Villas in Brittany & The Atlantic Coast

Brittany and the Atlantic Coast is France’s northwesternmost region and is the ideal spot for a family adventure. Boasting rugged coastline, it’s dotted with myriad of diverse beaches, from the wild and untamed to the upmarket and chic; parts of the region will feel like they’re undiscovered, which adds to the magic.

Not only a coastal getaway, you’ll find medieval-walled citadels, ancient forests and a Celtic culture that underpins it all – it’ll leave you with lasting fond memories, that’s for sure. And don't forget to taste the crepes (rumour has it, they’re the best in the country!)

Our destination experts are obsessed with France and know it well, picking out a collection of chateaux and villas that are full of character and perfectly placed for soaking up all the region has to offer. They vary from rustic treasures to contemporary and stylish. But one thing is for certain – they all have the ‘wow’ factor.

Why visit?

  • This is a unique region of France due to its striking natural landscapes and its rich Celtic history.
  • Locals are fiercely proud of their background, celebrating Breton culture and tradition with regular festivals. This is France like you’ve never experienced it.

Read the Brittany Travel Guide

Why stay with us?

Style and character are everything at Oliver’s Travels, and our collection of handpicked villas in Brittany and the Atlantic Coast have this in spades.

We have destination experts who know the ins and outs of all our regions, picking villas that aren’t only unique, but also in the best locations. What's more, our villas are 100% family-friendly, and have the ‘wow’ factor.

Our helpful concierge team are on-hand to make your stay extra special. Whether you want a fully-stocked fridge, a local in-house chef to cook your meals, housekeeping or any other extra service – consider them your holiday genie, who will happily grant your wishes.

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Villas in Brittany & The Atlantic Coast: Our Top Picks

Overview

We have a real love affair with the Brittany region of France. There's so much to see and do, that thousands of British people have moved permanently to this genuinely gorgeous part of the world.

With a diverse range of chateaux and villas, there are plenty of opportunities to spend a long summer in Brittany, the ultimate home from home.

Brittany’s beaches range from rugged, rocky bays in the north that are perfect rock pooling territory, to sweeping golden sandy beaches in the south. If you choose to stay near the beach, you'll be just a few minutes from unspoilt inlets, secret coves, and your own deserted slice of beach heaven. Inland, you'll find thousands of miles of trails, cycle paths and footpaths to explore, as well as castles, amazing chateaux, zoos and aquariums.

A food lover’s heaven

You’re in France, so expect the food to be good. The Brittany region is famous for cider, seafood and crepes (both sweet and the savoury galettes). Look out for the regional speciality - little butter biscuits also (somewhat confusingly) called galettes, that the kids will adore.

For grown-ups, there’s nothing quite like sitting outside at a harbourside café, eating freshly cooked moules marinières’ (mussels cooked in white wine), with a side of chips and a glass of the local ‘cidre bouché’. Delicious!

If you want more information, check the Brittany Travel Guide in our blog. You can also get some ideas on where to eat in Brittany and what to do with kids in this amazing region.

What Oliver loves

Not only is it one of the most beautiful places in France, it is also one of the easiest destinations to get to from the UK, just a few hours' drive from your own front door.

Brittany

Best time to go

  • Brittany is a year-round destination that’s at its best during the late spring/early summer months of May and June.
  • Climate is very similar to Cornwall, so it’s warm and sunny during the summer and cooler during the shoulder seasons and winter. Summer temperatures can shoot up to over 30°C, but with relatively low humidity, even the hot summer weather is bearable.
  • August is the main holiday month in France, and Brittany is as popular with French holidaymakers as it is with us Brits, so expect the beaches, attractions and the roads to get quite crowded.

    Top tips

    • Tipping: Service charges are often included in restaurant bills, or you can add 10% gratuity for good service.
    • Avoid the main A11 Océane Route from Paris to Brittany during August – it’s nose-to-tail traffic all the way.
    • Try a little French when speaking to the locals, they’ll appreciate your efforts no matter how bad your pronunciation!

    Where to go

    Brittany and the Atlantic Coast often feels a little undiscovered, like you’re wandering off-the-beaten-path (even though it’s actually fairly beaten) and that’s what we love about it. From its dramatic wild side to its picturesque and lovely side, this region of France is incredibly diverse.

