Finistère


 

Finistère, Penn-ar-Bed in Breton, is the "world's end" destination of Brittany. A subtle combination of wild and mysterious nature and living and attractive cultures, this département offers you numerous activities suitable to all, especially disabled people.  The efforts made in this direction, have, moreover, been recognised by the EDEN 2013 Tourism and Accessibility competition.

A winding coast, dotted with lively and busy ports

There are a thousand and one ways to discover the coast of Finistère.

Let us start with the Coast of Legends and the Pays des Abers, in the north of the département, along the Channel. The discovery of this jagged coastline is a chance to:

  • Hike along the customs officials path which stretches along the entire Breton coast,
  • Visit the lighthouse of Île Vierge,
  • Sail by kayak among the abers (small Breton fjords),
  • Bathe in the coves of Aber wrac’h.

Then on the western tip, the Iroise Sea marks the division between the Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. The activities here are varied, especially on its islands:

  • Dive in the Molène archipelago,
  • Head to Ouessant to live like the island dwellers,
  • Discover the jagged coat of the Crozon peninsula
  • Make a stop in the port of Brest.

Finally, to the south of the département, the Cornouaille Coast is a region which combines nature and traditions:

  • Surf in La Torche,
  • Visit the lighthouse of Eckmühl,
  • Sail on a sailing boat in the bay of Concarneau,
  • Make the most of the vast beaches of the bay of Audierne.

Finistère's coastline is flourishing with adventure.

 

Real mountains and mysterious forests in central Finistère

The toughness of the granite and the steep slopes of the black Mountains and the Monts d’Arrée give the impression of mystery, ideal for discovering the Celtic legends. We are here in the centre of Finistère, in a region which is little known as it is far from the coast, yet full of riches.

From Kerlaz, Le Juch, Plogonnec or Locronan, enter the Nevet woods where families, riders, cyclists and walkers meet over the 225 hectares of a wonderful coppice. On the top of the Nevet wood plateau, a trail accessible to people with reduced mobility winds over a kilometre, between the copses and the carpets of blueberries.

 

Between the tradition, music and contemporary art, discover the culture in Finistère

The territory is a melting pot of cultures throughout the year, with a particularly rich summer season. From the essential "Fête des Filets bleus" (Blue fishing nets festival) of Concarneau and the "Festival Cornouaille" of Quimper to the renowned festivals of Vieilles Charrues and Bout du Monde where the local fest-noz (night festival), dancing and music surround you.

Among the various cultural discoveries, here is a small selection which will delight both fans of contemporary art and those keen on ancient heritage:

  • The art galleries and paintings of Pont-Aven, where Gauguin lived,
  • The modern art collection of the Centre d’Art Passerelle de Brest,
  • The Parish Close Route in Leon,
  • And dotted all round, the architectural and megalithic heritage of the département.

Unique in France, Ilophone is an intimate festival for lovers of sea spray, guitars and pure sounds. In September, in a magnificent site, Ouessant, the western most island of France, welcomes a myriad of internationally renowned artists and new talents. A unique chance to get close to the sea spray opposite the ocean, that is often unrelenting, under the light of the 5 lighthouses of the island. Embark at Brest or Conquet and allow yourself to be guided by the black sheep of Ouessant to the stages of Ilophone. The capacity is very small so hurry.

 

In Finistère, over 65 service providers are certified "Tourisme et Handicap" (Tourism and Accessibility). Dozens of hotels, restaurants, gites and campsite of course, but also beaches, trails, museums, cultural centres and theme parks – all the tourism stakeholders are rising to the challenge of accessibility with suitable developments and specific training for staff in order to offer great quality services to all.

 

Winners of the EDEN competition

The project recognised by the EDEN "Tourism and Accessibility" competition is, above all, a collective ambition serving those with a disability, to network the different tourism stakeholders (the hotel and restaurant industries, tourist sites, developers and local authorities, etc.). Pragmatic and efficient, the approach has allowed for the creation of a website which is full of great establishments and tips: www.finistere-accessible.com. Very practical and ergonomic, it is the leading site for organising your trip.

 

Dozens of activities, accessible to everyone

What would you say to discovering the Brittany of old in an authentic Breton village at the Ecomusée de la Métairie? In Plouigneau, in the north of the département, the site retraces the development of the rural world between the 19th and the 20th century. The visit is suitable for those with a physical, visual, auditory or mental disability.

