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Dear readers, 

Today we’re thrilled to welcome a new contributor to MDK, Solène Le Roux. Having lived in France’s Brittany region for ten years, she knows this beautiful land well and is an experienced guide for small groups of knitters. Solène’s virtual tour of Brittany has us longing for the day when we can pack our bags again and explore together. Someday!

—Kay and Ann

Brittany is a vast region at the west of France, surrounded by the sea. It has wild coasts, little mountains, and forests. It is steeped in history and legends of mysterious creatures like korrigans (gnomes), water fairies, and the very frightening Ankou, a personification of death who stars in many stories. Brittany has a strong, rich local culture, with delicious food such as crêpes, which have become famous worldwide.

Brittany is my home region, and I’m excited to share with you a few of the things I love the most about it to help you plan a perfect weekend there.

Our tour will center on the Finistère. In the Breton language, Finistère is Penn-ar-Bed, which means “end of the world.”

It’s a great place to visit year-round, as the weather is pretty much always the same: mild and rainy. Don’t get too discouraged by the rain though, it rarely lasts for long and when it’s a bit rainy or foggy, just head straight for the coast as the wind washes it away and you will usually find big rays of sunshine there even though it’s raining just a few kilometers inland. If you want to enjoy the beach, you will get a better chance to take a swim during the warmer months, between June and September.

Lovely Harbor Towns

Brittany has many charming harbor towns that are worth a visit.

One of my favorites is Concarneau, in the South Finistère, with its ville close (walled town) built on the sea during the 15th century. Take some time to wander in its beautiful streets where you can see many local artisans’ shops. You can also visit the Musée de la Pêche to learn more about the history of fishing and its ties to this unique town.


Another town that I love is Douarnenez, a little farther west, where I learned to sail. Douarnenez has a rich fishing history and a beautiful town center, with beautiful boutiques and book shops.

Wild Landscapes and Sheep

Following the coast from Douarnenez, our next stop is the Crozon peninsula.

If you talk to Breton people, you will notice that they make a very strict division between South Finistère and North Finistère. Even though they share very similar cultures, they consider themselves pretty different from one another. For a South Finisterian,  making a trip “north” is a big deal.

But right in the middle, between those two worlds, is the Crozon peninsula, beloved for its beautiful beaches, hiking paths along the wild coast, and small charming villages. You can spend a whole day exploring it.

You can go see the Lagatjar stone rows which gather an impressive collection of 65 menhirs. They are a beautiful example of the many menhirs that you can find in Brittany. The word menhir derives from Breton words meaning long stone. These standing stones date back from the Bronze Age; archaeologists still struggle to understand why people erected so many stones. You can wonder about this mystery while walking between these ancient stones filled with history.

If you’re into minerals and crystals, stop by the Maison des Minéraux, where you can learn about the geology and minerals of Brittany, and marvel at magical fluorescent rocks.

Finally, go for a hike on the Pointe de Dinan, and you might run into some lovely sheep grazing there in the Kergillé farm where Vincent and Emilie raise local sheep breeds: Roussin de la Hague and Landes de Bretagne, the original native breed of Brittany.

The sheep live outside year round, and graze the land of the whole Pointe de Dinan. They change pasture every few days as to not damage the land, so you never know exactly where you will find them!

Local Yarn

If seeing sheep has gotten you in the mood for some local yarns, Brittany’s got you covered. Just a bit northeast from the Crozon peninsula, in the little town of Landerneau, is a lovely studio yarn shop called Bouclelaine.

Bouclelaine is owned and run by Brigitte and Clotilde, a mother-daughter duo of passionate local wool lovers who started their own yarn brand in 2016. They work closely with local farmers and go directly to the farm to collect the wool from their sheep and sort out the best fibers. They then create interesting blends of local yarns that are rustic yet soft enough for our knitters’ hands. They create gorgeous local palettes.

I am a huge fan of their yarns. My favorite is their Ouessant base, made with wool from sheep living on the island of Ouessant. Make sure to ask Clotilde and Brigitte about the stories behind their yarn.

Before visiting Bouclelaine, call or email to make sure that they will be there, because they sometimes are away, at farms or local wool festivals.

Breton Culture

Brittany has a distinctive religious heritage. The region is Catholic, but many elements were borrowed and adapted from older Celtic customs. The worship of saints is particularly strong in Brittany, and can be seen through the many beautiful churches with unique sculptures on their enclos paroissiaux (Parish closes) that you can find mostly in the North Finistère, in the Monts d’Arrées. It can be worth dedicating an afternoon to visiting a few of them; if you only have time for one, the one in Guimilliau is probably the most beautiful.

