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Dublin: 12°C Saturday 19 September 2020

7 totally justifiable reasons to book an autumn break in France today

Brittany, to be precise.

THIS SUMMER MAY have been a bit of a wash out (standard for Ireland, to be fair) but that doesn’t mean you are fated to not see the sun at all this year.

Gorgeous Brittany, in north-west France, is much luckier than us weather-wise so if you need to get a little sunshine boost before the winter hits, you know where to go. And if the sun isn’t reason enough to head there tout suite, here are seven more.

1. Extend your summer

Source: Maëlick via Flickr/CC

Brittany is fortunate in that it gets good weather most of the year round, so if you need to extend your summer a little, you know where to head to. With nearly 3,000 kilometres of coastline, (which is almost a third of all of France’s coastline) you can avail of Britanny’s many beaches and coves. With great walks and drives all along the coast, you can get some exercise and sun at the same time.

2. If you feel a little (water) sporty

full_MEDIA_ea57aa10-8b27-4344-99b4-0445c0220bf1 Source: Tourismebretagne

If you’re less of a ‘lying on the beach’ person and want something more active, then you’re also going to the right place. In Brittany you can avail of water sports such as surfing, bodyboarding, paddleboarding, kite surfing, wake boarding and windsurfing as well as more leisurely watersports like yachting and cruises.

3. History everywhere you look

Source: sybarite48 via Flickr/CC

Brittany is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in Western Europe. The first settlers there were Neanderthals. After that there were Celts, Romans and Britons – and all that before the Middle Ages. It’s safe to say, no matter where you are in Brittany you’ll find something amazing to look at – whether it’s an ancient castle, abbey or convent, a monument or something fascinating in one of the many museums.

4. Apple picking and cider making

Source: www.tOrange.biz via Flickr/CC

Apples are prevalent in Breton cuisine and autumn is the time to harvest them. You can help pick the apples, or if you’re feeling less energetic you can avail yourself of the fruits of others’ labour.

From tasting delicious tarte tatin to partaking in a cider festival there’s plenty of appley goodness to enjoy in the region.

5. Check out the giants

full_MEDIA_5ca4b409-649e-48e7-8648-032f4a3c1b2b Source: Tourismebretagne

In the heart of Brittany there is a hillside where dozens of granite giants live. Every year new giants are sculpted and added to the collection.

It’s called the Valley of the Saints and each of the statues is around four metres high. They are all sculpted in a distinctive style with one reminiscent of The Petit Prince and another similar to a Native American. There are guided tours every day until September and you can see the sculptors at work.

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6. Live like a Russian princess

Source: Tourismebretagne

Or at least…  see how one lived. There is a 13th century chateau in Concarneau that was given a neo-Gothic upgrade by Zenaida Yusopova – the aunt of Tsar Nicolas II.

She incorporated symbols to represent Breton history and tradition into the redesign and while the chateau has had several owners since it has been been restored and maintained to be fit for a… princess.

7. Visit the islands

mouton_ouessant_large_rwd Source: Brittanytourism

With so much coastline to avail of for scenic drives and day trips, don’t forget to check out some of the many islands.  You could head out to the Ile de Batz from Roscoff, just a 15 minute boat trip away. It has an exotic garden, unspoilt beaches and great views from the lighthouse.

If that doesn’t float your boat, head over to the Ushant and the Iroise Islands, where you’ll find France’s most westerly site – Pointe de Pern, as well as famous shipwrecks and one of the world’s smallest sheep.

Are you planning any trips away this autumn? Let us know in the comments below.

The easiest way to get to Brittany is by sea with Brittany Ferries from Cork to Roscoff. Your break starts the moment you drive aboard with award winning service and great facilities including a choice of restaurants, cinemas, bars, shops, pool and even spa treatments. What’s more taking your own car means you can pack all you need for your time away and have the freedom to explore at your own pace. Bon Voyage!

Sponsored by:

Brittany Ferries

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