There are those destinations which, although nice at the time, don’t make us want to go back, and then there are the others. Those where we immediately feel at home and where we gladly take refuge when our mind tries to escape for a few moments. Brittany undoubtedly belongs to the latter category. So, when thanks to a pandemic we had to find where to put our suitcases for our holidays, Morbihan imposed itself. Homeland of the co-traveler, Morbihan is also a bit like my house by marriage. From then on, I was eager to discover the sites which make the reputation of Morbihan, considered one of the most beautiful departments of Brittany.
Medieval towns and villages
This small city of character is undoubtedly one of the villages to visit during your trip in Brittany.
With its large cobbled main street, its Gothic church dressed in gargoyles and its half-timbered houses and its medieval castle, I understand the craze around this village and, in my turn, I can only advise you to go there. to walk.
The True Cross and Questembert
The village of La Vraie Croix is known to Catholics for a very specific reason which gave its name to the village. According to legend, during the Crusades, a knight passed through the village and lost a piece of the cross on which Christ was crucified.
The piece of the cross was found and the inhabitants decided to erect a chapel on the site. Today, the relic of the cross of Christ is visible in the said chapel.
A few kilometers from La Vraie Croix, the village of Questembert is home to several historic monuments, including the large 16th century market hall, several chapels and the tower of the Belmont hotel to name only the most emblematic.
These two villages being located on the road connecting Vannes to Rochefort en Terre, it would be a shame not to stop there.
Rochefort en Terre
If you liked Josselin, then you’ll love Rochefort en Terre just as much. And if you don’t have time to visit the first one, this is the opportunity to catch up with this charming medieval village, elected favorite village of the French in 2016!
During our visit, I must admit that at first glance I told myself that it smelled like a scam… but I did well to persevere! Indeed, the center of the historic village is not accessible to cars, you have to take the trouble to park and walk a little to discover the historic village and its magnificent central square.
For my part, I particularly appreciated the panorama on the roofs of the village from the terrace of the (magnificent) castle, especially with the autumnal colors which were just starting to settle.
If you’ve never heard of Lorient, you might think that there is nothing to see in this Breton town. Think again!
Of course, don’t expect to find a historic center worthy of Vannes, that’s not why people come to Lorient. No, here the story is told mainly in the heart of the citadel of Saint Louis, the old port of Lorient, within the Museum of the East India Company.
This unique museum explains how in the 17th century the port of Lorient was chosen to build the ships of the newly created Compagnie des Indes.
We therefore learn, among other things, how ships were built, what the East India Company was used for, its businesses and its main routes. Being totally new to the subject, I found this museum very interesting and very complete. Perfect as an indoor plan when sauces are falling outside.
On the other side of the shore, you can continue your cultural day by visiting the naval base and the submarine museum. Bad luck for us, because of the Covid we had to reserve our place… And so instead of visiting a submarine, we went to stock up on food at the Trinitaine biscuit factory. You have to make the most of your free time 😉
The Etel estuary and its surroundings
At first glance, the Etel river has all the characteristics of a lamba river. But this river hides its game well, since it is precisely not an ordinary river and that is what makes it so special.
Indeed, behind what looks like a river flowing into a bay, in fact hides an aber (or ria). In other words, a river flowing in a valley (now underwater) before joining the ocean. To put it simply, it’s like a fjord, but shallower and above all of different origins. The estuary refers to an ancient valley at the bottom of which flowed a river and now submerged by the rising waters unlike a fjord which was created by the retreat of the glaciers.
In addition to this, the Etel estuary has several islands / islets, which therefore correspond to submerged ridges. If you remember your old geography lessons and the Armorican massif in Brittany, then you understand the reason for the presence of valleys and mountain ridges in this region of France.
All this to tell you that from a geological point of view, this region is fascinating and from my point of view it is one of the must-see sites in Morbihan!
Etel bar and the beaches
At the mouth, near the town of Etel, is the Barre d’Etel, a bank of quicksand forming a dune more or less visible depending on the tide. Because of this sand bar, navigation is complicated and many shipwrecks are to be deplored.
A large sandy beach faces the often choppy ocean. It is moreover rather inadvisable to bathe in the zone of the mouth because of the strong currents prevailing there.
On the other hand, it is a magnificent spot to admire the sunset on the beach and the dunes. On a clear day, you can even make out the coasts of Belle-Ile-En-Mer!
