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Guide to North West France

Miles of coastline and countryside, including the beaches of Normandy, the rocky peninsula of Brittany and, the banks of the Loire and Atlantic coast. An area loaded in history and tradition with glamorous seaside resorts, remote fishing villages, fairytale chateaux and idyllic countryside. There’s a rich gastronomy and plenty of places to visit so it’s ideal for romantic and family holidays.

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North West France

Rugged coastlines change to sandy beaches in the North West corner of France, including Brittany, Normandy and Pays de la Loire.


  • 800 miles of rocky, rugged peninsular coastline with beaches, bays and traditional fishing villages.
  • Celtic influence and history with distinct Breton language and soul; numerous colourful festivals.
  • Enchanting countryside with megaliths, wild meadows, castles, manor houses, chapels and villages.
  • Farming country specialising in fish, seafood, crepes, dairy produce, and honey.
  • Very child-friendly; activities include sailing, windsurfing, swimming, sea and freshwater fishing, golf, canal boating, riding, walking, cycling.
  • Find out more about Brittany and search for holiday properties.


  • Charming ports and sandy beaches including fashionable seaside resorts of Cabourg, Trouville and Deauville.
  • Historical region of William the Conqueror, home of the Bayeux tapestry and site of famous WWII landing beaches, museum and memorials.
  • Idyllic countryside with dairy farming, apple orchards, ancient beech forests, meandering valleys and wooded hillsides.
  • Gastronomy features Calvados brandy, seafood, cheese, cream, duck, apples, pork.
  • Sailing, sea festivals, golf, cycling, equestrian, children’s activities.
  • Find out more about Normandy and search for holiday properties.

Pays de la Loire

  • Magnificent Loire river flowing through lush countryside.
  • Fairy-tale riverside chateaux and gardens open to public, some with Son et Lumière.
  • Atlantic coastline with long sandy beaches, quaint bays and islands.
  • Castles and museums, especially in picturesque Angers, Saumur and Nantes.
  • Swimming, sailing, fishing, boat hire, buggy racing, equestrian, motor racing at Le Mans.
  • Gastronomy includes seafood, game, vegetables, cheeses, fruit tarts; many fine restaurants.
  • Find out more about Pays de la Loire and search for holiday properties.

Getting to North West France

Travelling to Brittany

Fly to the regional airports of Brest, Nantes, Quimper, Lorient and Rennes, and there are also budget flights from the UK to Dinard by Ryanair and Brest and Rennes by flybe. There are ferry ports at Cherbourg (Normandy), Caen, Roscoff and St Malo, or the drive from Calais to Rennes is about 525km and will take approx 5 hours. By TGV train, Paris to Rennes takes about 2 hours and Paris to Brest and Quimper both take about 4.5 hours.

Travelling to Normandy

There are several regional airports in Normandy with links to Paris. The ferry ports of Cherbourg, Dieppe and Le Havre are the most convenient for travel to Normandy although Calais to Caen is 345 km and will take about 3 hours. Calais to Rouen is about 200km and takes about 2 hours. Normandy is well connected by rail to Paris but is not on the TGV route.

Travelling to Pay De Le Loire

There are two airports at Nantes and the other just into the next department at La Rochelle which is served from the UK by Ryanair. By car, Nantes is approx 675km from Calais and will take you around 6 hours. The nearest port is St Malo in Brittany which is about 180km and will take around 3 hours. There is a TGV service fron Paris to La Croisic.