In Quimper, to the south of Finistère, stroll around the St Corentin cathedral, then visit the collections of the Musée des Beaux-arts (Fine Arts) and the Musée départemental breton, completely accessible to people with reduced mobility. Then take in the air on the coast at La pointe du Raz thanks to the stable path and the adapted and free shuttles from the car park. Numerous beaches along the coast offer you the chance to dive in the ocean on a tiralo or to roam the beaches on a hippocampe (seahorse), an adapted chair: this is the case in Fouesnant, Douarnenez and Trégunc for example.

The Finistère mountains are also accessible.  Discover the Monts d’Arrée on an adapted path. Follow the green way from the town of Scrignac towards Carhaix for example: 10km are accessible to wheelchairs, as well having toilets and a water point. Then head off fishing on the Canal de Nantes in Brest or the Lake of Bourg Blanc, where fishing spots have been especially developed for wheelchairs.

For fans, board a sailing boat and hoist the sail or get on horseback for a unique sensory experience. Basketball, swimming, running, fencing, canoeing/kayaking and sand yachting, judo, Breton wrestling and aikido, tennis, but also chess and even boules. All the information for these activities, as well as finding accommodation and suitable facilities, is available at www.finistere-accessible.com.

 

Along the coast, via characterful towns and cities, on green ways, in the heart of the countryside and on the hilly footpaths, Finistère has family and sporting experiences for you in incomparable landscapes.

 

Cycling at your pace through a great variety of landscapes.

Numerous routes, adapted to different practices and, for some, accessible to people with reduced mobility (see the Eden Competition tab), are on offer over 500km of cycling routes. Electric bike rental, drop off from point to point, breakdown assistance and transport via bus and train, cycling in Finistère is designed to be simple, friendly and accessible. You can hire mounts in Rosporden, Roscoff, Saint-Pol-de-Léon or Morlaix, before taking the Transfinistérienne route which crosses the interior of the département from north to south, or the Littorale, which follows the coastline.

Are you ready to pedal over the département's 2,500km of mountain bike trails? Head off for a mountain bike ride on one of the 138 routes between the seaside and the summits of the Breton mountains. In the Monts d’Arrée, discover three wonderful routes accessible by hybrid bikes and electric bikes: they cross the Parish Closes and the Abbaye du Relec, the wonderful moors of Cragou, the Musée du Loup and the weavers' houses, to reach the land of the legends of Huelgoat.

If you prefer travelling, from north to south or west to east, crossing Finistère via the major routes is an experience accessible to as many as possible. For the more experienced, head off from Roscoff by taking the cycle route which goes along the river to the port of Morlaix then continue due south on a former rail track to discover the Monts d’Arrée, then the Black Mountains with sublime landscapes. To the south, you reach Rosporden and meet the ocean again in Concarneau and its walled town.

Finally, for lovers of the coast, 400km of coastline can be covered by bike on the marked routes. Head south, from the Pointe du Raz to Bénodet, where a completely new cycle route crosses the Bay of Audierne, along the Cap Sizun and Bigouden. Continue your route along the coast and cross the Crozon peninsula and its 4 unique routes to discover the Cap de la Chèvre and the Tas de pois.

For more information visit: https://cycling.brittanytourism.com/

 

Water trips and boat rides, accessing the sea in all its forms

Whatever your level, the diversity of the Finistère coast will offer you the ideal place for you to go boating and for trips on the water, which can be supervised by professionals. Here are some ideas:

  • Combine culture and nature by discovering, via kayak, the Château du Taureau in the bay of Morlaix
  • Enjoy the sunset in a stand-up paddle in Pays de Léonard
  • For sporty people, go for gold snorkelling in the cove of the fort of Bertheaume
  • Dive in up to your waist for Iroise water walking departing from Brest
  • In La Torche or Minou, surf on the most beautiful waves of the west.
  • Get off the ferry in the middle of the Iroise Sea to discover the underwater world of the Molène archipelago.
  • Sail right in the heart of the Monts d’Arrée on the Lac du Drennec
  • If you’re lucky, you may see grey seals along the coast of Guilvinec during a kayak expedition

For more information visit: www.finisteretourisme.com/balades-et-randos-nautiques

 

Sailing between tradition and racing on the coast

Enthusiasts and professionals look after sailing boats with a prestigious past and offer you the chance to get on board for outings which take in the fresh air of the coast. In Concarneau for example, you can take part in manoeuvres and learn some of the basics of seamanship in a happy and friendly atmosphere. Do you prefer racing in cruisers? Climb on board sail boats which make shipyards' reputations during major races. Sailing also means fishing: discover a unique world made up of passion and love for the coast.

