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Experience Brittany: Outdoor activities surrounded by natural beauty

France is well-known for its stunning architecture, museums, castles, charming villages, food, wine, and overall joie de vivre. Those of us who have fallen in love with the country and its language, culture, and people would certainly agree that those are all reasons to travel to—or live in—France. But have you experienced Brittany’s outdoor activities yet?

Experience Brittany
 - Brittany outdoor activities - natural beauty - Experience Brittany - MyFrenchLfie.org

 

Experience France: dedication to a healthy lifestyle

Another aspect of French culture that many appreciate is a dedication to maintaining a ‘healthy lifestyle’. The French are well-aware of the benefits of keeping physically fit and tend to opt for activities that feel good and bring a sense of satisfaction. According to Expatica:

There is a simple life rule that transcends all facets of life in France, and that is ‘pleasure’. If something doesn’t bring you any pleasure, drop it. If exercise is not motivating, too difficult, too hard on the body, the French move on to something else … There is a high preference for sports such as skiing (fun), cycling (scenic), swimming (invigorating), hiking (quasi-spiritual), yoga and pilates (calming), and walking (convenient and easy).

The French understand that spending time in nature – whether that be swimming in the sea, wandering through the forest, cycling, or hiking along any of the country’s 100,000 km of walking trails – keeps us mentally and physically strong.

When we take some time outdoors I think we can all agree that we immediately feel less stressed, more focused, and overall, a l’aise

I admit to being a little biased, as this is where I call home (part-time, anyway), but I think Brittany is the best travel destination for the outdoor enthusiast.

I’m not alone, for every summer thousands of tourists leave their city homes and come to this wilder area of France to breathe in the fresh air, soak up the sun, and enjoy their favorite activités en plein air. When I am in Brittany, I am always pleasantly surprised at the number of people I see  – of all ages – walking, running, cycling, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. 

Experience Northern Brittany

Brittany outdoor activities - Dinan trail

One of my favorite areas to explore in Brittany lies on the northern coast, a stretch that runs through the Côtes-d’Armor and the Ille-et-Vilaine departments.  It is home to a portion of the famous G34 trail that winds around the coast of Brittany, covering around 2,000 km. One can opt for a one-day hike or spend several days trekking the trails and enjoying the incredible views.  According to Dinan Cap Fréhel Tourisme, there is over 130 km of footpaths, cycle trails, and greenways in this area alone. 

I spent a day venturing about Fort la Latte and Cap Fréhel and found the trail to be a relatively easy one to manage with stunning views of the rugged coastline below. With proper footwear and a watchful eye, it was a wonderful way to spend the day.

Experience hiking trails in Northern Brittany

One of my favorite areas to explore in Brittany lies on the northern coast, a stretch that runs through the Côtes-d’Armor and the Ille-et-Vilaine departments.  It is home to a portion of the famous G34 trail that winds around the coast of Brittany, covering around 2,000 km. One can opt for a one-day hike or spend several days trekking the trails and enjoying the incredible views. 

According to Dinan Cap Fréhel Tourisme, there is over 130 km of footpaths, cycle trails, and greenways in this area alone. 

Brittany outdoor activities - natural beauty - Experience Brittany - MyFrenchLfie.org

I spent a day venturing about Fort la Latte and Cap Fréhel and found the trail to be a relatively easy one to manage with stunning views of the rugged coastline below. With proper footwear and a watchful eye, it was a wonderful way to spend the day.

G34 Trail at Cap Fréhel

A map clearly outlined the trail and distances between starting/stopping points, restrooms, and more.

Brittany outdoor activities - MyFrenchLife.org

Unparalleled cycling in Northern Brittany

Another favorite pastime amongst the French is cycling, and Brittany offers unparalleled opportunities – 1300 km of cycling trails alone – for those wanting to enjoy the scenery while getting some exercise. In fact, Breton Bikes says that:

Brittany is the best place for a cycling holiday … In a 50-mile ride, you can be cycling down a canal towpath, cross moorland, go through lush forest, old-fashioned, almost chocolate-box farmland, tiny villages, bustling market towns, past chateaux to rival anything in France including the Loire, and then hit a coastline that itself swings from golden sand to sheer cliffs in the space of a few minutes. Nowhere else in France is remotely capable of this sort of variety.

Cycling planning tools for your outdoor activities

If you enjoy cycling and plan to visit Brittany, there are a variety of tools to help you plan your trip, including this one from FranceVeloTourisme. Simply enter your preferences on the left and a customized itinerary will appear. 

As you are likely planning your next trip to France to enjoy the culture, cuisine, and pittoresque towns and villages, be sure to leave some time on your itinerary for Brittany and see for yourself the unparalleled natural beauty of this region. 


Have you experienced the natural beauty of Brittany? Which are your favourite Brittany outdoor activities? Share your experiences in the comments below.


Image credits:
All images copyright Amy Gruber

Resources and further reading:
1. The French and wellness via Expatica
2. Footpaths and cycle trails via Dinan Cap Fréhel Tourisme
3. Planning your Northern Brittany Outdoor Holiday
4. Hiking information Dinan-Capfrehel.com
5. Places to stay on the G34 via Dinan-Capfrehel.com
6. Main cycle routes in Brittany via brittanytourism.com
7. Cycling in Brittany via francevelotourisme.com
8. Cycling options in Brittany (including where to stay) via freewheelingfrance.com
9. Brittany a cycling paradise via bretonbikes.com
10. Travel and leisure guide to Brittany and Normandy via travelandleisure.com
11. Stunning Views on the G34 via Brittany Tourism
12. Long-distance footpaths in Brittany via About France
13. The Most Beautiful One-Day Walks in Brittany via brittanytourism.com

Experience Brittany
The Ultimate Guide to Brittany
A series of articles with a focus on wellbeing & nature
From the Coast to Forests and more…
1. Experience Brittany: a hidden gem at the water’s edge
2. Experience Brittany: Forest Bathing
3. Experience Brittany: Outdoor activities & natural beauty (this one)



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