Brittany is a peninsula, which extends some 150 miles into the Atlantic between the English Channel to the north and the Bay of Biscay to the south. A rich and vibrant coastline defines the area where fishing ports abound punctuating inlets, beaches, cliffs and islands. These features, picturesque countryside, historic towns, and the legacy of Celtic Culture all combine to make tourism an important element in the regional economy. The region’s capital, Rennes, is a major administrative, retailing and university centre for eastern Brittany.
The region is steeped in ancient history and the Celtic tribes, which dominated the area in the 5th and 6th centuries, were predated by the first settlers, who dotted the countryside with ancient standing stones, no more apparent than those in and around Carnac. The Britons (later called Bretons) who occupied the area after the Roman occupation had mostly fled from Great Britain during the invasion by the Angles and the Saxons. During the 5th and 6th Centuries the Bretons succeeded in converting the original Celtic tribes of the area to Christianity.
St.Malo in Northern Brittany lies on the English Channel at the mouth of the river Rance. The historic walled town has a strong maritime history and was the birthplace of the renowned mariner and explorer Jacques Cartier. The town takes its name from the Welsh saint Maclou or Malo, who lived in the area during the 6th Century and became the first bishop of Aleth (renamed St. Servan). Nearby you will find the world renowned Mont St.Michel, a rocky, cone-shaped isle nestling in the gulf of St.Malo connected by a causeway to the mainland. Above the shops and houses on the isle stands an imposing Benedictine abbey mostly dating from the 13th Century. The abbey withstood the assaults of the English during the Hundred Years War, became a prison during the French Revolution and now represents one of France’s most important historical monuments.