It’s also never been easier to get there – Brittany Ferries offer the widest choice of ferry crossings to France for those looking to take the ultimate road trip. But if you’re unsure where to get started, check out any of these idyllic French destinations dotted along the west:
In Biarritz, everyone gets to holiday like a member of the royal family. Once the only destination for Europe’s most elite circles, Biarritz is now a hugely popular resort for those looking for a taste of the high life. The good news being that it’s nowhere near as exclusive to the rich and famous as it used to be, but is no less stunning than it was in the 19th century.
If you’ve decided to add Biarritz to your list, you might as well check out Bayonne while you’re at it. It’s only a stone’s throw away and easily accessible by car, serving up the kinds of cobbled streets and medieval buildings you’ll never tire of losing yourself in. Better yet, hire a bike for the day and explore one of the most stunning coastlines in Europe.
Though largely overlooked by the usual tourist mobs, Andernos-les-Bains is known by the more discerning travellers as a true hidden gem. Famed for producing some of the best oysters in the region, there are more seafront restaurants than you’d be able to make the most of in a month, let alone a brief hop!
Holidays in Brest are all about living the life aquatic. If you’ve never given the idea real thought before, there’s really no place in France better to take your first ever sailing lesson. Or if you prefer, take a guided tour of the waters with an expert at the helm before wandering the harbour and sampling the freshest seafood in all of Brittany!
If you’re out to experience the best of Brittany, Douarnenez doesn’t disappoint. Its position close to Brest makes it a great choice for multi-stop visits during your trip – its picture-postcard harbour being one of the highlights of the town. Seafood is also a firm part of the culture and history at Douarnenez, so it’s worth bringing a healthy appetite along for the ride.
This is the place to head for a unique definition of ‘island life’ you’ve probably never encountered before. Fort Boyard is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a seriously dramatic vista, as is the island of Oléron which is home to rare and unusual French architecture from many centuries ago.
One of the more famous entries to the list, La Rochelle is heading for its 1,000th birthday – something that tells you all you need to know about its culture and history. It’s a great place for diving into relics of France from a millennium ago, including centuries-old buildings and a walled harbour which looks like something from the set of Game of Thrones.
Saint-Nazaire lies on the banks of the Loire River and isn’t quite what you might expect from a classic Brittany town. But it’s this contrast that makes it worth adding to your agenda – not to mention its beautiful beach which can be found just outside the limits of the town. Saint-Nazaire is popular as a base or starting-point for a wider Western France adventure.
A definite highlight for those looking for their own private stretch of unspoilt coastline, there’s more than enough to go around at Barbâtre. Also popular with water-sports enthusiasts, the fact that this unique French commune gets overlooked by so many is one of the best reasons to check it out for yourself.
Last but not least, Guérande is famed all over Europe for its salt marshes, but is also an extremely pleasant place to visit on the whole. Don’t leave without first checking out La ville fortifiée de Guérande, not to mention taking a guided tour of those famous salt marshes.