If you are here in the summer, then you will probably see many announcements for “Pardons.” These are religious festivals, often turned into big village feasts where you will find food and traditional Breton games, and get to chat with the locals. They are usually paired with a Fest-noz (night festival), where you will get a chance to learn a few steps of Breton dance while listening to traditional Breton music played with instruments like the bombarde and the biniou (which is close to the Scottish bagpipe), and Kan ha diskan, the traditional a capella singing.


When you come to Brittany, you can’t miss crêpes. They are everywhere, and they deserve their delicious reputation.

There are two types of crêpes: Crêpes de Blé Noir (also called Galettes in the eastern part of Brittany), which are made with buckwheat and eaten with savory toppings such as eggs, ham, cheese, vegetables, and Crêpes de Froment, made with regular wheat and topped with sugar, salted butter, honey, chocolate, and jam. Both are delicious and a crêpes meal usually includes one or two crêpes of each type, depending on your appetite.

You can find crêpes made on a machine like this to take home with you after your trip, and head to one of the many crêperies that you can find on your way to eat lunch or dinner.

Here are two of my favorite crêperies:

Le Petit Chaperon Rouge in Concarneau is located in a lovely house facing the ville close. The staff is very welcoming and they’ve been making delicious crêpes for decades. Be sure to make a reservation because it is always full.

Crêperie de Saint Maurice in Clohars-Carnoët not only makes delicious crêpes but is also located in an idyllic setting, with its terrace facing the river and the Saint Maurice abbey. After lunch you can visit the abbey or take a walk in the beautiful natural park.

I hope that you enjoyed this little tour and that it will make you want to visit Brittany soon!

Here is a map of all places mentioned. If you know Brittany, feel free to use the comments to suggest your own favorite places, I would love to know what they are!

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About The Author

Solène Le Roux is a knitwear designer who hosts knitting retreats in France. She grew up in Brittany, spent 10 years living in Paris and is now in the process of opening her own retreat center in southwest France.

Solène’s true passion is to help knitters pause, connect and grow within their craft and themselves. She loves gathering knitters from all over the world in beautiful European locations for peaceful, creative experiences, shared with small groups of passionate knitters. You can keep up with her at her website, Solène Knits.



  • Thank you for the lovely virtual visit! Years ago I stayed on the Quiberon peninsula for a few days and this brings back fond memories of the Brittany Coast. My two most memorable memories of that trip was a day exploring on horseback and a trip to see the Alignements de Carnac.

    • I’m happy that you liked the virtual visit and that it brought back such lovely memories! 🙂 And I agree with you, Quiberon is really a gorgeous place and I have a thing for menhirs so I’m pretty fond of Carnac too!

  • Now on my post pandemic bucket list!!

    • Mine, too! I so want to go!

  • I look forward to being able to travel once again! And I will add in a LOT of Breton oysters!

    • Yes, Brittany is well known for its delicious seafood! But I’m the odd Breton who doesn’t like seafood (don’t tell the others though, it always gets me in trouble at big family gatherings ^^)

  • Ohh Brittany and the Bretons! I lived there in high school and eventually married one. Twenty years later, I still love our visits home and am missing seeing friends and family right now. Yarn wise – I like Les Toisons Bretonnes. Made a scarf from a gradient I picked up last Spring when we visited. ( I tend to stay in southern and central Brittany (St. Nazaire, La Baule or Rennes) Based on family but love our time in the Morbihan in Crac’h. Feeling homesick for my adopted family now! ❤️

    • Thank you for sharing your lovely story! <3 And I agree on Les Toisons Bretonnes, they have really great yarn! I hope that you will be able to visit your breton family again soon.

    • I can’t help wondering if you were in Rennes for SYA? My daughter was in that program as well and loved it. We’re still in touch with her French family 25 years later.

      • Yes other Pam, I was in Rennes! I was with the Rotary Youth Exchange. One of the best experiences I could have had. Still waiting on vaccines so we can get back there. My host parents came to the States when I got married and we email regularly. ❤️

  • Thank you for this tour to Brittany! We had a big family trip planned this month to Treguier in northern Brittany, but of course, had to cancel. I’ll save this for my Brittany file as I hope to eventually visit one day. It sounds as wonderful as we expected.

    • You’re very welcome! I do hope that you will be able to take that trip one day 🙂

  • Thank you Solène for this great list of places to visit. I’ve been living in Rennes for four years now, so the eastern part of Brittany, inland, and I’ve yet to discover Finistère and the islands. Brittany is a beautiful region indeed, people can seem a bit rough but they are really friendly. After spending years in Quebec, Brittany seemed like the most logical place to be, since people from the West are the ancestors of the majority of the Quebec families. They even share some idioms, so the transition was easier than if I had moved back to Paris. I did not know about the Bouclelaine yarns, I will check them out.

