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Brittany
Brittany
(/ˈbrɪtəni/; French: Bretagne [bʁətaɲ] ( listen); Breton: Breizh, pronounced [bʁɛjs] or [bʁɛχ];[1] Gallo: Bertaèyn, pronounced [bəʁtaɛɲ]) is a cultural region in the northwest of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica
Armorica
during the period of Roman occupation. It became an independent kingdom and then a duchy before being united with the Kingdom of France
France
in 1532 as a province governed as if it were a separate nation under the crown. Brittany
Brittany
has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain (as opposed to Great Britain, with which it shares an etymology).[2] It is bordered by the English Channel
English Channel
to the north, the Celtic Sea
Celtic Sea
and the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
to the west, and the Bay of Biscay
Bay of Biscay
to the south. Its land area is 34,023 km² (13,136 sq mi). The historical province of Brittany
Brittany
is now split among five French departments: Finistère
Finistère
in the west, Côtes-d'Armor
Côtes-d'Armor
in the north, Ille-et-Vilaine
Ille-et-Vilaine
in the north east, Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
in the south east and Morbihan
Morbihan
in the south on the Bay of Biscay. Since reorganisation in 1956, the modern administrative region of Brittany
Brittany
comprises only four of the five Breton departments, or 80% of historical Brittany. The remaining area of old Brittany, the Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
department around Nantes, now forms part of the Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire
region. At the 2010 census, the population of historic Brittany
Brittany
was estimated to be 4,475,295. Of these, 71% lived in the region of Brittany, while 29% lived in the Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
department. In 2012, the largest metropolitan areas were Nantes
Nantes
(897,713 inhabitants), Rennes
Rennes
(690,467 inhabitants), and Brest (314,844 inhabitants).[3] Brittany
Brittany
is the traditional homeland of the Breton people
Breton people
and is recognised by the Celtic League
Celtic League
as one of the six Celtic nations,[4][5][6][7] retaining a distinct cultural identity that reflects its history. A nationalist movement seeks greater autonomy within the French Republic.[8]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 History

2.1 Prehistoric origins 2.2 Gallic era 2.3 Gallo-Roman era 2.4 Immigration of Britons 2.5 Battle of the Catalaunian Plains 2.6 Riothamus 2.7 Middle Ages 2.8 Union with the French Crown and modern period 2.9 Since 1789

3 Government and politics

3.1 Traditional subdivisions 3.2 Capital cities 3.3 Present subdivisions 3.4 Reunification 3.5 Political tendencies

4 Geography and natural history

4.1 Geology 4.2 Climate 4.3 Flora and fauna

5 Education 6 Economy 7 Demographics

7.1 Regional identity 7.2 Regional languages

7.2.1 Breton 7.2.2 Gallo

7.3 Religion

8 Culture

8.1 Architecture 8.2 Fine arts 8.3 Music 8.4 Legends and literature 8.5 Museums 8.6 Festivals 8.7 Sport 8.8 Cuisine

9 Transport

9.1 Road 9.2 Air 9.3 Rail 9.4 Sea 9.5 Cycling

10 Symbols 11 Image gallery 12 See also 13 Notes 14 References 15 External links

Etymology[edit] The word Brittany, along with its French, Breton and Gallo equivalents Bretagne, Breizh and Bertaèyn, derive from the Latin
Latin
Britannia, which means "Britons' land". This word had been used by the Romans since the 1st century to refer to Great Britain, and more specifically the Roman province of Britain. This word derives from a Greek word, Πρεττανικη (Prettanike) or Βρεττανίαι (Brettaniai), used by Pytheas, an explorer from Massalia who visited the British Islands
British Islands
around 320 BC. The Romans called Brittany
Brittany
Armorica, together with a quite indefinite region that extended along the English Channel
English Channel
coast from the Seine estuary to the Loire
Loire
estuary, and according to several sources, maybe along the Atlantic coast to the Garonne
Garonne
estuary. This term probably comes from a Gallic word, aremorica, which means "close to the sea".[9] Another name, Letauia (in English "Litavis"), was used until the 12th century. It possibly means "wide and flat" or "to expand" and it gave the Welsh name for Brittany: Llydaw.[10] After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, many Britons
Britons
settled in western Armorica, and the region started to be called Britannia, although this name only replaced Armorica
Armorica
in the sixth century or perhaps by the end of the fifth.[11] Later, authors like Geoffrey of Monmouth used the terms Britannia
Britannia
minor and Britannia
Britannia
major to distinguish Brittany
Brittany
from Britain. Breton-speaking people may pronounce the word Breizh in two different ways, according to their region of origin. Breton can be divided into two main dialects: the KLT (Kerne-Leon-Tregor) and the dialect of Vannes. KLT speakers pronounce it [brɛjs] and would write it Breiz, while the Vannetais speakers pronounce it [brɛχ] and would write it Breih. The official spelling is a compromise between both variants, with a z and an h together. In 1941, efforts to unify the dialects led to the creation of the so-called Breton zh, a standard which has never been widely accepted.[1] On its side, Gallo language
Gallo language
has never had a widely accepted writing system and several ones coexist. For instance, the name of the region in that language can be written Bertaèyn in ELG script, or Bertègn in MOGA, and a couple of other scripts also exist.[12][dead link] History[edit] Main article: History of Brittany Prehistoric origins[edit]

The Carnac
Carnac
stones.

Brittany
Brittany
has been inhabited by humans since the Lower Paleolithic. The first settlers were Neanderthals. This population was scarce and very similar to the other Neanderthals found in the whole of Western Europe. Their only original feature was a distinct culture, called "Colombanian".[13] One of the oldest hearths in the world has been found in Plouhinec, Finistère. It is 450,000 years old. Homo sapiens
Homo sapiens
settled in Brittany
Brittany
around 35,000 years ago. They replaced or absorbed the Neanderthals and developed local industries, similar to the Châtelperronian
Châtelperronian
or to the Magdalenian. After the last glacial period, the warmer climate allowed the area to become heavily wooded. At that time, Brittany
Brittany
was populated by relatively large communities who started to change their lifestyles from a life of hunting and gathering, to become settled farmers. Agriculture was introduced during the 5th millennium BC
5th millennium BC
by migrants from the south and east. However, the Neolithic Revolution
Neolithic Revolution
in Brittany
Brittany
did not happen due to a radical change of population, but by slow immigration and exchange of skills.[citation needed] Neolithic Brittany
Brittany
is characterised by important megalithic production, and it is sometimes designated as the "core area" of megalithic culture.[14] The oldest monuments, cairns, were followed by princely tombs and stone rows. The Morbihan
Morbihan
département, on the southern coast, comprises a large share of these structures, including the Carnac stones
Carnac stones
and the Broken Menhir
Menhir
of Er Grah in the Locmariaquer megaliths, the largest single stone erected by Neolithic people. Gallic era[edit]

The five Gallic tribes of Brittany.

