10 Songs, Books And Paintings That Capture Brittany

Pontivy, Morbihan, Brittany, France
Pontivy, Morbihan, Brittany, France | © Hristos Fleturis Instagram
Hristos Fleturis

France always had a great influence on singers or writers. The sea, the magical forests and the powerful history of the celtic region of Brittany have given lots of songs, books and paintings to choose from. In this article, we take a look at a few of these artists, leaving the rest up to you to continue the search and discover the secrets that Brittany has in store.

Pontivy, Morbihan, Brittany, France

Singers and Songs

Alan Stivell

Alan Stivell is one of the most well-known artists of the West. He is particularly known for his use of the harp, which he uses for all of his songs. In the 1970s he revived the interest of the world in Breton and Celtic music, giving it a special twist with his harp and combining it with Celtic Rock.

Nolwenn Leroy

Nolwenn Leroy is a young singer and songwriter also from the West. She was born in Brittany and rose to fame after winning the second season of the French Star Academy in 2002. She has lots of platinum albums and songs that have reached the top of French Music Charts and slowly she has moved back to her roots. Most of her songs include symbols of the sea, an important element of the Breton culture. Her live performances are always praised by the audience and she already gathered a huge fan base in France. Her latest live album, Ô Tour de L’Eau, is a great way to discover her voice, her love for the stage and her beautiful voice


Moving a bit to the rock genre now, Matmatah is a Breton band formed in 1992. Influenced by artists such as The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel or Neil Young, they have tried to combine Celtic and Breton music with rock, while also making their own rock songs. They are known for their craziness on stage and for mocking society and the censorships that were sometimes imposed on lyrics. Their last album was released in 2007 and they stopped playing in 2008, but they are still loved and remembered in Brittany.


Les Chouans by Balzac

Even though he is not Breton, this book is a beautiful depiction of life in Brittany during the 1799 uprising in the city of Fougéres. Balzac fell in love with Brittany during a trip, so he gathered notes and descriptions of people to start writing his novel. Les Chouans combines a military backdrop with a love story, describing the people who sculpted the past and made the first steps to the future. Passionate love, social status, war, and battles are all main themes of the novel and if you are familiar with Balzac, the novel marked a turning point in his career. This is because the novel was written not to sell copies, but to actually try and write something that is hard to read, complex and descriptive of the times.

Balzac – Les Chouans

Paul Féval

This writer from Brittany is mostly known for not only featuring Brittany and Normandy in his writings, but also because he is one of the fathers of crime fiction. His novel Jean Diable published in 1862 is one of the first to feature a detective narrative, continuing later on with a criminal saga Les Habits Noirs. He even has a Zorro-like character in Le Loup Blanc, published in 1843, featuring a real life person Philippe II, Duke d’Orléans.

Paul Féval

François René de Chateaubriand

Born in beautiful Saint Malo, François René is one of the parents of romanticism in French literature, as well as a powerful influence abroad. Even though he was also a politician and historian, his description of nature and emotions made him a powerful character in romanticism, influencing the likes of Victor Hugo or Stendhal. His memoirs are a good example of his life and of his representation of the ideas of romanticism: Memoires d’Outre Tombe. He lived in many places across the world, so his memoirs make for fascinating reading in discovering romanticism during the 1700s-1800s.

François René de Chateaubriand /


Art Galleries Town

If you are in the area, you might as well visit Pont-Aven. This little town has numerous art galleries, also probably more than boulangeries, and you can even follow in the footsteps of artists such as Paul Gauguin by the river. Find out more about Gauguin and Brittany to discover the influence Brittany had on art and post-impressionism.

Pont-Aven in Les Lavandiers by Paul Gauguin


Book town

If you ever want to discover more Breton writers and books, try and visit Bécherel. This little town in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine is called the La Cité du Livre en Bretagne (The City of the Book in Brittany). Full of libraries, the city has probably more book stores present than coffee shops.


We are sure that Brittany has many more incredible artists or authors to be discovered. Do you have any recommendations” Leave them in a comment below!
By Hristos Fleturis

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article