, past ateliers and workshops, admiring the geranium-bedecked houses along the way.

An American in Brittany

Rochefort was brought to the fore when a wealthy French-born American painter called Alfred Klotz bought the local château in 1907. Dating back to the 12th century, the château was destroyed by Republicans in 1793 and only the façade remains; the current building was constructed by Klotz. The château is open from May to September and exhibits some of Klotz’s paintings as well as a collection of objects from historic country life.

A flowery show

Klotz encouraged the local residents to dress their houses with geraniums, a tradition which continues, leading to Rochefort winning many awards for being one of France’s most beautiful villages in bloom.

Take a walk

The best way to explore Rochefort is to wander around its attractive streets admiring the mix of architectural styles, which range from 16th-century half-timbered buildings like the Café de la Pente to symmetrical stone-built Renaissance structures like the Post Office in Rue Notre Dame de la Tronchaye. From April to September, the streets are illuminated from dusk until midnight.

Due to the influence of Klotz and the title of ‘little town of character’ , the streets are dotted with artists and craftspeople: potters, a candle maker, a toymaker ……… but don’t leave town without visiting one of the artisan biscuit makers like Le Rucher Fleuri in Rue du Porche, which is highly regarded throughout the region for its pain d’épices. Whichever shop you visit look upwards: Rochefort is known for its unusual and colourful signs.

Other activities

About a mile outside Rochefort is the Moulin Neuf, a lakeside complex where you’ll find a supervised beach in summer as well as activities including tennis, fishing, cycling and paths for walkers.

Josselin is a “must-see” on any tour of the Brittany – it has a medieval castle, still lived in by members of the legendary Rohan family, a doll museum, and its attractive old town as well as canal-based fun or forest walks, there’s something to interest all members of the family.

Family seat

Overlooking the River Oust Valley, Josselin’s castle has been in the Rohan family on and off for centuries. In fact, the town is named after the son of the viscount who built it. The castle, now owned by the only remaining branch of the Rohan family, is open to the public from April to October. Visitors can admire the 19th-century dining room, the drawing room with its impressive 16th-century fireplace and the library housing more than 3,000 volumes dating from the 17th century. Around the castle are French-style gardens with vast lawns and low hedges as well as a rose garden with 40 different species. The gardens host a Medieval Festival each year on 14th July – with visiting medieval knights and damsels.

 Playing with dolls

Also in the castle grounds is the doll museum, which was opened in 1984 in the old stable block. The collection was started in the 19th century by the current owner’s great grandmother and now counts around 3,000 dolls and 2,000 other items including children’s toys and books. The museum puts on a different exhibition each summer.

In the town

Like many of Brittany’s towns, Josselin has its fair share of medieval half-timbered houses; the best examples are south of the Nantes-Brest canal in the Ste-Croix district. The main hub of activity is the town square next to the Gothic Basilica Notre Dame du Roncier – climb up to the top of the bell tower for panoramic views over the area. A lively market fills the surrounding streets on Saturday mornings.

Away from it all

The Nantes-Brest canal runs through Josselin and offers walking along the towpath or hiring a boat for an hour or a day. The nearby Bois d’Amour (love wood) is a popular spot with families or keen walkers and cyclists could take the GR37 to join the voie verte (green way) from Mauron to Questembert.

Gulf de Morbihan

In the temperate south of Brittany, the Gulf of Morbihan has been described as one of the most beautiful bays in the world. From the Rhuys peninsula in the east through the medieval city of Vannes and its ancient stone walls through to the wonderful sandy beaches at Locmariaquer, the gulf has something for everyone.

Boat trips

The most unusual feature of the gulf is its approximately 42 islands. Many are owned by celebrities but the two largest, Île aux Moines and Île d’Arz, are favourite tourist destinations in summer. The Île aux Moines is cross-shaped and offers scenic walks around its 4 miles of coast while Arz has lovely creeks and coves to enjoy a sheltered swim. One of the most popular activities is to take a boat trip around the gulf from Vannes, however, many visitors take the boat from Larmor-Baden to see the island of Gavrinis, probably the most impressive megalithic site in Brittany, whose long stone passageway is adorned with carvings.

