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Brittany Culture, Heritage and Tradition


  • Brittany is synomymous with tradition especially in gastronomy, history, and religious domains.
  • While language music and festivals keep alive the celtic influence and traditions, the neolithic period has left a legacy of menhirs and dolmens, known all over the world.
  • Numerous fortified towns, castles, churches, cathedrals and museums are still present in the Brittany memory as a part of its architectural and cultural heritage.


Brittany Gastronomy
Drink
Brittany is known as the cider "country" with the famous Cornouaille cider, Loic Raison cider, Melenig cider, Kerisac cider or Kinkiz cider.
Brittany is the second largest cider-producing region in France.
Chouchen (sort of mead made from wild honey) and Lambig (apple eau de vie) are the two other traditional breton drinks.
Brittany also accounts for 15 breweries producing artisanal beers such as: Coreff of Morlaix or Bernard Lancelot.
Whisky is also produced by a handful of distilleries.
The most recent drink is kir Breton (crème de cassis and cider), served as an apéritif drink.

Food
As very thin and wide pancakes, Sweet "Crêpes" and salty "galettes" are indisputably part of the Breton culinary heritage.
Other pastries such as: kouign amann (butter cake), far (Yorkshire pudding), galettes de Pont-Aven (dry biscuits) and clafoutis (with plums) are traditional.
Brittany also offers a wide range of fresh seafood and fish, especially mussels and oysters or sardine and tuna.
The seafood platter is the typical gatronomic dish composed of an abundance of shellfish and crustaceans,served on a bed of seaweed.
Brittany is also well-appreciated for its famous "Andouille de Guéméné" and others pork and chicken recipes, acccompagnied with the famous cabbage and artichokes, potatoes.
Butter and salt are two strong symbols of Brittany.
Brittany Leisure and Festivals
Leisure
Brittany accounts for many traditional regional sports based on power competition such as the: "gouren", "essieu de charrette", " lancer de la pierre lourde"...
Brittany has also a worldwide reputation for its traditional music based on the following main instruments: Pipes, violin, oboe, drums, harp, hurdy gurdy, organ and clarinet.
Brittany is also alive with Celtic and mediaeval legends such as: Merlin the Enchanter, Tristan and Iseult the giant Gargantua, Morgan the fairy and the Ankou.

Festival Celebrations
Popular fetes and events are symbolized by this Pipes/violon combination with Celtic and modern influences.
Breton groups and artists such as Alan Stivell or Tri Yann animate lots of fetes and festivals, called "Fest-noz" encouraging various folk dances in line or pairs between young and old generations.
Traditional costumes are worn during festivals. The original feature of the women’s costume being the “coiffe” or bonnet, decorated with ribbons and lace.

Language
French is today spoken throughout Brittany.
The Brittany language called "Breton" originating from Celtic language accounts for between 250,000 and 500,000 speakers nowadays, some among the old generation and some of the younger.
Bilingual (Breton and French) road signs may be seen in some areas.
The recent influx of English-speaking immigrants and second-home owners in some villages sometimes adds to the linguistic diversity.
Places of interest in Brittany
Fortifications
Brittany accounts for 4,000 chateaux, manors and stately homes built in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance or other centuries.
Brittany includes numerous fortresses built in granit, such as the military fortresses of: Fougères, Vitré, Chateaubriant, Ancenis and Clisson or the maritime fortifications such as: Fort National at Saint-Malo, Château du Taureau at Morlaix, Fort la Latte at Fréhel, the citadel of Port Louis and the Vauban citadel at Belle-Île.
Slightly different but still interesting to see, residences of the Dukes of Brittany like Kerjean Castle and residences of famous writers like Chateaubriand in Combourg Castle.

Neolithic sites
Brittany is famous for its megalithic monuments and mysterious art vestiges, especially those in Carnac.
Brittany is the major site for megaliths in Europe and possibly the world, with about 3,000 standing stones through several sites.
Most of the megaliths: dolmens or long stones, tumulus or mound of earth and stones covering a mortuary chamber, and menhirs or standing stones arranged in a straight line, in alignment or in a circle were constructed between 4500 and 200 BC.

Religious monuments
In Brittany there is a very old pilgrimage called the "Tro Breizh" or tour of Brittany celebrating the seven venerated saints.
This spiritual and cultural route, long of 500 kms, goes across the towns of Dol, Saint-Malo, Saint-Brieuc, Tréguier, Saint-Pol-de-Léon, Quimper and Vannes and allows visitors to explore the religious heritage of Brittany including Roman Catholic abbeys, chapels, churches and cathedrals.

“Beautiful Villages”
Brittany accounts for some charming villages which have been awarded as “ Loveliest Villages of France” label. This is the case of: Île-de-Sein, Locronan or Saint-Suliac.

Museums
Brittany accounts for numerous museum through its 4 departments regarding marine and celtic heritage.
Maritime museums: "Le musée du bateau "in Douarnenez, "Le port-musée" in Port-Rhu or "Océanopolis" in Brest.
History and Partimony museums: "Musée de Bretagne"in Rennes,"Musée du Rail"in Dinan, "Musée rural de l'Education", "Le musée des beaux-arts", "Musée de la préhistoire", "musée de Carnac", "Musée d’art et d histoire" in St brieuc.

Cider Routes
The "Route du Cidre AOC Cornouaille" goes across about 38 communes from Faou to Riec-sur-Bélon. Clearly one of the best ways to discover the secrets of fabrication and degustation of the real cider.

Historical Routes
The "Route Chateaubriand" invites you to discover 17 sites and about 13 châteaux among "La Bourbansais", "Grand Donjon", "Caradeuc" or "Montmuran".


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