English Corner

52 of a total of 148 lighthouses in France can be found on the coast of Brittany. The Phare de Kermorvan belongs to the Breton municipality of Le Conquet. Pictures: Bretagne Tourisme

The unknown France

French Brittany has a rich history, plenty of variety and typical Breton cuisine. We take a detour to the most north-westerly region of France, a destination relatively unfamiliar to many in Switzerland.

Inspector Dupin knows Brittany like the back of his hand. Based on Jean-Luc Bannalec's crime novels, the actor Pasquale Aleardi from Dietikon investigates as Inspector Dupin in the north-westernmost region of France on ARD. Nevertheless, Brittany seems to be known only to a few in Switzerland and is often forgotten in the shadow of Paris and the French Riviera.

What the region has to offer came to the fore at a media event organised by Brittany Tourism in Zurich. The event focussed on the Breton capital Rennes and the Quiberon peninsula.

There is never a dull moment in Rennes

While public transport is imperative in Paris, exploring everything on foot in Rennes is possible. Contrasts play out between the numerous buildings from different eras: the city with around 230,000 inhabitants is considered the gateway to Brittany and is one of the greenest cities in France. If you look at Rennes' calendar, it's easy to lose track of the numerous festivals and events. Whether for shopping, cultural heritage or dining, Rennes has something for everyone.

Renne's cobbled streets invite you to take a stroll.

The city is perfect for a weekend getaway. If you are a food lover, make sure you are in Rennes on the first weekend of the month in order to enjoy the Marché à Manger. Organised by the Nourritures collective, an association of chefs, the gourmet festival takes place on the first Sunday of every month.

The Marché aux Lices also takes place every Saturday morning. It is the second largest market in France, after the Rungis wholesale market in Paris, and has been around for 400 years.

A break in the countryside

Brittany is diverse. It boasts a coastline dotted with lighthouses, 7,000-year-old menhirs (huge, upright stones) and the magical forest of Brocéliande, steeped in the legend of King Arthur.

Quiberon is one of the region's leading seaside resorts and is known for its long sandy beaches. For those who like to be active on holiday, the peninsula offers numerous hiking trails, places for beach fishing, sailing, beachcombing, kayaking or kitesurfing and is home to some of the country's most popular surf spots. If you take a walk along the rugged coastline, you will come across the legendary megalithic sites time and again.

Brittany offers a wide range of options for an active holiday, such as kayaking.

Brittany is known for its thalassotherapy: Whirlpool baths, jet showers, algae packs, wellness massages. The 16 therapy centres line the English Channel and Atlantic coasts and provide relaxation.

Crazy weather

«The weather is beautiful, several times a day» is the saying in Brittany. An old Breton proverb says that you experience all four seasons in one day due to the rapid changes in the weather. Rain and winds can appear briefly and then disappear again. The strong tides ensure that the weather never stays bad for long.

The climate remains mild throughout the year. Winter temperatures never drop below 0 degrees Celsius, while the average temperature in midsummer hovers around 20 degrees Celsius.


It takes just over an hour and a half to reach Rennes from Paris by direct train. If you prefer to travel by plane, you can fly from Zurich to neighbouring Nantes. By car, the journey takes around 9 hours. A minimum stay of 5 days is recommended to discover the region to the full.

In view of the Olympic Games in Paris in summer 2024, Rennes is positioning itself as an affordable alternative to the high hotel prices in Paris.

Guillaume Le Menn (Office de Tourisme Baie de Quiberon), Maud Gicquel (Tourisme Bretagne) and Raphaëlle Couloigner (City of Rennes). Picture: TN