I have recently visited two of Brittany’s four “departments”, the Côtes d’Armor (22) in the north and Ille et Vilaine (35) in the east, bordering on Normandy. So I wanted to share with you, some of the most beautiful towns I have visited or wishes to visit. Therefore, here is my top prettiest and charming medieval towns in Brittany, they all represent one of the heritage characters of Brittany (urban, maritime, castles, rural and religious)
Brittany’s prettiest and charming towns
Brittany is a very diverse region both architecturally and geographically. Breton have a strong cultural identity so they have preserved most of their heritage. From the several walled cities, fishing ports and rustic buildings to medieval castles, Brittany has become a very touristic region where culture and sea are on top of the agenda.
Auray is one of these quaint towns you will love at first sight. From its historic half-timbered and stone houses to its cobbled streets and the picturesque port of Saint-Goustan, Auray has all the ingredients of a charming town! The port town that used to be an important harbor is now a lovely place with restaurants, bars, and arty boutiques. Definitely worth a visit.
Situated between Rennes and Saint Malo, Bécherel is France’s first book town and third in Europe after Hay-on-Wye (Wales) and Redu (Belgium). With more than 15 bookshops, a monthly open-air book market and a popular Fête du Livre every year, the little town is the place of reference for book lovers of all age and gender. As well as being a culture/literature town, the village is also picturesquely beautiful.
Dinan, Côtes d’Armor
Dinan is the definition of the quaint beautiful Breton town. The charming little town, full of medieval history with a well preserved 13th-century castle and ramparts, is like a jewel. Walking through the narrow cobbled streets, you see how the locals care about and cherish their town. In my opinion, Dinan is the prettiest town in Brittany. A must see!
Another pretty and charming town is the little town of Fougères at the border of Normandy with a lovely medieval quarter. It is a must-see for its fairytale-like château. As a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire (town of Art and History) it offers lots of things to see and discover.
The historic walled seaside town of Saint-Malo should be in any Brittany itinerary. With its historic town centre, Fort National, castle, delicious seafood, beaches and galettes, Saint-Malo is an inevitable and unmissable place.
Located in Morbihan, southern coast of Brittany, Vannes is a pretty city that has retained its medieval features. Formally built on a fortified Roman site, the town has beautiful wood beamed houses and the magnificent Cathédrale de St Pierre. The quaint streets are full of nice shops, boutiques, and restaurants where you can enjoy the taste of Brittany and sample the delicious crepes, local cheeses, and oysters.
Vitré’s charm doesn’t stop to its grand high-rise half-timbered houses, stones cottages and quaint streets and fairytale-like castle. It offers also a place where you can enjoy nature. The several lakes offer great walking spots as well as places for bathing and enjoying water sports. Also with Mme de Sévigné at the town’s most famous former resident, you are sure to enjoy a bit of literature as well.
Have you visited any of these beautiful and charming villages and towns? Which one is your favorite? I am curious to know.
Editor’s note: This post was originally posted in October 2017 and has now been updated