    • You’re very welcome! And thank you for sharing your story. I grew up near Rennes so I know this part of Brittany very well too (my whole family is from South Finistère). It has a pretty different feeling from the western part though, it’s like halfway between the Finistère and Paris, in distance as in culture (plus it’s a gallo and not celtic part of Brittany). The more you go west, the more the people can seem rough, but they are also very direct and truthful. They also like to gather a lot. Compared to other regions of France, Brittany is where you find the most pubs and the most village festivals where you can easily have a conversation with a stranger. I didn’t know that we shared idioms with Quebec, now I definitely want to look that up thank you for mentioning it!

  • I will definitely save this information. Thank you. These days I’ve been reading a wonderful series of mysteries set in Brittany written by Jean-Luc Bannalec. He mentions many of the places mentioned in this column.

    • Thank you for the book recommendation. I checked out an audio book By Mr. Bannalec from my library. Free audio book – yeah!!

  • I so appreciate this Delightful Respite to begin my Friday. Thank you very much. Looking forward to new adventures on the Brittany coast!!

  • I love the idea of a knitting retreat. Right now it is a virtual experience like today’s presentation. In my part of the world we were just notified that the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair 2020 is cancelled. It is always our September Road trip destination from London ON.

  • Hope that I’m not to old at the end of this pandemic! I sure would love to take a walk in Brittany

  • I love Brittany and have visited several times. Although I’ve never been yarn shopping there. The campsites in France are really amazing so worth considering for visitors from the states. Solène is right about the crepes, but do also try Kouign Amann which is a buttery cake which defies description but is the yummiest thing you will ever eat and can only be bought in Brittany.

    • I second you with the Kouign Amann! Although I personnally prefer the Gâteau Breton which is a bit dryer but equally charged with delicious egg yolks and butter.

  • Oh, Bretagne is beautiful! When I go it is to visit friends who live in Montours, so east of where this is. We often go to Fougeres, and at least once to St. Malo for fantastic ice cream ( I always get Violette – we have nothing like it in the states).

  • Ahhh! We were supposed to travel to Paris, Brittany, and Normandy this summer. I am bookmarking this post for when we’re able to go. It looks so lovely. We’ve been working hard on learning to make crepes at home, but can’t wait to taste them in France!

    • Congratulations on learning to make your own crêpes! I don’t know if you use a pan or the traditional billig, I personnally find it easier on the billig because you can obtain a very thin crêpe which makes it even more delicious and slightly crisp (we use the word “kraz” in breton). I hope that you will be able to take this trip to Brittany maybe next year!

  • Wonderful. Thanks so much for the best vacation I will take this year! A retreat, you say….

  • And the tiny coastal village of Beg Meil is very beautiful. The hydrangeas there are the deepest blue/purple/indigo I’ve ever seen. Brittany is heaven! Merci beaucoup!!

    • De rien ! 😉 I completely agree with you with Beg Meil, I’ve been to the beach many times there, it’s beautiful. And the hydrangeas, yes! The only other place where I’ve seen such beautiful hydrangeas as in Brittany are on the portuguese island of Madera.

  • Oh my goodness, what a post! I was lucky enough to have eaten those crepes at an authentic Breton restaurant in Paris and feasted on spectacular mussels in St. Malo (as fresh as if just caught with the best butter) and never had better of those two foods anywhere else in the world. Now I want to visit All of Brittany. The churches and those picture postcard sheep!

  • Thank you for the virtual travel opportunity and wonderful photos.
    I LOVE the Bannalec audio books! I listened to them more than once, which is rare. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the county/region of Brittany itself is one of the “characters.” I now see that there is a third book available in audio book format. Something to knit to this weekend.

  • Be sure to visit Rochefort-en-terre, named favorite village of the French in 2017 and favorite Christmas village and always on the lists of most beautiful villages in France. I live here In Rochefort much of the year, and was overjoyed to meet the owners of Bouclelaine last fall. Vannes is lovely. And Carnac is the largest megalithic site in the world. The Cote Sauvage is spectacular. Loved your roundup.

  • Not yarn related, my name is Sholeen and is irish in origin, wondering if you pronounce your name the same way. I know there are other Sholeens in the world but I have yet to meet one.

    • I had never heard of the name Sholeen, it’s pretty! The pronounciation is quite different as Solène is pronounced something like so-LEHN (although I know that most americans say it like so-LEEN). I don’t know if there is a common origin though, Solène is considered a breton name and it originally comes from latin.

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  • I will try to save knitters weekend suggestions.

  • Thank you for this look into the beauty of Brittany. As a proud owner of three Brittany dogs, I enjoyed seeing the land of their roots.

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