During the protohistorical period, Brittany
Brittany
was inhabited by five Celtic tribes:[15]

The Curiosolitae, who lived around the present town of Corseul. Their territory encompassed parts of Côtes-d'Armor, Ille-et-Vilaine
Ille-et-Vilaine
and Morbihan
Morbihan
départements. The Namnetes, who lived in the current Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
département (in today's administrative région of Pays de la Loire), north of the Loire. They gave their name to the city of Nantes. The south bank of the river was occupied by an allied tribe, the Ambilatres,[16] whose existence and territory remain unsure.[15] The Osismii, who lived in the western part of Brittany. Their territory comprised the Finistère
Finistère
département and the western extremity of Côtes-d'Armor
Côtes-d'Armor
and Morbihan. The Redones
Redones
(or Rhedones), who lived in the eastern part of the Ille-et-Vilaine
Ille-et-Vilaine
département. They gave their name to the city of Rennes
Rennes
(Roazhon in Breton language, in the center of the département) and to the town of Redon
Redon
(in the south of the département, bordering the département of Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
in the administrative région of Pays de la Loire, where its suburb town of Saint-Nicolas-de- Redon
Redon
is located; however the city of Redon
Redon
was founded around AD 832 under the initial name of Riedones, long after the Redones
Redones
people were assimilated to Bretons ; the cultural link between Riedones and the former Redones
Redones
people is highly probable but difficult to recover and the name of Riedones may have been written from a local usage preserving the name of the former people in the vernacular oral language from a reading of an ancient Greek othography). The Veneti, who lived in the present Morbihan
Morbihan
département and gave their name to the city of Vannes. Despite confusion by the classical scholar Strabo, they were unrelated to the Adriatic Veneti.

Those people had strong economic ties to the Insular Celts, especially for the tin trade. Several tribes also belonged to an "Armorican confederation" which, according to Julius Caesar, gathered the Curiosolitae, the Redones, the Osismii, the Unelli, the Caletes, the Lemovices and the Ambibarii.[17] The last four peoples mentioned by Caesar were respectively located in Cotentin
Cotentin
(Lower-Normandy), pays de Caux (Upper-Normandy), Limousin
Limousin
(Aquitany) and the location of the Ambibarii is unknown. The Caletes are sometimes also considered as Belgians and ″Lemovices″ is probably a mistake for ″Lexovii″ (Lower-Normandy). Gallo-Roman era[edit]

The temple of Mars in Corseul.

The region became part of the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
in 51 BC. It was included in the province of Gallia Lugdunensis
Gallia Lugdunensis
in 13 BC. Gallic towns and villages were redeveloped according to Roman standards, and several cities were created. These cities are Condate (Rennes), Vorgium (Carhaix), Darioritum (Vannes) and Condevincum or Condevicnum (Nantes). Together with Fanum Martis (Corseul), they were the capitals of the local civitates. They all had a grid plan and a forum, and sometimes a temple, a basilica, thermae or an aqueduct, like Carhaix. The Romans also built three major roads through the region. However, most of the population remained rural. The free peasants lived in small huts, whereas the landowners and their employees lived in proper villae rusticae. The Gallic deities continued to be worshiped, and were often assimilated to the Roman gods. Only a small number of statues depicting Roman gods were found in Brittany, and most of the time they combine Celtic elements.[18] During the 3rd century AD, the region was attacked several times by Franks, Alamanni
Alamanni
and pirates. At the same time, the local economy collapsed and many farming estates were abandoned. To face the invasions, many towns and cities were fortified, like Nantes, Rennes and Vannes.[18]

A French map of the traditional regions of Brittany
Brittany
in Ancien Régime France. The earlier state of Domnonia
Domnonia
or Domnonée
Domnonée
that united Brittany
Brittany
comprised the counties along the north coast.

Immigration of Britons[edit] Toward the end of the 4th century, the Britons
Britons
of what is now Wales and the South-Western peninsula of Great Britain
Great Britain
began to emigrate to Armorica. The history behind such an establishment is unclear, but medieval Breton, Angevin and Welsh sources connect it to a figure known as Conan Meriadoc. Welsh literary sources assert that Conan came to Armorica
Armorica
on the orders of the Roman usurper Magnus Maximus,[a] who sent some of his British troops to Gaul
Gaul
to enforce his claims and settled them in Armorica. This account was supported by the Counts of Anjou, who claimed descent from a Roman soldier[b] expelled from Lower Brittany
Brittany
by Conan on Magnus's orders. Regardless of the truth of this story, Brythonic (British Celtic) settlement probably increased during the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain
Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain
in the 5th and 6th centuries. Scholars such as Léon Fleuriot have suggested a two-wave model of migration from Britain which saw the emergence of an independent Breton people
Breton people
and established the dominance of the Brythonic Breton language in Armorica.[19] Their petty kingdoms are now known by the names of the French counties that succeeded them— Domnonée
Domnonée
(Devon), Cornouaille
Cornouaille
(Cornwall), Léon (Caerleon); but these names in Breton and Latin
Latin
are in most cases identical to their British homelands. (In Breton and French, however, Gwened or Vannetais continued the name of the indigenous Veneti.) Although the details remain confused, these colonies consisted of related and intermarried dynasties which repeatedly unified (as by the 7th-century Saint
Saint
Judicaël) before splintering again according to Celtic inheritance practices. The area was finally consolidated in the 840s under Nominoe
Nominoe
in resistance to Frankish control.[20] Among the immigrant Britons, there were some clergymen who helped the evangelisation of the region, which was still pagan, particularly in rural areas.

The Brythonic community around the 6th century. The sea was a communication medium rather than a barrier.

Battle of the Catalaunian Plains[edit] The army recruited for Flavius Aetius
Flavius Aetius
to combat Attila the Hun
Attila the Hun
at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains
Battle of the Catalaunian Plains
included Romans, Visigoths, Franks, Alans and Armoricans, amongst others. The Alans were placed front and centre, opposite the Huns. The Armoricans supplied archers who attacked the Huns' front lines during the main battle and thwarted Attila's night assault on the Roman camp with a hail of arrows "like rain". After the battle was won, Aetius sent the Alans to Armorica
Armorica
and Galicia. Riothamus[edit] The late 5th century Brittonic leader Riothamus received correspondence from the eminent Roman jurist Sidonius Apollinaris
Sidonius Apollinaris
and was called "King of the Britons" by Jordanes. Some suggest that he was a Breton, though others believe that he was from Britain, pointing to the passage that he arrived in the land of the Biturges "by way of Ocean", which would hardly have been efficient or required for a Breton. Both historians describe Riothamus's losing battle against King Euric
Euric
of the Visigoths at Déols
Déols
around the year 470. In response to a plea from the Roman Emperor Anthemius, Riothamus had led twelve thousand men to establish a military presence in Bourges
Bourges
in central Gaul, but was betrayed by Arvandus, the Praetorian Prefect of Gaul, and subsequently ambushed by Euric's army.[c] After a long battle, the Armorican survivors escaped to Avallon
Avallon
in Burgundy, after which they are lost to history. According to Breton king-lists, Riotham survived and reigned as Prince of Domnonia
Domnonia
until his death sometime between 500 and 520, though this may have been a different person. Middle Ages[edit]

A 1922 nationalist engraving of Nominoe, first king of Brittany.

