From ancient abbeys to century-old castles and majestic lighthouses overlooking the ocean, there’s no shortage of impressive buildings to be seen in Brittany. The megalithic stone used for many of its structures washes the region in a markedly medieval grey, creating a stunning contrast with the vivid natural beauty that surrounds it. Read on to find out the most beautiful buildings to discover in Brittany, France.
The architecture of Old Town Rennes
A visit to Brittany isn’t complete without time in the capital city of Rennes. In its Old Town, still intact after a fire in 1720 that ravaged most of the city, streets are lined with timbered houses distinctively marked by diamond and striped patterns. A perfect example can be found at 3, rue Saint-Guillaume: the Ti-Koz house, dating back to 1505, is particularly charming – painted a rich crimson red and adorned with small sculptures on its facade. A short five-minute walk away is the equally remarkable, though quite different in style, Parliament of Brittany – originally conceived by Salomon de Brosse, the same architect who designed the Luxembourg Palace in Paris.
Abbaye de Beauport
At the site of the Abbaye de Beauport near the northern coast of Brittany are the stunning ruins of the former 13th-century abbey. Its structure was considered different from other abbeys of this era that adhered to the architectural standards set centuries ago for their construction, as it needed to adapt to the rocky terrain it was built on. It’s considered to be one of the first introductions of Gothic architecture to the region and remains today an icon of Breton heritage.
Fort La Latte
Fort La Latte is a 14th-century castle that jets out into the ocean on the Cap Fréhel. Formerly known as La Roche-Goyon, named after one of the oldest known Breton families, the castle was constructed as early as 937 but rebuilt around 1340, during the height of the War of Succession in Brittany. Its location was selected due to the natural cliff formations that encircled and protected the castle from enemies, as well for its view overlooking the Channel, Emerald Coast, and part of the Bay of Saint-Malo to keep watch on ocean activity. It was turned into a coastal defence fort between 1690 and 1715 by Sir Garengeau, creating the monument visitors see today.
Château de Fougères
One of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe, Château de Fougères is a two-hectare castle officially named a Historic National Monument by the Ministry of Culture of France. The fortress was designed to defend the northeastern border of the Duchy of Brittany, strategically located at a crossroad to keep invasion at bay from Normandy and Anjou and Maine. It kept the Duchy of Brittany protected from year 1000 to 1500, and today visitors can explore over 1000 years of history within its castle walls.