The French region of Brittany is widely regarded as a fantastic holiday location for British travellers thanks to its warm climate and close proximity to the English Channel. And with over 1600 miles of beautiful, unspoilt beaches reaching out from France’s north-west headland into the Atlantic Ocean, it has built an impressive reputation for its glorious sands as well. There are the historic coastlines to enjoy with their World War tales, dedicated museums and general austerity, the tourist beaches, with enough sun loungers and ice cream vendors to rival the best that Bournemouth has to offer, and the quiet, escapist shores where long walks through the tumbling surf are more of an attraction.
In fact, Brittany’s beaches are so popular that tourists return year after year to visit the same locations, or to discover a little more of this enticing region. If you’re new to the area and aren’t sure where to head, here are some of the best beaches Brittany has to offer:
The city of St Malo is home to not only one of the nicest stretches of sand in the north of France, but one of the biggest ferry ports in Brittany as well, which is why is has grown a tourist industry that is mostly comprised of British holiday makers. It stretches along the eastern side of this historic city, walled off by the ancient fortress walls. It’s the perfect location for families who like to combine some sightseeing with sunbathing.
A long time favourite of family holidaymakers, Dinard is a classic seaside resort with three beaches. The shallow waters and clean sands make this a great location for children to play safely, and the town has built on this idea, providing beach clubs for kids during the main season and offering sailing lessons and trips for tourists.
On the southern coastline of Brittany lies the town of Carnac. Located close to the Gulf Stream, this pretty stretch of sand enjoys very Mediterranean weather during the summer season, giving it a popular boost from tourists who want to bathe in the shallow Atlantic waters here. With water-sports and a sailing club further down the beach, there are plenty of things for everyone to do.
Once named the Best Beach in Europe, the 7km of white sands at La Baule form part of one of the regions oldest seaside resort. This old Breton town, a delightful mix of ancient villas and modern luxury hotels, is considered Brittany’s gateway resort, leading into the historic Loire valley with its abundance of castles and history.
The town of Roscoff is a favourite destination with British holidaymakers leaving from Portsmouth. Located on the western coastline of Brittany, this old shipping port has seen a revival thanks to its booming tourist industry. One of its best beaches is Laber which is only a short distance from the historic town centre, and offers some excellent diving for adventurous travellers.
Le Val Andre
As holiday resort locations go, Le Val Andre has something for everyone to enjoy. The white beach here is typical of many Victorian-era British resorts, with a long stretch of sand paralleled by a lengthy promenade walk. The local shops are a short distance away, with plenty of diversionary shopping and dining to enjoy, and the resort comes into its own during the evening, when the bars and casino open their doors.
Le Mont St Michel
The beaches around the startling town of Le Mont St Michel are as well worth the visit for the beautiful sands as they are for the uniqueness of the area. Crossing the sandbar at low tide to reach the lower car park of the town’s rocky outland is an experience not to be missed. The beach back at the mainland offers the chance to spend some pleasant hours in the sun, unless the local delights of the island’s shops, winding their way upwards to the Monastery at the top are too difficult to miss.
Located just north of the town of Granville is the isolated beach land of Les Salines. It’s easy to get to, and not exactly remote, but it doesn’t attract the crowds of tourists that the most popular and well-known beaches do. The facilities are limited with a few food vendors and some temporary toilets as your only options, but the view and the solitude are worth going for. This is an ideal beach for families and couples who need a little time for themselves.
Written by: Fiona Galloway, Editor