Battle of Ar Roc'h-Derrien during the War of the Breton Succession

At the beginning of the medieval era, Brittany
Brittany
was divided between three kingdoms, Domnonea, Cornouaille
Cornouaille
and Broërec. These realms eventually merged into a single state during the 9th century.[21][22] The unification of Brittany
Brittany
was carried out by Nominoe, king between 845 and 851 and considered as the Breton pater patriae. His son Erispoe secured the independence of the new kingdom of Brittany
Brittany
and won the Battle of Jengland against Charles the Bald. The Bretons
Bretons
won another war in 867, and the kingdom reached then its maximum extent: it received parts of Normandy, Maine and Anjou
Anjou
and the Channel Islands. Brittany
Brittany
was heavily attacked by the Vikings
Vikings
at the beginning of the 10th century. The kingdom lost its eastern territories, including Normandy
Normandy
and Anjou, and the county of Nantes
Nantes
was given to Fulk I of Anjou
Anjou
in 909. However, Nantes
Nantes
was seized by the Vikings
Vikings
in 914, and was eventually liberated by Alan II of Brittany
Brittany
in 937 with the support of his god-brother King Æthelstan
Æthelstan
of England. Alan II totally expelled the Vikings
Vikings
from Brittany
Brittany
and recreated a strong Breton state. He paid homage to Louis IV of France
France
(who was Æthelstan's nephew and had returned from England in the same year as Alan II) and thus Brittany
Brittany
ceased to be a kingdom and became a duchy. Several Breton lords helped William the Conqueror
William the Conqueror
to invade England and received large estates there (e.g. William's double-second cousin Alan Rufus
Alan Rufus
and the latter's brother Brian of Brittany). Some of these lords were powerful rivals. Medieval Brittany
Brittany
was far from being a united nation. The French king maintained envoys in Brittany, alliances contracted by local lords often overlapped and there was no specific Breton consciousness. For example, Brittany
Brittany
replaced Latin with French as its official language in the 13th century, 300 years before France
France
did so itself, and the Breton language
Breton language
never had any formal status. The foreign policy of the duchy changed many times; the dukes were usually independent but they often contracted alliances with England or France. Their support for each nation became very important during the 14th century, because the English kings then started to claim the French throne. The Breton War of Succession, a local episode of the Hundred Years' War, saw the House of Blois, backed by the French, fighting with the House of Montfort, backed by the English. The Montforts won in 1364 and enjoyed a period of total independence until the end of the Hundred Years' War, because France
France
was weakened and stopped sending royal envoys to the Court of Brittany. English diplomatic failures led to the Breton cavalry commanders Arthur, Comte de Richemont (later to become Arthur III, Duke of Brittany) and his nephew Peter II, Duke of Brittany
Brittany
playing key roles on the French side during the deciding stages of the War (the Battle of Patay, the Treaty of Arras (1435), the Battle of Formigny
Battle of Formigny
and the Battle of Castillon). However, Brittany lost the Mad War
Mad War
against France
France
in 1488, mostly because of its internal divisions which were exacerbated by the corruption at the court of Francis II, Duke of Brittany. Indeed, some Breton lords were fighting on the French side. Union with the French Crown and modern period[edit] Main article: Union of Brittany
Brittany
and France

Anne of Brittany
Anne of Brittany
is regarded in Brittany
Brittany
as a conscientious ruler who defended the duchy against France.

After the Mad War, the duke Francis II could not marry off his daughter Anne without the King of France's consent. Nonetheless, she married the Holy Roman Emperor in 1490, but this led to a severe crisis with France. Charles VIII of France
France
besieged Rennes
Rennes
and had the marriage cancelled. He eventually married Anne of Brittany. After he died childless, the duchess had to marry his heir and cousin Louis XII. Anne unsuccessfully tried to preserve Breton independence, but she died in 1514 and the union between the two crowns was formally carried out by Francis I in 1532. He granted several privileges to Brittany, such as exemption from the gabelle, a tax on salt which was very unpopular in France.[23] Under the Ancien Régime, Brittany
Brittany
and France
France
were governed as separate countries under the same crown, so Breton aristocrats in the French royal court were classed as Princes étrangers (foreign princes). From the 15th to the 18th century, Brittany
Brittany
reached an economic golden age.[d] The region was located on the seaways between Spain, England and the Netherlands
Netherlands
and it greatly benefited from the creation of a French colonial empire. Local seaports like Brest and Saint-Brieuc quickly expanded, and Lorient, first spelled "L'Orient", was founded in the 17th century. Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo
was then known for its corsairs, Brest was a major base for the French Navy
French Navy
and Nantes
Nantes
flourished with the Atlantic slave trade. On its side, the inland provided hemp ropes and canvas and linen sheets. However, Colbertism, which encouraged the creation of many factories, did not favour the Breton industry because most of the royal factories were opened in other provinces. Moreover, several conflicts between France
France
and England led the latter to restrain its trade, and the Breton economy went into recession during the 18th century. Two significant revolts occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries: the Revolt of the papier timbré
Revolt of the papier timbré
(1675) and the Pontcallec Conspiracy (1719). Both arose from attempts to resist centralisation and assert Breton constitutional exceptions to tax.[24] Many Bretons
Bretons
crossed the Atlantic to support the American War of Independence.[25] These included many sailors such as Armand de Kersaint and soldiers such as Charles Armand Tuffin, marquis de la Rouerie. Since 1789[edit]

The mutineers of Fouesnant
Fouesnant
arrested by the National Guard of Quimper in 1792.

The Duchy was legally abolished during the French Revolution, in 1789, and divided into five departments. Brittany
Brittany
also lost all its privileges. Three years later, the area became a centre of royalist and Catholic resistance to the Revolution during the Chouannerie. During the 19th century, Brittany
Brittany
remained in economic recession, and many Bretons
Bretons
emigrated to other French regions, particularly to Paris. This trend remained strong until the beginning of the 20th century. Nonetheless, the region was also modernising, with new roads and railways being built, and some places being industrialised. Nantes specialised in shipbuilding and food processing (sugar, exotic fruits and vegetables, fish...), Fougères
Fougères
in glass and shoe production, and metallurgy was practised in small towns such as Châteaubriant
Châteaubriant
and Lochrist, known for its labour movements. The region remained deeply Catholic, and during the Second Empire, the conservative values were strongly reasserted. When the Republic was re-established in 1871, there were rumours that Breton troops were mistrusted and mistreated at Camp Conlie
Camp Conlie
during the Franco-Prussian War because of fears that they were a threat to the Republic.[26]

A Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
attack on Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo
in 1942.