    As much as we’d love to keep Brittany and the Atlantic Coast to ourselves, we couldn’t. So, we handpicked some incredible chateaux, manor houses, villas and cottages dotted across the region (and in the best places).

    If you’re not sure where to stay, check out our little handy guide below. But if you need any further help, just get in touch with our friendly concierge team.

    French Atlantic Coast

    A dramatic coastline and rolling hills scattered with vineyards; you can truly get back to nature (with a glass of great wine) on a trip to the French Atlantic Coast. And you can also get your city fix in places like the laid-back gastronomic playground of Bordeaux or the seafaring La Rochelle.

    Brittany

    Experience the wilder side of France with a trip to Brittany. With a striking coastline, ancient megalithic sites, thick forests and medieval walled towns, this historic gem is seriously intriguing. And with a cluster of charming towns and villages, you’ll have so much to explore!

    Île de Ré

    This picturesque island is just off the west coast of France, offering everything you could ever want from a cute French getaway: boutique shops, local markets, quaint harbour towns, rich history, pretty cycle paths, UNESCO World Heritage Sites (like Saint-Martin-de-Ré) and a beautiful coast.

    Family friendly

    Brittany is just a few hours by car from the UK (including a super-exciting trip on a ferry or through the Channel Tunnel that the kids’ll love), so it’s perfect for younger tots who may get a bit fussy on a longer journey.

    Attractions for kids in Brittany

    Brittany’s top attractions have to be the beaches. Or is it the castles? Or the zoos? If your little ones just can’t stay out of the water, pick one of our Brittany villas with pools. And make sure you head to attractions like the Les Balneides waterpark at Allée de Loc’Hilaire, Fouesnant, or go on a real Indiana Jones adventure at the Enigmaparc at Janze, which is great for older teens too.

    The beaches in Brittany are stunning, and if you head towards the south of the region you’ll have golden sands and safe swimming water to enjoy. If your kids love the outdoors then there are thousands of miles of footpaths and cycleways to explore, including the GR34 coastal footpath, which runs the entire length of the Brittany coastline. These villas are perfect if you want to do outdoor activities.

    Wherever you go in Brittany, you’ll find plenty of attractions designed for kids of all ages, and even if the weather turns a bit damp, you’ll still be able to hunt down zoos, museums and aquariums to keep the kids happy.

    Discover more information about things to do with family in Brittany.

    GR34 coastal footpath, Brittany

    GR34 coastal footpath

    Why it’s perfect for families

    • Good for babies: The journey to our Brittany holiday cottages is quite short, so you won’t need to worry about being stuck in a hot car for hours on end. Discover our villas for toddlers.
    • Good for kids: Fabulous beaches, long cycle paths and loads of attractions make this region ideal for active kids. See these villas ideal for kids.
    • Good for teens: There’s plenty of people their own age to meet and make friends with. Check out our villas perfect for teens.

    Top tip

    • Nappies can be a little pricey in France, so take a supply with you.

    Best beaches in Brittany

    From the golden sands of Dinard to the rugged but utterly charming L’Aber-Wrac’h on the far northwest coast, Brittany’s coast is genuinely gorgeous. You’ve got a choice of authentic bucket-and-spade seaside resorts, or tiny coves where the only footprints on the sand will be yours.

    We know that one of the biggest attractions is the beaches, so we’ve made sure you’ve got easy access to some of the best. Here you can see the collection of villas near the beach. Otherwise, you can get in your car and find your own little slice of French heaven anywhere along the coast.

    North and south beaches

    If you’re in the north of Brittany you’ll find the beaches are a mix of rugged rockpools, pebbles that are perfect for a game of skimming stones, and dramatic sunsets. Head south and you’ve got golden sweeps of powder-soft sand (ideal for sand sculptures) and lots of water-sports for all ages.

    The southern beaches are great for young or nervous swimmers, as the waters are warm, shallow, and there’s no sudden drop-off into deeper water too close to the shore. If you love ‘hanging ten’ on a longboard, then the northern beaches are the place to go for top quality surf.

    Oliver's Hidden Gem

    St-Guirec Beach at Ploumanac’h: There’s a wide sandy beach at one end that’s very family-friendly (this is a popular destination) but walk around the bay and you’ll leave the crowds behind to discover the beach’s iconic pink granite crags, topped off by a lookout tower.