For more information visit: www.nautisme-finistere.com and www.tourismeconcarneau.fr

 

Located between the land and the sea, Finistère is a cocktail of coastal fresh air and history. What better way to immerse yourself in the Finistère soul than to visit the Parish Closes, discover the school of Pont Aven and get on board for a tour of the unique ports and lighthouses in France.

 

The Parish Closes, testaments to a prosperous rural society

Immerse yourself in the golden age of the linen industry which enabled the construction of dozens of Parish Closes, mainly in the north of the département and around the port of Morlaix. Enter into each Parish Close via the triumphal gate and stroll down to the Calvary.

Imagine this rural life a few centuries ago, when an often illiterate population learnt the Old and New Testament by looking at the scenes of the religious monuments like the calvaries and the altarpieces. All social life occurred between the church and the ossuary, business was concluded there, young people got together and dances and songs marked the seasons. The competition between the Parish Closes was real and now offers the visitor various very beautiful monuments.

So you do not miss anything, follow one of the three routes (information and audio-guides in the tourist offices of the region – 55 to 90km) covering the most remarkable:

  • La Martyre, the oldest in Finistère, dating back to the 11th century and where the relics of Salomon, King of Brittany are kept
  • La Roche Maurice, with a magnificent façade decorated with various figures
  • Saint-Thégonnec, dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries and which is a testament to the past wealth of the town
  • Guimiliau, with 200 figures, sirens and Kings of France

For more information visit: www.finisteretourisme.com/les-enclos-paroissiaux

 

Ports and lighthouses of Finistère: secret discoveries

With hundreds of kilometres of coast, Finistère offers you a myriad of ports. From the imposing military port of Brest, to the fortified town of Concarneau, including Morlaix nestled in its riverbed, strolling through the ports allows you to appreciate the soul of these places between the land and the sea.

On the Crozon peninsula, admire Camaret, its Vauban tower and the church of Notre Dame de Rocamadour, real jewels. In Douarnenez, relive the golden age of sardine fishing by visiting the Port Museum of Port-Rhu. In the south, breathe in the coastal air in Audierne and stop at Guilvinec, the first fishing port of France.

For more information visit: www.finisteretourisme.com/les-ports-pittoresques

 

Lighthouses, reminders of a by-gone era, to visit as a family

To secure these wild coasts in a 19th century that was ideal for maritime trade, man used all his ingenuity to build numerous lighthouses which are now automated. As a family, head off for a tour of the lighthouses in breath-taking landscapes. Admire the wonderful opaline of the Eckmühl lighthouse, the grand and modern lighthouse of Sein island, the tallest lighthouse in Europe on Vierge island, or the oldest lighthouse in France, Phare du Stiff, before heading for the Musée du Phare du Crac’h (Lighthouse museum) in Ouessant. At the foot of the lighthouse of the Pointe Saint Matthieu, stroll through the ruins of the abbey where the fire burned as far back as the 13th century.

www.finisteretourisme.com/les-phares-du-finistere/

 

Painting in Finistère, the colours and lights which form schools

In Pont Aven, head off in the footsteps of Paul Gauguin, Emile Bernard or Paul Sérusier, realist artists seeking to paint what they perceived in the Finistère rock. The school of Pont Aven still brings a Romanesque air to this pretty site today. Awarded for its accessibility to people with reduced mobility, the Musée de Pont Aven is based in this wonderful setting.

Painting in Finistère is also about experiencing the light by admiring the work of Eugène Boudin who painted directly outside. In the Musée des Beaux-arts de Quimper (Quimper Fine Arts Museum), admire the watercolours by Max Jacob, a testament to the 1930s. Discover the post war Brest of Pierre Péron or, if you are lucky, Les géants éphémères by Paul Bloas who painted directly on the walls of the town.

www.finisteretourisme.com/sur-les-traces-de-gauguin-et-de-l-ecole-de-pont-aven

 

Where to sleep 

A touristic destination, Finistère offers you a multitude of accommodation for stays as a couple or a family. Charming hotels by the sea, stays in cave gites, small urban hotels and family campsites near to the beach, here is a selection of quality establishments.