During the 19th century, the Breton language
Breton language
started to decline precipitously, mainly because of the Francization
Francization
policy conducted under the Third Republic. On one hand, children were not allowed to speak Breton at school, and were punished by teachers if they did. Famously, signs in schools read: "It is forbidden to speak Breton and to spit on the floor" ("Il est interdit de parler Breton et de cracher par terre").[27] On the other hand, Breton (like Latin) was considered as a language that kept Brittany
Brittany
in the hands of the Roman Catholic church and learning French was a way, especially for women, to free themselves from the influence of the church.

The Amoco Cadiz oil spill
Amoco Cadiz oil spill
in 1978 deeply marked Breton people.

At the same time, the Celtic Revival
Celtic Revival
led to the foundation of the Breton Regionalist Union
Breton Regionalist Union
(URB) and later to independence movements linked to Irish, Welsh and Scottish independence parties in the UK and to pan-Celticism. However, the audience of these movements remained very low and their ideas did not reach a large public until the 20th century. The Seiz Breur
Seiz Breur
movement, created in 1923, permitted a Breton artistic revival[28] but its ties with Nazism
Nazism
and the collaborationism of the Breton National Party during World War II weakened Breton nationalism in the post-war period. Brittany
Brittany
lost 240,000 men during the First World War.[29] The Second World War was also catastrophic for the region. It was invaded by Nazi Germany in 1940 and freed after Operation Cobra
Operation Cobra
in August 1944. However, the areas around Saint-Nazaire
Saint-Nazaire
and Lorient
Lorient
only surrendered on 10 and 11 May 1945, several days after the German capitulation. The two port towns had been virtually destroyed by Allied air raids, like Brest and Saint-Malo, and other towns, such as Nantes
Nantes
and Rennes, had also suffered. In 1956, Brittany
Brittany
was legally reconstituted as the Region of Brittany, although the region excluded the ducal capital of Nantes
Nantes
and the surrounding area. Nevertheless, Brittany
Brittany
retained its cultural distinctiveness, and a new cultural revival emerged during the 1960s and 1970s. Bilingual schools were opened, singers started to write songs in Breton, and ecological catastrophes such as the Amoco Cadiz oil spill or the Erika oil spill and water pollution because of intensive pig farming favoured new movements to protect the natural heritage. Government and politics[edit] See also: Politics of France Traditional subdivisions[edit] Brittany
Brittany
as a political entity disappeared in 1790, when it was divided into five départements. The Breton départements more or less correspond to the nine Catholic dioceses that appeared at the beginning of the Middle Ages. They were often called "pays" or "bro" ("country" in French and Breton) and they also served as fiscal and military districts.[30] Brittany
Brittany
is also divided between Lower Brittany
Brittany
("Basse Bretagne" and "Breizh Izel"), corresponding to the western half, where Breton is traditionally spoken, and Upper Brittany ("Haute Bretagne" and "Breizh Uhel"), corresponding to the eastern half, where Gallo is traditionally spoken. The historical Breton dioceses were:

Upper Brittany:

The Pays nantais, around Nantes, corresponding to the Loire-Atlantique département. The Pays rennais, around Rennes, forming part of the Ille-et-Vilaine département. The Pays de Dol, around Dol-de-Bretagne, corresponding to the northern part of the Ille-et-Vilaine
Ille-et-Vilaine
département. The Pays de Saint-Brieuc, around Saint-Brieuc, forming part of the Côtes-d'Armor
Côtes-d'Armor
département. The Pays de Saint-Malo, around Saint-Malo, divided between Ille-et-Vilaine, Côtes-d'Armor
Côtes-d'Armor
and Morbihan.

Lower Brittany:

The Pays vannetais, around Vannes, corresponding to the Morbihan département. The Cornouaille, around Quimper, divided between Finistère
Finistère
and Côtes-d'Armor. The Léon, around Saint-Pol-de-Léon, corresponding to the northern part of the Finistère
Finistère
département. The Trégor, around Tréguier, forming part of the Côtes-d'Armor département.

During the French Revolution, four dioceses were suppressed and the five remaining ones were modified to have the same administrative borders as the départements. Capital cities[edit]

The château des ducs de Bretagne in Nantes, permanent residence of the last dukes.

Brittany
Brittany
has several historical capital cities. When it was an independent duchy, the Estates of Brittany, which can be compared to a parliament, met in various towns: Dinan, Ploërmel, Redon, Rennes, Vitré, Guérande, and, most of all, Vannes, where they met 19 times, and Nantes, 17 times. The Court and the government were also very mobile, and each dynasty favoured its own castles and estates. The dukes mostly lived in Nantes, Vannes, Redon, Rennes, Fougères, Dol-de-Bretagne, Dinan
Dinan
and Guérande. It is interesting to notice that all these towns except Vannes
Vannes
are located in Upper Brittany, thus not in the Breton speaking area. Among all these towns, only Nantes, Rennes
Rennes
and Vannes, which were the biggest ones, could really pretend to the capital status. The dukes were crowned in Rennes
Rennes
and they had a large castle there; it was however destroyed during the 15th century. Vannes, on its side, was the seat of the Chamber of Accounts and of the Parliament until the union with France. The Parliament was then transferred to Rennes, and the Chamber of Accounts to Nantes. Nantes, nicknamed "the city of the Dukes of Brittany", was also the permanent residence of the last dukes. The Château des ducs de Bretagne
Château des ducs de Bretagne
still stands in the city centre. Nowadays, Rennes
Rennes
is the only official capital of the region of Brittany. It is also the seat of an ecclesiastical province encompassing Brittany
Brittany
and the Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire
region. Present subdivisions[edit] See also: Administrative divisions of France, Brittany
Brittany
(administrative region), and Loire-Atlantique

The region Brittany
Brittany
comprises four historical Breton départements. Loire-Atlantique, in light blue, is part of the Pays de la Loire region.

During the French Revolution, Brittany
Brittany
was divided into five départements, each made up of three or four arrondissements. The arrondissements are further divided in cantons, which are themselves made up of one or several communes. The communes and the départements have a local council elected by their citizens, but arrondissements and cantons are not run by elected officials. The cantons serve as an electoral district for the election of the département councils and arrondissements are run by a subprefect appointed by the French president. The president also appoints a prefect in each département. Because the départements are small and numerous, the French government tried to create wider regions during the 20th century. For the Breton nationalists, it was an occasion to recreate Brittany
Brittany
as a political and administrative entity, but the new region had to be economically efficient. Nantes
Nantes
and its département, Loire-Atlantique, raised concerns because they were off-centered, more integrated with the Loire
Loire
Valley than with the Breton peninsula. The French government and local politicians also feared that Nantes, because of its population and its former Breton capital status, would have maintained a harmful competition with Rennes
Rennes
to get the regional institutions and investments. Several drafts for French regions had been proposed since the 1920s, and the definitive regions were drawn in 1956. The new Brittany
Brittany
had four départements, and Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
formed the Pays de la Loire region together with parts of Anjou, Maine and Poitou. In 1972, the regions received their present competencies, with an elected regional council. Since then, the region of Brittany
Brittany
has had its own council and administrative bodies. Reunification[edit] See also: Bretagne Réunie

This Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
road sign reads "welcome to historical Brittany".