Sacred stones Morbihan (little sea) has a huge amount of megalithic sites, especially at Locmariaquer. On the outskirts of this otherwise ordinary village are three very impressive constructions: Le Grand Menhir, now on the ground in four pieces (see below), is the largest stone ever erected in prehistoric Europe; the Table des Marchands stone burial chamber has engravings similar to those at Gavrinis and Er Grah.

Walled town

The lovely walled town of Vannes is a must on any visit to the area. Take a walk around the narrow, cobbled streets, through the medieval gates, before eating lunch at a café alongside the marina. If you’re with the kids, head down to the Parc du Golfe at Conleau for a look around the aquarium and Jardin aux Papillons (butterfly garden).

 Castle concerts

On the east side of the gulf is the Rhuys Peninsula, whose most popular attraction besides the seaside resort of Arzon is the 13th-century Château du Suscinio, one-time hunting lodge of the Dukes of Brittany, where they hold outdoor musical evenings in summer

The Wild Coast – Quiberon

Protruding into the sea for 9 long miles (14km) and just 72ft (22m) wide at its narrowest point, the Quiberon Peninsula or as the Bretons call it “presqu’ile – near island) is a tourist destination especially loved by the French. Locally called Wild Coast because of the rugged coastline, its sweeping sandy beaches, fishing villages and rich cultural history, this beautiful area of Morbihan certainly won’t disappoint.

 On the western side, the 5 mile (8km)-long Côte Sauvage (wild coast) is the perfect place for getting back to nature via a bracing walk. You will pass by hidden caves, arches and coves – but swimming is a definite no, due to the rough sea. The area is rich in flora and fauna, with a mix of dunes and heathland. As well as spectacular views over the coast and Belle-Île, Brittany’s largest island, there are the remains of a Roman fish farm and a Bronze Age fort.

Charming villages

The villages of Quiberon are a joy to behold: little clusters of granite or blue-and-white-painted fishermen’s cottages, ancient chapels; four ports where fishermen unload their catch and where weekenders moor their cruisers. Port Maria used to be France’s principal sardine fishing port and it still has around 200 fishing boats; it’s here too that you catch the ferry over to Belle-Île.


St-Pierre-Quiberon is the peninsula’s main village and it’s here that most of the activity takes place. The streets are crammed with fish restaurants, chandlers’ shops, art galleries and home deco boutiques. St-Pierre is best known as being the home of La Belle-Iloise fish cannery, where you can take a free tour of the factory before enjoying a tasting. Younger family members will love the niniche lollipops from Maison d’Armorine


As well as being France’s third most important fishing port, Concarneau has other attractions which make it a very popular place. The main one being the amazing ville close (walled town) which is not really visible from the promenade – certainly not to the extent when you visit inside – it is a bit like the tardis effect. Then there are some lovely sandy beaches and a lively maritime festival in August.

Fishing capital

Concarneau has made its living from the fishing industry for hundreds of years and the town remains an important centre: more than 100,000 tonnes of tuna are caught each year by Concarneau-based boats. It’s possible for tourists to visit the fish auction, canneries and also sometimes to assist the deep-sea fishermen to unload their catch. But more adventurous sorts might like to join an organised trip on an old sardine boat to try their own hand.

Popular attraction

The ville close is without doubt Concarneau’s most popular tourist attraction. This old stone fortified ‘town’ has just a few narrow streets filled with shops and restaurants, where geraniums tumble from window boxes. Take a walk around the ramparts for spectacular views over the area. Near the entrance to the ville close is the Musée de la Pêche, where visitors can learn all about the fishing industry and visit an old trawler.

Beach walks

Several scenic walks start in Concarneau, such as the pushchair-friendly route through Kérandon wood, but the most pleasant is probably the coastal path from Quai de la Croix, past the splendid villas, to the Sables Blancs beach. Here, in July and August, you’ll find water- and land-based activities to suit adults and kids alike.

A restored manor

On the outskirts of Concarneau is the Château de Keriolet, with its 19th-century Gothic architecture, part of which dates back to the 15th century. Restored to its former glory, the house is now open for guided visits.