 

  • La Butte, in Plouider: opposite a wonderful landscape, a family establishment with great quality services and a Michelin starred gourmet restaurant. Certified "Tourisme et Handicap" (Tourism and Accessibility). From €90 per night - www.labutte.fr - 12 rue de la Mer, 29260 Plouider - +33(0)2 98 25 40 54

 

  • La Baie des Anges, in Landéda: a fresh sea air and cosy experience opposite one of the most beautiful abers in Finistère, the hotel of La Baie des Anges offers a heated pool and rooms with refined décor. Room accessible to people with reduced mobility. From €100 per night  - www.baie-des-anges.com - 350 route des Anges, Port de l’Aber Wrac’h, 29870 Landéda - +33(0)2 98 04 90 04

 

  • Hostellerie de la Pointe Saint Mathieu: opposite Ouessant and Molène, a charming, 33 room hotel with a spa and gourmet restaurant. Hotel accessible to people with reduced mobility. From €95 per night - www.pointe-saint-mathieu.com - 7 place Saint-Tanguy, 29217 Plougonvelin - +33(0)2 98 89 00 19

 

  • Hôtel Saint Louis, à Brest: right in the heart of the site of Ponant, a pleasant and affordable establishment for a popular and relaxed stay. From €35 per night - http://brest-hotel.com - 6 rue Algésiras, 29200 Brest - +33(0)2 98 44 23 91

 

  • TrogloGîtes des Monts d’Arrée: located in a green oasis, four gites accessible to people with reduced mobility, with warm furnishings, a kitchen and a bathroom, for four people. From €520 for 4 people per week - www.troglogites-des-monts-darree.fr - Roc H Gwell Yann, 29190 Brasparts – +33(0)2 98 81 40 19

 

  • Camping Le Helles, in Combrit Sainte Marine:  ideal base for a stay as a family with direct access to the great beach of Sainte Marine. Accessible to people with reduced mobility. From €19 per pitch - www.le-helles.com - 55 rue du Petit Bourg, 29120 Combrit Sainte Marins - +33(0)2 98 56 31 46

 

Where to eat

Refined, Michelin starred cuisine, crab meat or a local market recipe, not forgetting the crepes and cider, Finistère unveils a subtle cuisine with the taste of the sea and the local area to be tried by the sea or around the fireplace of a cottage in the middle of the black mountains. Some unmissable establishments:

 

  • Le Rackham, in Roscoff: this Michelin starred restaurant will surprise you with its finesse and food and the splendid view of the channel between Roscoff and the island of Batz. www.rackham-restaurant.com - 27 place Lacaze Duthiers, 29680 Roscoff - +33(0)2 98 61 14 23

 

  • Le Potager de Mémé, in Brest: the good, the local and the organic can be found in this essential establishment for lunch in the city. www.lepotagerdememe.com - 44 rue de Lyon, 29200 Brest - +33(0)9 51 44 14 78

 

  • Le comptoir du théâtre, in Quimper: a wine bar and locavore restaurant with refined and imaginative food. http://comptoir-du-theatre.com - 4 boulevard Dupleix, 29000 Quimper - +33(0)2 98 98 00 81

 

  • Le puits de Jeanne, in Plouégat Moysan:  rustic, flavourful and tasty food, served in an original restaurant dining room, equipped with a central well! www.lepuitsdejeanne.com - Voie romaine le Ponthou, 29650 Plouégat Moysan - +33(0)2 98 79 20 15

 

  • Lac du Drennec, in Commana: in the heart of the Monts d’Arrée, a cuisine which combines sweet and savoury flavours, from here and elsewhere. Stamadec, 29450 Commana - +33(0)2 98 67 63 07

 

  • Le Tatoon, on the Île de Sein: take part in a unique experience by trying an Atlantic pollock, a bass or a sea bream by the sea on the Île de Sein. Only in season!  www.letatoon.com - 4 quai des Français Libres, 29990 Ile de Sein - +33(0)2 98 70 90 79

 

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