When the region of Brittany
Brittany
was created, several local politicians opposed the exclusion of Loire-Atlantique, and the question still remains. The obstacles to reunification are the same as in 1956: having Nantes in Brittany
Brittany
could harm the position of Rennes
Rennes
and create an economic imbalance between Lower and Upper Brittany. Moreover, the Pays de la Loire
Loire
region could not exist without Loire-Atlantique, because it would lose its political and economic capital. Without Loire-Atlantique, the other départements would not form an efficient region any more, and would have to integrate neighbouring regions such as the Centre-Val de Loire
Loire
and Poitou-Charentes. However, several institutions have backed the reunification, such as the regional council of Brittany
Brittany
since 2008 and the Loire-Atlantique council since 2001. Some politicians like Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French prime minister and former mayor of Nantes, favour instead the creation of a "Greater West region", which would encompass Brittany and the Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire
region. Polls show that 58% of the Bretons and 62% of the inhabitants in Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
favour the reunification.[31] Political tendencies[edit] Main article: Politics of Brittany Until the end of the 20th century, Brittany
Brittany
had been characterised by a strong Catholic and conservative influence. However, some areas such as the industrial region around Saint-Nazaire
Saint-Nazaire
and Lorient
Lorient
and the surroundings of Tréguier
Tréguier
are traditional Socialist and Communist strongholds. Left-wing
Left-wing
parties, mainly the Socialist party and the Greens, have become more and more powerful after the 1970s and they have formed a majority in the Regional Council of Brittany
Regional Council of Brittany
since 2004. The Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
and Ille-et-Vilaine
Ille-et-Vilaine
councils have also been held by the left since 2004. The Socialist party has held the Côtes-d'Armor
Côtes-d'Armor
council since 1976, and the Finistère
Finistère
council since 1998. On its side, Morbihan
Morbihan
remains a right-wing stronghold. The local parties have a very small audience, except the Union Démocratique Bretonne which has seats at the Regional Council and in other local assemblies. It advocates more autonomy for the region and its positions are very close to the Socialist parties. It also has a strong ecological orientation. The audience of far-right parties is lower in Brittany
Brittany
than in the rest of France.[32] Geography and natural history[edit]

The Pink Granite
Granite
Coast around Trégastel.

Brittany
Brittany
is the largest French peninsula. It is around 34,030 km2 (13,140 sq mi) and stretches towards the northwest and the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered to the north by the English Channel, to the south by the Bay of Biscay
Bay of Biscay
and the waters located between the western coast and Ushant
Ushant
island form the Iroise Sea. The Breton coast is very indented, with many cliffs, rias and capes. The Gulf of Morbihan
Morbihan
is a vast natural harbour with some forty islands that is almost a closed sea. In total, around 800 islands lie off the mainland; the largest being Belle Île, in the south. Brittany
Brittany
has over 2,860 km (1,780 mi) of coastline; it represents a third of the total French coastline. The region is generally hilly because it corresponds to the western end of the Armorican massif, a very old range that also extends in Normandy
Normandy
and the Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire
region. Because of this continuity, the Breton border with the rest of France
France
is not marked by any strong geographical landmark, apart from the river Couesnon, which separates Brittany
Brittany
from Normandy.

A bog around the Monts d'Arrée.

The Armorican massif
Armorican massif
reaches its maximal elevation outside of Brittany, in neighbouring Mayenne, at 417 m, and slopes towards the west before straightening on its western extremity, with the Montagnes Noires and the Monts d'Arrée. The highest hill in Brittany
Brittany
is the Roc'h Ruz in the Monts d'Arrée, at 385 m (1,263 ft). It is closely followed by several neighbouring hills culminating at around 384 m above sea level.[33] Coastal areas are usually named Armor or Arvor ("by the sea" in Breton), and the inland is called Argoat ("by the forest"). The best soils were primitively covered by large forests which had been progressively replaced by bocage during the Middle Ages. The Breton bocage, with its small fields enclosed by thick hedgerows, has almost disappeared since the 1960s to fit the modern agricultural needs and methods, particularly mechanisation. Several forests still exist, such as the Paimpont forest, sometimes said to be the Arthurian Brocéliande. The poor and rocky areas are covered by large heathland and moorlands, and Brittany
Brittany
has several marshes, like the Brière, included in a regional natural park. Another regional park encompasses the Monts d'Arrée
Monts d'Arrée
and the Iroise seacoast. The Iroise Sea
Iroise Sea
is also a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Geology[edit]

The Pointe du Raz, one of the westernmost extents of both Brittany
Brittany
and Metropolitan France.

The Breton peninsula appeared during the Cadomian Orogeny, which formed its northern coastline, between Guingamp
Guingamp
and Fougères. The southern part emerged during the Hercynian orogeny. At the same time, an intense volcanic activity left large quantities of granite. Between the Cadomian and Hercynian periods, the region was submerged several times and the sea left fossils and sedimentary rocks, mostly schist and sandstone. Because of the absence of limestone, soils in Brittany are usually acid. The Armorican massif
Armorican massif
straightened and flattened several times during the formation of the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
and the Alps. Changes in sea levels and climate led to a strong erosion and to the formation of more sedimentary rocks. Metamorphism
Metamorphism
is responsible for the distinctive local blue schist and for the rich subsoil of the Groix
Groix
island, which comprises glaucophane and epidote.[34] During the Quaternary
Quaternary
glaciations, Brittany
Brittany
was covered by loess and rivers started to fill the valleys with alluvial deposits. The valleys themselves were a result of a strong tectonic activity between the African and the Eurasian plate. The present Breton landscape did not acquired its final shape before one million years ago. The Breton subsoil is characterised by a huge amount of fractures that form a large aquifer containing several millions square meters of water.[34] Climate[edit] Brittany
Brittany
lies within the north temperate zone. It has a changeable, maritime climate, similar to Cornwall. Rainfall occurs regularly but sunny, cloudless days are also common. In the summer months, temperatures in the region can reach 30 °C (86 °F), yet the climate remains comfortable, especially when compared to the French regions located south of the Loire. The temperature difference between summer and winter is about fifteen degrees, but it varies depending on the proximity of the sea. The weather is generally milder on the seacoast than inland but rainfall occurs with the same intensity on both. The Monts d'Arrée, despite their low elevation, have much more rainfall than the rest of the region. The south coast, between Lorient
Lorient
and Pornic, enjoys more than 2,000 hours of sunshine per year.[35] Flora and fauna[edit]

An ocean sunfish exhibiting its characteristic horizontal basking behaviour several miles off Penmarch.

