Local Culture & Things to Do

Gourmet Cuisine and Farm to Table Cooking Holiday in France

Chateau and City of Vitré: Built at the end of the 11th century on a rocky spur overlooking the Vilaine, this chateau played a major role in the defense of the Breton border, and today is one of the finest specimens of medieval military architecture in Brittany. Rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries and restored in the 19th and 20th centuries, it now houses a museum - opened in 1876 - which reveals its history and that of the town. Or stroll through the narrow streets of the old quarters, along the ramparts and back in time to the 14th and 15th centuries.

Fougères: There has been a castle in Fougères for more than 1,000 years as this site, on a promontory sheltered by hills and surrounded by marshes, was identified by the Duchy of Brittany as the perfect spot to defend its lands from the French. The current castle dates from the 12th century and consists of three enclosures whose walls are dotted with towers: the most impressive is the Mélusine Tower. The castle, where history is brought to life via images and sounds, is a must-visit for both adults and kids alike and a walk around the ramparts is not to be missed.

The old town:The medieval town sprung up to the south of the castle around the River Nançon whose waters were used by the cloth-makers, dyers and tanners; tanning was a by-product of cattle-breeding, which was a major industry in the surrounding area. The prettiest and most atmospheric part of the old town is Place du Marchix, which is lined with half-timbered houses.

Rennes: To visit Rennes is to step back in time, soaking up the city’s past through its monuments, characters and key moments, from the Parlement court and the Great Fire of 1720 to the Odorico mosaics, half-timbered houses and bloody alleyways that were once serial killer Hélène Jegado’s haunts. A fresh take on Brittany and its heritage, a place where stories and legends are recounted, memories that will stick in your mind for years to come…

Saint Malo: The walled grey granite St-Malo citadel is the main tourist attraction for visitors to the area. With its atmospheric narrow streets, bustling bars, restaurants and shops, the citadel makes an ideal base for a long weekend break in Brittany.

Perched on a granite island, the citadel was originally only accessible by a long causeway. This changed in modern times with the construction of the inner harbours joining the citadel to the mainland.

Today, although the buildings give the impression of great age, they are almost all the result of a staggering reconstruction project which returned the town to its former glory after WWII. This project was only officially completed in 1971.

It is possible to walk almost the complete circuit of the walls and this refreshing promenade provides some wonderful vistas. In addition, the town’s beaches can be easily accessed from various points on the way.

Saint Michael Mount: A magical island topped by a gravity-defying abbey, the Mont-Saint-Michel and its Bay count among France’s most stunning sights. For centuries one of Europe’s major pilgrimage destinations, this holy island is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is its breathtaking bay.

This staggeringly beautiful location has long captured the imagination. The story of how the mount came to be a great Christian pilgrimage site dates back to the early 8th century, when Aubert, bishop of the nearby hilltop town of Avranches, claimed that the Archangel Michael himself had pressured him into having a church built atop the island just out to sea.

The Mont-Saint-Michel is one of Europe’s most unforgettable sights. Set in a mesmerising bay shared by Normandy and Brittany, the mount draws the eye from a great distance.

Golf: There are two top class golf courses in the area, one at Vitré and another at Changé-les-Laval - both about a 30 minute drive away. Les Rochers Sévigné is near Vitré, and is laid out in the grounds of the Chateau. It is a superb eighteen-hole course, which has been used on several occasions to host the French Open Championship. It has an excellent clubhouse and restaurant. The course at Changé-les-Laval runs alongside the river "Mayenne" - and boasts a full 27 holes. It has panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, and also has a first class clubhouse and restaurant. Both these courses welcome day visitors - and are generally quiet weekdays.

FishingThere are a number of excellent fishing rivers: the Mayenne, the Erve, the Vaige, the Taude, the Treulon, the Ouette, the Oudon, and more anonymous or not well known ones, however also full of fish. Almost each town has its own deep lake that is well kept and restocked with fish for each fishing season. Daily fishing permits can be purchased on request.

Loire Valley: Take a 2-hour drive to the heart of the Loire, to explore some of the best vineyards of the world, and an abundance of medieval castles.