Daily dilemmas: Holidays in Brittany or the Côte d’Azur?

Daily dilemmas: Holidays in Brittany or the Côte d'Azur?
Photos: AFP
It's the season when French cities empty out and people head to the beaches or the countryside, but is Brittany or the Côte d'Azur the best bet for a holiday?

We asked readers of The Local which area they prefer for a summer getaway, and the result on Facebook was a fairly narrow victory for the Côte d'Azur.


On Twitter, users leaned more heavily towards the southern region.


Of course, both regions are beautiful and have lots to offer holidaymakers and locals alike.


The ancient stone circles of Carnac. Photo: AFP

With its stunning coastline and picturesque villages, Brittany is a favourite with both tourists and the French. In fact the region has twice bagged the title for 'France's favourite village'. 

Decided by a public vote, the Village prefere des Francais title has been awarded to two Breton villages – Rochefort-en-Terre in Morbihan and Ploumanac'h.

Some of the tourist attractions of the region include the Alignements de Carncac – a huge area of neolithic standing stones – the Chateau de Fougeres and the many stunning beaches. Just don't ask about Mont St Michel – that's actually just over the border in Normandy.

A region with a strong local identity, there is also plenty of classic Breton cuisine to keep visitors happy – particularly the classic Breton crêpe.

As befits a coastal region with a proud fishing tradition, seafood lovers are well catered for in Brittany, try oysters (les huitres) in Cancale, sardines in Concarneau, Quiberon or Dournanez and scallops (Coquilles Saint Jacques) in the bay of St Brieuc.

For afters, try a slice of Kouign Amann. Not quite pastry, not quite cake, the buttery pudding needs to be sampled. 

On the alcohol front there is of course Brittany cider, brewed from the region's abundant apple orchards.

And cider could soon be being joined by Breton wine. Although not a traditional wine growing region, farmers in Brittany have begun planting vineyards as the climate warms and more and more Brittany wines are appearing on the market.

In fact many British people love Brittany so much they end up moving there – there are about 13,500 British people who live in Brittany, and many thousands more who have second homes in the area.

In fact really the only criticism that can be leveled at Brittany is the weather. The area has almost as much rain as the UK, although local tourism chiefs are keen to point out that this mainly falls in the winter. And when the rest of France is roasting under a heatwave, Brittany generally stays pleasantly warm.

Rain is rarely a problem on the Côte d'Azur, on the other hand, in fact the region is the sunniest spot in the whole of France, as the map below of annual hours of sun shows.


There is loads to do with spectacular beaches and beautiful coastal roads to drive or cycle along.

The area's natural beauty has attracted throngs of artists over the years, from painters like Van Gogh – who attempted to establish an artists' commune there – to writers like F Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote his classic American novel The Great Gatsby while staying on the Riviera.

Food wise you will be spoiled for choice, with the fresh, healthy and delicious Mediterranean cuisine the region is famed for – ratatouille in Provence and along the coastline an abundance of fresh fish.

Diving off the coast at Nice on the Côte d'Azur. Photo: AFP

Provence is also a major wine growing region with many delicious rosé wines to try.

If your taste runs to something stronger, pastis is ubiquitous in southern France along with Orange Columbco, a Provencal drink made with Lubéron rosé, sweet and bitter oranges, bitter bark infusions, curaçao and other flavours.

In fact both regions are so good that we're inclined to agree with Local reader Inder Negi who simply says: “Why not go to both?”




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