Brittany's wildlife is typical of France
France
with several distinctions. On one hand, the region, due to its long coastline, has a rich oceanic fauna, and some birds cannot be seen in other French regions. On the other hand, the species found in the inland are usually common for France, and because Brittany
Brittany
is a peninsula, the number of species is lower in its western extremity than in the eastern part. A variety of seabirds can be seen close to the seaside, which is home to colonies of cormorants, gulls, razorbills, northern gannets, common murres and Atlantic puffins. Most of these birds breed on isolated islands and rocks and thus are hard to observe. The inland is home to common European species: pheasants, swallows, woodcocks, common swifts, partridges...[36]

A Breton horse.

Like Cornwall, Wales
Wales
and Ireland, the waters of Brittany
Brittany
attract marine animals including basking sharks, grey seals, leatherback turtles, dolphins, porpoises, jellyfish, crabs and lobsters. Bass is common along the coast, small-spotted catsharks live on the continental shelf, rattails and anglerfish populate the deep waters. River fish of note include trout, Atlantic salmon, pikes, shades and lampreys. The Breton rivers are also home to beavers and otters and to some invasive American species, such as the coypu which destroys the ecosystem and accelerated the extinction of the European mink.[37] Among the invertebrates, Brittany
Brittany
is notably home to the escargot de Quimper, the freshwater pearl mussel and the white-clawed crayfish.[38] The larger Breton mammals died out during the modern period, including the wolf. Today, mammals of note include roe deer, wild boar, foxes, hares and several species of bat.[39] Brittany
Brittany
is widely known for the Breton horse, a local breed of draft horse, and for the Brittany
Brittany
gun dog. The region also has its own breeds of cattle, some of which are on the brink of extinction: the Bretonne pie noir, the Froment du Léon, the Armorican and the Nantaise. The Breton forests, dunes, moorlands and marshes are home to several iconic plants, such as endemic cistus, aster and linaria varieties, the horseshoe vetch and the lotus maritimus.[40] Education[edit] See also: Education in France

A battalion of the Saint-Cyr- Coëtquidan
Coëtquidan
military academy

Brittany
Brittany
has the same education system as the rest of France. As in other French regions, formal education before the 19th century was the preserve of the elite. Before 1460, Brittany
Brittany
did not have a university, and Breton students had to go to Angers, Poitiers
Poitiers
or Caen. The University of Nantes
Nantes
was founded under the duke Francis II, who wanted to affirm the Breton independence from France. All the traditional disciplines were taught there: arts, theology, law and medicine. During the 17th century, it had around 1,500 students. It declined during the 18th century, mostly because Nantes
Nantes
was flourishing with the Atlantic slave trade
Atlantic slave trade
and paid no attention to its cultural institutions. A mayor eventually asked the university to be relocated to Rennes, more devoted to culture and science, and the faculties progressively moved there after 1735.[41] The transfer was interrupted by the French Revolution, and all the French universities were dissolved in 1793. Napoleon
Napoleon
reorganised the French education system in 1808. He created new universities and invented two secondary education institutions: the "collèges" and the "lycées" which were opened in numerous towns to educate boys and form a new elite. A new University of Rennes
Rennes
was progressively recreated during the 19th century. In the meantime, several laws were promoted to open schools, notably for girls. In 1882, Jules Ferry
Jules Ferry
succeeded in passing a law which made primary education in France
France
free, non-clerical (laïque) and mandatory. Thus, free schools were opened in almost every villages of Brittany. Jules Ferry also promoted education policies establishing French language
French language
as the language of the Republic, and mandatory education was a mean to eradicate regional languages and dialects. In Brittany, it was forbidden for the pupils to speak Breton or Gallo, and the two were strongly depreciated. Humiliating practices aimed at stamping out the Breton language
Breton language
and culture prevailed in state schools until the late 1960s.[42] In response, the Diwan schools were founded in 1977 to teach Breton by immersion. They have taught a few thousand young people from elementary school to high school, and they have gained more and more fame owing to their high level of results in school exams.[43] A bilingual approach has also been implemented in some state schools after 1979, and some Catholic schools have done the same after 1990. Besides, Brittany, with the neighbouring Pays de la Loire region, remains a stronghold for Catholic private education with around 1,400 schools.[44] During the 20th century, tertiary education was developed with the creation of the École centrale de Nantes
Nantes
in 1919, the University of Nantes
Nantes
in 1961, the ESC Bretagne Brest in 1962, the University of Western Brittany
Brittany
in 1971 and the University of Southern Brittany
University of Southern Brittany
in 1995. The Catholic University of the West, based in Angers, also opened classes in several Breton towns. In 1969, the University of Rennes
Rennes
was divided between the University of Rennes
Rennes
1 and the University of Rennes
Rennes
2 – Upper Brittany. After the Second World War, the Ecole Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr, the foremost French military academy, settled in Coëtquidan. Economy[edit]

RMS Queen Mary 2, once the world's largest passenger ship, was built in Saint-Nazaire.

Brittany, apart from some areas such as Lorient, Nantes
Nantes
and Saint-Nazaire, has never been heavily industrialised. Today, fishing and agriculture remain important activities. Brittany
Brittany
has more than 40,000 agricultural exploitations, mostly oriented towards cattle, pig and poultry breeding, and cereals and vegetables production. The number of exploitations tends to diminish, but as a result, they are merged into very large estates. Brittany
Brittany
is the first producer in France
France
for vegetables (green beans, onions, artichokes, potatoes, tomatoes...). Cereals are mostly grown for cattle feeding. Wine, especially muscadet, is made in a small region south of Nantes. Brittany
Brittany
is the first region in France
France
for fishing. The activity employs around 9,000 people, and more than 60 firms work in fish and seafood processing.[45]

A fishing trawler from Le Guilvinec.

Although relatively new, the Breton industry has been constantly growing since 1980. Food processing (meat, vegetables...) represents a third of the industrial jobs, but other activities are also important for the local economy. Shipbuilding, both commercial and military, is implanted in Saint-Nazaire
Saint-Nazaire
(Chantiers de l'Atlantique), Lorient
Lorient
and Brest; Airbus
Airbus
has plants in Saint-Nazaire
Saint-Nazaire
and Nantes; and Peugeot
Peugeot
has a large factory in Rennes. Brittany
Brittany
is the second French region for telecommunication and the fifth for electronics, two activities mainly developed in Rennes, Lannion
Lannion
and Brest. Tourism is particularly important for the seacoast and Brittany
Brittany
is one of the most visited regions in France.[45] The unemployment rate in Brittany
Brittany
is lower than in other French regions and it is usually around 6 or 7% of the active population.[46] Because of the global financial crisis started in 2007, unemployment has arisen to 8.7% in the Region Brittany
Brittany
and 8.4% in Loire-Atlantique in late 2012. However, these results remain under the French national rate (9.9% at the same period).[47][48] Some activities, such as construction, industry, catering or transport, usually have difficulties to find employees.[46] In 2009, Region Brittany's gross domestic product reached 82 billion euros. It was the seventh richest region in France
France
and it produced 4.4% of the national GDP. The Breton GDP per capita
GDP per capita
was around 25,739 euros in 2009.[49] It was lower than the French result, 29,897 euros, but higher than the European one, 23,500 euros. The GDP of the Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
département is around 26 billion euros, and the GDP of the five historical Breton départements would be at around 108 billion euros.[50] Demographics[edit] See also: Demography of France

Rennes, the most populated city in Region Brittany
Brittany
and the second in historical Brittany, behind Nantes.