The boat cemetery
On the shore in front of the village of Etel, is the Magouer marine cemetery where you can see a few wrecks of beached boats, some of which are nicely decorated.
Saint Cado Island
This small island is connected to the mainland by a dike bridge and has many remarkable sites including THE tourist site. That of the little house on the water … It seems that in good weather it’s very charming, but unfortunately when we wanted to go, it was raining like a pissing cow and we gave up the idea to take refuge in a creperie . The sense of priorities.
The Quiberon peninsula and the wild coast
Who has never heard of this emblematic Morbihan site? A few kilometers from the Gulf of Morbihan and its seas that look like a tropical paradise, the Quiberon peninsula offers a completely different spectacle.
Here the waves come crashing with fear on the rocks sculpted to the rhythm of the tides. It’s wild, it’s beautiful, that’s all I love about Brittany.
Many car parks allow you to park to discover the viewpoints on the jagged coast. But the best of the best is to take your time and walk up the hill. Nothing like a good breath of sea air to start the day!
The megalithic sites of Carnac
Let it be said, you cannot come and spend a few days in Morbihan without visiting one of the megalithic sites present here. It would be a real shame, especially since most of them are easily accessible and free of charge.
The best known of these is that of Carnac (not to be confused with Karnak, a temple in ancient Egypt located in Luxor) and its alignments of precisely 2934 menhirs. To discover these menhirs, I recommend that you start your visit with the House of Megaliths, where you can watch a very informative video on the mystery surrounding these alignments and understand the different assumptions about the routing of these menhirs and the reasons for these alignments. .
You can continue your visit either on foot or by car to see the different fields where the menhirs are aligned. Guided tours are also possible if you want to enter the fields and approach the menhirs.
The Gulf of Morbihan
The Gulf of Morbihan has so many must-see tourist sites that it would surely deserve an article on its own.
Unfortunately, during our stay the weather was not really on our side, not allowing us to visit as many things as we would have liked. In particular, we had to ignore the visit of certain islands or even a boat trip in the gulf.
I will therefore content myself with listing the sites that we went to see, sometimes in a gust of wind between two showers.
The ports of Saint Goustan and Bono
In the Gulf of Morbihan, picturesque little ports, do you want some! Among the most charming, I cite the port of Saint Goustan in Auray as well as that of Bono.
To make the most of your visit, I recommend that you go there at high tide…
The port of Baden and the tip of Toulvern
The south of the village of Baden is full of points and small coves overlooking the Gulf of Morbihan.
The port of Larmor Baden is interesting to see, not for the port itself but more for its panorama on the gulf and the possibility of reaching the island of Berder on foot at low tide.
The tip of Arradon
Going up along the gulf towards Vannes, a short stop is needed at the tip of Arradon. Here it is a bit the end of the world with this dike that sinks into the sea and its direct view of the Île aux Moines just in front of us.
Personally, and I am not saying that at all because it is one of the rare moments in which we had the sun, I found this magnificent place with a lot of charm and not very touristy (at least that day ).
The Rhuys peninsula
The Rhuys peninsula is this large strip of land which closes the Gulf of Morbihan to the south of Vannes.
I was so disappointed that the weather was not nice that day, because to see the photos and the feedback on this region of Morbihan, it would seem that it was The Place To Be. Indeed, with on one side the view of the gulf and the small turquoise coves and on the other the ocean, it is in my opinion the ideal place to enjoy Brittany. On the other hand, except to like the very touristy atmosphere, I advise against the port of Crouesty, much too populated for my taste.
In addition to the different points located at the end of the peninsula, I advise you to visit the castle of Suscino, magnificent medieval heritage of the Dukes of Brittany, the salt marshes of Sarzeau or Lasné and to feast on the one of the many fishponds along the Gulf. If you like to observe birds, you will undoubtedly have the opportunity to see them in the various ornithological reserves present here.
To end this article on the must-see sites to visit in Morbihan, I have of course saved the best for last!
The city of Vannes is a real nugget and knew how to charm me with its castle and its medieval historic center. If you liked Josselin and Rochefort en Terre, Vannes is the same thing but in an x-size model!
It takes a short half-day to stroll through the streets and tour the main sights.
Do you know Morbihan? Do you have other interesting sites to share?
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