Finistere....The Feisty North...Le Sud Sophistiqués and the
But don't be put off by the 'rugged west' bit...it's no more rugged than the west of Cornwall (where everyone wants to spend their retirement or go on holiday) and where the gulfstream ensures that crops grown are ready for sale before the rest of the country like Daffs in December. Finistere has been the last of the departments of Brittany to attract the full on attention of the UK market. But it is the area where the value for money is markedly improved. Ferry access from UK, via Poole & Portsmouth to St Malo is good...and, as well as air access into Brest from regional airports around the UK, anyone from the southwest of England benefits via the availability of the Plymouth -Roscoff ferry connection too. So, there's great opportunity just waiting for you in Finistere. Towns you will have heard of... Brest - an important sea port and naval city - first major landfall when crossing from the Americas so...busy and worth a vist - A reported 3 buildings only remained standing after the battle for Brest in WWII - after which it was a U Boat base until liberation - Brest Airport is the arrival point for many incoming flights from UK and Irish regional airports. Quimper (pron: Campere) the ancient capital of La Cornouaille (pronounced Cornwall - see what I mean? - we used to be joined up). The Stethoscope was designed/invented here. A very attractive city also famouse for its 'Faience' pottery. Good road and rail links from here all the way through to Paris. Morlaix, where the old quarter of the town has winding streets of cobbled stones and overhanging houses constructed of stone and timber. A very attractive area within easy reach of Roscoff. Ferry link with Plymouth... set up by Brittany Ferries in 1949 and founded by a co-operative of Breton farmers wishing to maximise their trade with UK...Also the jumping off point for the famous 'Onion Johnnies' who used to cycle around the south of England selling their wares... Some stayed and made their lives there. Alas a tradition which I believe has now come to an end.
A Google search on any of these town names will reveal more than I can ever assemble here.
Brest: Next stop Rio de Janeiro! - Brest was a strategic gain for the Germans in WWII... shame it had to be bombed to oblivion...but an interesting city nontheless.
Quimper: Be careful with your pronunciation - like 'Camp Air'... not Kwimper.We went there once but I didn't have my camera with me! Steeped in history! Its narrow streets area a delight. An ancient city which the Germans missed!
Concarneau...Avenues and alleyways... an ancient coastal town with a rich seafaring tradition...and, these days, a thriving (and very chic) marina.
Morlaix Bay...The whole of the north Finistere coast is a joy to discover...Think Finistere - think Devon and Cornwall. The fortifications?...Napoleon wanted to keep the British at bay...and later it was the Germans who used them for the same reason (except this time it didn't work)
Locronan...So oldy worldy... they used it as a key location for a film version of Tess of the d'Urbervilles. All they had to do was take down a few TV aerials and scatter some sawdust around and Voila!... a brilliant town to visit with some lovely antique and craft shops (classy...chic). Locronan was also the centre for the rope making industry when sailing ships ruled the waves...and, when the French navy (one assumes their biggest customer) switched to Steam, the order book looked bad and the worked dried up to a trickle.
These regional pages are far from finished - and we are always eager to travel further into Brittany and explore every time we are able to spare the time. Here are some links which will help you to discover more...
Chris & Micki Slade A House in Brittany Ltd., 2 Westbrooke, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 1RE Tel:01903 202272