Brittany / Bretagne

Exploring with Camembear! A region with its own languages, myths and legends; in this blog you will learn some fun facts about Brittany / Bretagne, places to visit and local specialities.

The beautiful city of Rennes is the capital of Brittany

Here are a few facts about the city:

⭐ When it was a small Gallic village, it was named Condate

⭐ In 2015, the city was the tenth largest in France

⭐ Rennes is twinned with the city of Exeter in England

⭐ The inhabitants of Rennes are called Rennais/Rennaise in French

⭐ Rennes is known to be one of the most festive cities of France

⭐ The historic centre is notable for its well-preserved 16th- and 17th-century buildings, including colourful timber-framed houses

Brittany has its own language - Le Breton.

This language is a Celtic language spoken by around 200 000 people (about 5% of the population in Brittany). It is related to Cornish and Welsh, languages practised in the United Kingdom, although closer to the first.

To encourage people to speak the language, some signage and websites are in both French and Breton. However, it is illegal for commercial signage to be in Breton alone. Signs must be bilingual or French only.

Click on this link to learn how to count to 10 in Breton 

Le Breton 1-10

Another place to visit in Brittany is Carnac where you can see the prehistoric Carnac stones are the largest collection of megalithic standing stones in the world. The more than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones were cut from local rock and erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany.

The stones were erected at some stage during the Neolithic period, probably around 3300 BC, but some may be as old as 4500 BC. The stones occur in a number of Neolithic sites around the French village of Carnac, in Brittany. They include rows of stones (alignments), dolmens, tumuli and single menhirs.

Although the stones date from 4500 BCE, modern myths were formed which resulted from 1st century AD Roman and later Christian occupations, such as Saint Cornelius a Christian myth associated with the stones held that they were pagan soldiers in pursuit of Pope Cornelius when he turned them to stone. Brittany has its own local versions of the Arthurian cycle. Local tradition claims that the reason they stand in such perfectly straight lines is that they are a Roman legion turned to stone by Merlin.

More myths and legends....

Brittany is closely associated with the Matter of Britain and King Arthur. According to Wace, Brocéliande is located in Brittany and it is nowadays considered to be Paimpont forest. There, ruins of a castle surrounded by a lake are associated with the Lady of the Lake, a dolmen is said to be Merlin's tomb and a path is presented as Morgan le Fay's Val sans Retour.

Tristan and Iseult are also said to have lived in Brittany.

Another major Breton legend is the story about Ys, a city swallowed by the ocean.

Finally, here are some culinary delights for the regions: 

Far Breton & La Gallette Bretonnes

Far Breton

This cake has many variations; you can replace the prunes by raisins or even apples. The rum is optional or can be replaced by other liquors like Brandy or Armagnac.

You can serve this cake warm or at room temperature.

La Galette Bretonnes

Brittany has actually 3 different recipes for the Galette Bretonne depending of which part of Brittany you are.

La Galette Bretonne is usually served as a savoury dish and can have a wide variety of fillings.

Here are few traditional ones:

  • - ham, egg, cheese (called La Galette Complète)
  • - smoked salmon, cream cheese, chives (called La Galette Nordique)
  • - lardons, onion, reblochon (called La Galette Tartiflette)
  • - goat cheese, honey, lardons
  • - tomato, mozzarella (called La Galette Estivale)

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