    St-Guirec Beach at Ploumanac’h, Brittany

    Brittany beach

    Known as the ‘big beach’ of Cléder, this is one of the most popular in the whole region. Over 1.5km of golden sands shelve gently into clean, safe water, and there’s almost every kind of water sport you can imagine on offer. Great for families.

    Dossen

    Another huge beach, Dossen is exceptional for surfing and bodyboarding. Head to the right side of the beach towards the island of Siec for family-friendly facilities. Close to some of our villas and just a short walk from the town centre.

    Dinard

    The resort of Dinard dominates the Rance Estuary and is a series of broad, sandy beaches lined with gorgeous villas. The four main beaches are Ecluse, Prieuré, St Engoat, and Port Blanc, and all are ideal for families.

    Morgat

    This is the beach the locals flock to in the summer, so avoid in August when the crowds are at their worst. During the spring and early summer, though, it’s a sandy haven with family-friendly facilities and safe swimming conditions.

    Quiberon

    Shallow water that warms up beautifully for swimming from around June onwards, this beach has all the amenities you’ll need for a great day out. The main beach, La Grande Plage, is easily accessible for anyone with mobility issues.

    Lantecoste

    Sitting between Cap Coz and Beg Meil, this is one of those ‘hidden’ beaches Brittany is so famous for. Looking more like something out of a Caribbean island advert, it’s stunning, sheltered, and usually empty. Perfect for romantic couples.

    Things to do

    From ancient walled cities to monoliths that predate Stonehenge, beaches and coastal footpaths to family-friendly theme parks, there are so many things to do in Brittany you could come back year after year!

    Brittany is famous for its chateaux, which dot the countryside like miniature fairy-tale castles. Look for top spots like the jaw-droppingly beautiful Chateau de Josselin, which is still owned by the same family after hundreds of years.

    The beaches will probably tempt you, and you could spend your entire holiday by the sea. But you’ve also got modern theme parks, zoos and aquariums for the kids, and some of the best vineyard tours in France for the adults.

    Local culture

    Look out for exhibitions and local events that highlight the unique Breton culture. There’s a very strong link between UK Celtic cultures and that of Brittany, and the best place to see this is the InterCeltic Festival in Lorient, in August.

    French food

    Discover the ultimate in Breton food at La Côte, run by world-renowned chef Pierre Michauld. You’re right at the very epicentre of French cuisine here, so the food is genuinely amazing wherever you go. If you want to stay close to restaurants, check these properties.

    Mont Saint-Michel

    Take a day trip to Mont Saint-Michel, the French equivalent of St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall. You can either head up to the headland and park up, and then take the half-hour walk across the causeway (depending on the tides – check first before travelling!) or catch the free ‘Le Passeur’ bus that takes just 12 minutes and is a lot easier on your feet.

    Local crafts

    Head to the village of Poul Fetan to see local craftspeople at work in a living museum. You may even find yourself learning a new skill like butter-making or weaving. The kids will love feeding the farm animals.

    Mont Saint-Michel

    Mont Saint-Michel

    Oliver's Hidden Gem

    Carnac Alignments: This cluster of megalithic sites is home to 3000 upright stones, and predates Stonehenge by 100 years. It’s eerie, stunningly beautiful, and unique. The best way to see them is either walk or cycle between the Ménec and Kerlescan groups. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera!

    Carnac Alignments, Brittany

    Towns and villages

    From tiny medieval villages to huge, thriving cities that still manage to keep some of their olde-worlde charm, the towns and villages of Brittany are a revelation. If you want to be close to them, discover these villas close to the main villages.

    Expect cobbled streets, rows of half-timbered shops and houses that overhang the walkways - stuffed full of historical interest - and some epic 21st-Century boutique shopping.

    This is the place to come if you absolutely adore antiquing, so have your credit card ready as the shops are packed to the ceilings with knick-knacks and trinkets.

    Getting around the region is easy, so even if you’re staying near the beach, you can still head inland for a spot of exploring and be back at your villa in time for dinner.

    Oliver’s Hidden Gem

    Auray: A charming harbour town with some of the best local restaurants in the region. It’s achingly quaint but a living, breathing town with many events. Look out for the annual Oyster Festival and the regular book and craft fairs.