In 2012, the population in Region Brittany
Brittany
was estimated to 3,195,317 and Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
had around 1,303,103 inhabitants, thus historical Brittany's population can be estimated at 4,552,918, the highest in its history.[51][52] The population in Region Brittany
Brittany
had grown by 0.9% between 1999 and 2000, and the growth rate reached more than 1% in Ille-et-Vilaine
Ille-et-Vilaine
and Morbihan. The region around Rennes
Rennes
and the south are the more attractive areas, whereas the population is declining in the centre and in the westernmost parts. While most of the metropolitan areas are growing, the cities themselves tend to stagnate or regress, such as for Brest, Lorient, Saint-Brieuc
Saint-Brieuc
and Saint-Malo. In 2008, Ille-et-Vilaine
Ille-et-Vilaine
had 967,588 inhabitants, it was followed by Morbihan, 710,034 inhabitants, Finistère
Finistère
890,509 inhabitants, and Côtes-d'Armor, with 581,570 inhabitants. The largest cities in Region Brittany
Brittany
were Rennes, with 206,655, Brest, 142,097, Quimper, 63,929, Lorient, 58,148, Vannes, 52,983, Saint-Malo, 48,211, and Saint-Brieuc, 45,879. All the other communes had under 20,000 inhabitants. Brittany
Brittany
is also characterised by a great number of small towns, such as Vitré, Concarneau, Morlaix
Morlaix
or Auray. Loire-Atlantique has two major cities, Nantes, with 283,288 inhabitants and an urban area encompassing 873,133, and Saint-Nazaire, with 67,031 inhabitants. Loire-Atlantique's population is more rapidly growing than Region Brittany's and it is the 12th most populated French département.[53] Nevertheless, since the 1990s, Rennes
Rennes
has consistently ranked as one of France's fastest growing metropolitan areas. In 1851, Brittany
Brittany
had around 2.7 million inhabitants and the demographic growth stayed low until the second half of the 20th century, mainly because of an important emigration. Brittany
Brittany
had 3.2 million inhabitants in 1962 and the growth was mainly due to Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
and the steady growth of Nantes. Without the Loire-Atlantique's figures, the Breton population only numbered 2.4 million in 1962, nearly unchanged from its population of 2.3 million in 1851.[54][55] After the 1960s, the whole region has had a strong demographic growth because of the decline of the traditional emigration to richer French regions. Instead, Brittany
Brittany
has become attractive, particularly for families, young retired persons and active people over 35 years old.[56] Brittany
Brittany
does not have a strong share of foreign residents. Together with naturalised French people, they form approximately 2% of the total population. They mainly come from European countries such as the United Kingdom, Portugal
Portugal
and Spain, from former French colonies like Morocco, Algeria, Vietnam, Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast
or Senegal, and from Turkey.[57] Brittany
Brittany
is the region of France
France
that has the smallest proportion of immigrants. Regional identity[edit]

Breton women wearing the Bigouden
Bigouden
distinctive headdress, one of the symbols of Breton identity.

Breton political parties do not have wide support and their electoral success is small. However, Bretons
Bretons
have a strong cultural identity. According to a poll made in 2008, 50% of the inhabitants of the Region Brittany
Brittany
consider themselves as much Breton as French, 22.5% feel more Breton than French, and 15.4% more French than Breton. A minority, 1.5%, considers itself Breton but not French, while 9.3% do not consider themselves to be Breton at all.[58] 51.9% of the poll respondents agreed that Brittany
Brittany
should have more political power, and 31.1% thought that it should stay the same. Only 4.6% favoured independence, and 9.4% were undecided.[58] A 2012 poll taken in the five departments of historical Brittany showed that 48% of the respondents considered themselves belonging first to France, 37% to Brittany, and 10% to Europe. It also showed that Breton identity is stronger among people younger than 35. 53% of them considering themselves to belong first to Brittany. 50% of the older respondents considered themselves belonging first to France. Primary Breton identity is at its lowest among the respondents over 65: 58% consider themselves to belong first to France, with European identify secondary. 21% of the respondents over 65 considering themselves to be European first. Breton self-identification is stronger among people who vote left-wing. It is stronger among employees than employers.[59] Regional languages[edit]

Lower Brittany
Lower Brittany
(in colours), where the Breton language
Breton language
is traditionally spoken and Upper Brittany
Upper Brittany
(in shades of grey), where the Gallo language
Gallo language
is traditionally spoken. The changing shades indicate the advance of Gallo and French, and retreat of Breton from 900 AD.

Main article: Linguistic boundary of Brittany French, the only official language of the French Republic, is spoken today by everybody in Brittany, and it is the mother tongue of most people. Nonetheless, French was not widely known before the 19th century, and two regional languages exist in Brittany: Breton and Gallo. They are separated by a language border that has constantly moved back since the Middle Ages. The current border runs from Plouha on the English Channel
English Channel
to the Rhuys Peninsula
Peninsula
on the Bay of Biscay. Because of their origins and practice, Breton and Gallo can be compared to Scottish Gaelic
Scottish Gaelic
and Scots language
Scots language
in Scotland. Both have been recognised as "Langues de Bretagne" ("languages of Brittany") by the Regional Council of Brittany
Regional Council of Brittany
since 2004. Breton[edit] Main article: Breton language

Bilingual road signs can be seen in traditional Breton-speaking areas.

