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Finistère is located in Brittany in North West France and is the country's most westerly department. It’s name refers to its location on a peninsula, coming from the Latin Finis Terrae, meaning ‘end of the earth’. This also means the department has an extensive coastline of almost 1250 kms.
Towns and Cities
The capital of Finistère is Quimper, a thousand year old city which is renowned for its artistic and historic significance. There are three main areas to the city. Lomaria is dominated by an 18th Century church, former priory and medieval riverside gardens and Bishops Town is home to the Bishop’s Palace, as well as the impressive Saint-Corentin Cathedral. The Town of the Dukes of Brittany is best known for its colourful timber buildings and maze of alleyways.
The largest town in Finistère is Brest which is historically an important port and more recently is a large university town. A culturally rich town, there are a number of events and festivals taking place throughout the year, as well as a number of important museums and the ocean discovery centre, Océanopolis.
Other key towns include Concarneau, Douarnenez and Roscoff.
The extensive coastline ranges from sandy beaches and dunes to rugged and rocky cliffs, offering breathtaking scenery to explore and wonderful places for relaxation.
Further out to sea, there are a number of Islands to explore such as Ile de Batz and Ile de Sein.
Europe’s largest burial chamber and what is possibly the world’s oldest monument is located just north of Morlaix, the Cairn de Barnenez in Plouézoc’h is estimated to date from approximately 5000BC. There are a number of other important archaeological sites and standing stones located along the coastline.
Needless to say, the surrounding ocean and its contents feature heavily in the menus of Finistère’s restaurants. The rich soils further inland mean that fresh fruit and vegetables are also in abundance meaning that delicious, fresh meals are easy to find. Local specialities include Kig Ha Farz which translates as ‘meat and stuffing’ and is essentially meat and vegetables stewed in a hessian bag. Finistère also claims to be home to the best crêpes in France.
Getting to Finistere
Finistère is easily accessible by car from the rest of France on well maintained motorways.
The main airports are in Brest and Quimper, offering internal flights as well as flights to the main UK airports.
By train, the journey is approximately four and a half hours from Paris by TGV.
Ferries from Cork and Plymouth dock at Roscoff on the north coast meaning the region is easily accessible from the UK and Ireland without the need for a long drive.