    Auray, Brittany

    Lorient

    This is a comparative newbie, compared to the gorgeous medieval and Renaissance towns that surround it, but Lorient is well worth a visit for its elegant harbour and great beaches. France is home to many pretty seaside towns, but few are as charming as Lorient. Check out the Sailing World ocean racing centre, or visit in August for the InterCeltic Festival.

    Rennes

    It’s about as far away from the sea as you can get in Brittany, but the region’s capital of Rennes is definitely one for your must-visit list. It’s a historically important centre, as well as home to one of the best-preserved medieval street layouts in France.

    Locronan

    This stunning village is home to Saint Ronan, who was an Irish bishop who made his home here, and whose relics make this a place of pilgrimage for devoted Catholics every year. It’s a beautiful Renaissance village that seems untouched by time, and is so pretty it’s also loved by Hollywood location scouts, and has appeared as a backdrop in several films.

    Brest

    One of Brittany’s most important naval ports, this natural harbour is overlooked by a huge castle, and there’s a good chance you’ll see magnificent sailing ships in full regalia too. Check out the Pont de l’Iroise bridge, and take the kids to the amazing  Océanopolis complex.

    Rochefort-en-Terre

    Located in the western Morbihan region, this is officially one of France’s most beautiful villages. There’s a tradition of having flowers on display all year round, making this Renaissance village even more charming. This is the place to go if you love wandering along cobbled streets and visiting churches that date all the way back to the 12th Century.

    Évora

    One of the region’s best-preserved medieval-walled citadels, this is a must see if you’re staying at one of our holiday homes in Brittany. Stroll along the 3km-long ramparts, or get the best view of the town from the top of St Catherine Tower. Visit on a Thursday morning and you’ll catch the local market.

    Getting there and around

    Flights

    There are three main international airports serving Brittany, including Brest, Rennes, and Nantes.


    Ferry

    However, the easiest way to get to Brittany is to hop on the ferry from Plymouth or Portsmouth. From Plymouth, you’ll sail into Roscoff, and to St Malo from Portsmouth. That’ll put you straight into the heart of Brittany and cut down on the amount of driving you’ll have to do at the other end.


    Driving

    If you want to drive down you can also get the Eurostar train through the Euro Tunnel and then drive from Paris. It’ll take you about two hours to get to Rennes, or four-hours’ drive to Brest. In total, it’ll take you around six hours from London to Rennes, or eight hours to Brest if you go via Eurostar.

    • Roads: The roads are excellent in Brittany, but just like Devon and Cornwall, the entire region is crisscrossed by little tiny country roads, so make sure you have an up-to-date satnav system in your car. There are no motorways, so don’t expect to see vast expanses of tarmac, and add a little bit of extra time for your journey.
    • When to avoid driving: Avoid the region in August, when the roads hit gridlock with thousands of French visitors as well as your fellow Brits all heading to Brittany’s beaches.
    • Additional driving notes: Highways are toll-free, but you are limited to a speed of 110km/h (68mph). Don’t forget to drive on the right!

    Canal ferries

    Brittany is crossed by two major canal routes that offer a very different way of getting around what is a very large area. The Nantes-Brest Canal is 360km long and goes right through the middle of the region. It’s one of our favourite ways of seeing the real beauty of the region at a laid-back pace. The English Channel-Ocean link takes you through Dinan, Rennes, Redon, and La Roche-Bernard.


    Cycling

    Leave the car at your Brittany holiday cottage and hop on a bicycle. The region is covered in a multitude of cycle routes that are suitable for all abilities, ages, and fitness levels.

    Cycle hire shops in Brittany are plentiful, and as the French love their cycling with a real passion, you’ll find them helpful, knowledgeable, and more than willing to give you some tips on the best routes.

    Top tips

    • Pack some travel sickness medication if you’re sailing from Plymouth as the route can be very choppy, even in the summer.
    • You won’t need to worry about tolls, but if you get the Eurostar to Paris bear in mind you may need to pay tolls around the capital.
    • French traffic laws are very strict, including ensuring you have the right emergency equipment in your car such as a Hi-Vis jacket and a warning triangle. Failure to carry the correct kit can result in an on-the-spot fine.

    From the blog...