France in brief:
Easily accessible for visitors from the UK and
from Northern Europe, Northwest France
offers a variety of coastal and inland tourist destinations, with
plenty of attractions.
- France's most visited monument outside Paris -
lies on the borders of Brittany and Normandy
Situated a couple of hundred miles south of the
English Westcountry, this area of France is in many respects rather
like a warmer sunnier version of the West of England.... with less
crowds, notably in the inland areas. The northwestern parts of France
have a history
that is deeply entwined with the history of the south of England, and
there is a long tradition of migration and trade across the English
Channel going back to long before Roman times. These regional links
remained strong through the historic Celtic
migrations and the Norman conquest of England and are at the heart of
the strong cultural
links that have existed between England and Northern France for most of
the time since the Middle Ages.
north coast of Brittany, with its rugged granite cliffs and little
sandy coves, is fairly similar to North Cornwall, though a bit warmer
and sunnier. The south coast of Brittany can be hot in the summer
months.... though as with the West of England, rainy weeks remain a
possibility in any season. Inland Brittany is an area of
and valleys, rivers and meadows, in short a lovely rural area. The
region is well endowed with cycleways.
Click here for lots more about Brittany, including Brittany's
heritage, tourist attractions and a regional overview.
area from where William the Conqueror set out in 1066, has much in
common with the south of England between Devon and Sussex: sandy
beaches, rocky cliffs in the Cotentin peninsula, the famous white
cliffs of Etretat, and an inland area full of wonderful small towns and
villages, many boasting fine half-timbered houses. One such town is Bayeux,
home of the famous mediaeval Bayeux Tapestry, depicting the Battle of
Hastings. Off the coast in the west of the region lies the Mont St. Michel,
the most visited historic site in France outside Paris. Normandy is
also famous for gentle farmland with fields and hedgerows, its stables
and racehorses. The Normandy Beaches, Omaha, Juno and the others, scene
of the vital D-Day landings in the Second World War, draw many
visitors, including a lot of American tourists.
include sea food ("fruits de mer") , famous cheeses like Camembert, and
of course, like the S-W of England, cider. .. but also its more potent
If you want to experience the real France without too much driving,
Brittany and Normandy are worth considering.
Pays de la Loire:
The Pays de la Loire
region is more generally thought of as being central western France:
but the Loire Atlantique department, or at least the parts of it on the
north bank of the Loire, are strongly turned towards Brittany, and
Nantes, capital of the Loire Atlantique, was once the capital of
Brittany - a region to which it no longer belongs.
Also the Mayenne department, in the north of the Pays de la
Loire, juts up between Brittany and Normandy, which only actually share
a short common border.
Caen, Rouen, Rennes, Brest, Nantes