Breton is a Celtic language
Celtic language
derived from the historical Common Brittonic language, and is most closely related to Cornish and Welsh. It was imported in Western Armorica
Armorica
during the 5th century by Britons fleeing the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain. Since the 13th century, long before the union of Brittany
Brittany
and France, the main administrative language of the Duchy of Brittany
Duchy of Brittany
had been French, which had replaced Latin. Breton remained the language of the rural population, but since the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
the bourgeoisie, the nobility, and the higher clergy have spoken French. Government policies in the 19th and 20th centuries made education compulsory and, at the same time, forbade the use of Breton in schools to push non-French speakers into adopting the French language. Nevertheless, until the 1960s Breton was spoken or understood by many of the inhabitants of western Brittany. During the 1970s, Breton schools were opened and the local authorities started to promote the language, which was on the brink of extinction because parents had stopped teaching it to their children. Having declined from more than one million speakers around 1950 to about 200,000 in the first decade of the 21st century, of whom 61% are more than 60 years old, Breton is classified as "severely endangered" by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger. However, the number of children attending bilingual classes has risen 33% between 2006 and 2012 to 14,709.[60][61] The Breton language
Breton language
has several dialects which have no precise limits but rather form a continuum. Most of them are very similar to each other, with only some phonetic and lexical differences. The three main dialects spoken in the western end of Brittany, the 'Cornouillais, around Quimper, the Léonard, around Saint-Pol-de-Léon, and the Trégorrois, around Tréguier, are grouped into the KLT group (Kerne-Leon-Treger), in opposition to the Vannetais, spoken around Vannes, which is the most differentiated Breton dialect. According to a 1999 INSEE survey, 12% of the adults of Brittany
Brittany
speak Breton.[62] Gallo[edit] Main article: Gallo language

Signs in Gallo are very rare and the writing systems they use are unknown by most of the speakers.

Gallo is spoken on the eastern half of Brittany. It is one of the romance Langues d'oïl, but has some Celtic influences, particularly in its vocabulary. Unlike Breton, Gallo does not have a long promotion history and it is still often perceived as a poor rural dialect. Moreover, because of its similarities with Gallo, French imposed itself more easily as the main language in Upper Brittany
Upper Brittany
than in Breton speaking areas. Gallo was felt to be an incorrect way of speaking French more than a proper dialect or language. Gallo transmission from parents to children is extremely low and efforts to standardise and publish books in Gallo did not reverse the decline of the language and its lack of prestige.[63] Gallo is also threatened by the Breton language
Breton language
revival, because Breton is gaining ground in territories that were not previously part of the main Breton-speaking area, and most of all because Breton appears as the national language of Brittany, thus leaving no place for Gallo.[63] Gallo had never been written before the 20th century, and several writing systems were created. They are however rarely known by the population and signs in Gallo are often unreadable, even for fluent speakers. In Loire-Atlantique, where Gallo is not promoted at all by the local authorities, many people do not even know the word "Gallo" and have no idea that it has writing systems and publications.[63] The Gallo community is estimated at between 28,300[64] and 200,000[63] speakers. The language is taught on a non-compulsory basis in some schools, high-schools and universities, particularly in Ille-et-Vilaine.[63] Religion[edit]

Sculpted "calvaries" can be found in many villages in Lower Brittany.

Bretons
Bretons
are mainly Catholic and the Christianisation occurred during the Roman Gaul
Gaul
and Frank era. During the Briton emigration to Brittany, several Christian missionaries, mostly Welsh, came in the region and founded dioceses. They are known as the "Seven founder saints":

Paol Aoreliann, at Saint-Pol-de-Léon, Tudwal, at Tréguier, Brieg, at Saint-Brieuc, Maloù, at Saint-Malo, Samsun of Dol, at Dol-de-Bretagne, Padarn, at Vannes, Kaourintin, at Quimper.

Other notable early missionaries are Gildas
Gildas
and the Irish saint Columbanus. In total, Brittany
Brittany
numbers more than 300 "saints" (only a few recognised by the Catholic Church) and, since the 19th century at least, it has been known as one of the most devoutly Catholic regions in France, together with the neighbouring Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire
region. The proportion of students attending Catholic private schools is the highest in France. The patron saint of Brittany
Brittany
is Saint
Saint
Anne, the Virgin's mother, but Ivo of Kermartin, a 13th-century priest, called Saint-Yves in French and Sant-Erwan in Breton, can also be considered as a patron saint. His feast, the 19 May, is Brittany's national day.

A chapel and a calvary in Locronan, Finistère.

Many distinctive traditions and customs have also been preserved in Brittany. Among them, the "Pardons" are one of the most traditional demonstrations of popular Catholicism. These penitential ceremonies occur in some villages in Lower Brittany
Lower Brittany
on the feast day of the parish's saint. The penitents form a procession and they walk together to a shrine, a church or any sacred place. Some Pardons are reputed for their length, and they all finish by large meals and popular feasts.

A sculpted Ankou
Ankou
in Ploudiry.

There is a very old pilgrimage called the Tro Breizh (tour of Brittany), where the pilgrims walk around Brittany
Brittany
from the grave of one of the seven founder saints to another. Historically, the pilgrimage was made in one trip (a total distance of around 600 km) for all seven saints. Nowadays, however, pilgrims complete the circuit over the course of several years. In 2002, the Tro Breizh included a special pilgrimage to Wales, symbolically making the reverse journey of the Welshmen Sant Paol, Sant Brieg, and Sant Samzun.[65] The most powerful folk figure is the Ankou
Ankou
or the "Reaper of Death". Sometimes a skeleton wrapped in a shroud with the Breton flat hat, sometimes described as a real human being (the last dead of the year, devoted to bring the dead to Death), he makes his journeys by night carrying an upturned scythe which he throws before him to reap his harvest. Sometimes he is on foot but mostly he travels with a cart, the Karrig an Ankou, drawn by two oxen and a lean horse. Two servants dressed in the same shroud and hat as the Ankou
Ankou
pile the dead into the cart, and to hear it creaking at night means you have little time left to live.[66] As official religious statistics are forbidden in France, there are no official figures about religious practices in Brittany. However, successive polls show that the region tends to be more and more nonreligious. Catholic religion has started to decline after the Second World War, during the urbanisation of Brittany. A poll conducted in 2006 showed that Morbihan
Morbihan
was the only département to have a strong Catholic population, around 70% of its inhabitants belonging to that religion. Loire-Atlantique
Loire-Atlantique
and Côtes-d'Armor
Côtes-d'Armor
were among the least Catholic French départements, with only 50% of Catholics, while Ille-et-Vilaine
Ille-et-Vilaine
and Finistère
Finistère
were at around 65%. Other religions are almost non-existent, apart from Islam
Islam
which gathers between 1 and 3% of the inhabitants in Ille-et-Vilaine
Ille-et-Vilaine
and Loire-Atlantique.[67] Culture[edit] Architecture[edit]

Josselin Castle.

Brittany
Brittany
is home to many megalithic monuments; the words menhir and dolmen come from the Breton language. The largest menhir alignments are the Carnac
Carnac
stones. Other major sites include the Barnenez
Barnenez
cairn, the Locmariaquer megaliths, the Menhir
Menhir
de Champ-Dolent, the Mane Braz tumulus and the Gavrinis
Gavrinis
tomb. Monuments from the Roman period are rare, but include a large temple in Corseul
Corseul
and scarce ruins of villas and city walls in Rennes
Rennes
and Nantes. Brittany
Brittany
has a large quantity of medieval buildings. They include numerous Romanesque and French Gothic churches, usually built in local sandstone and granit, castles and half-timbered houses visible in villages, towns and cities. Several Breton towns still have their medieval walls, such as Guérande, Concarneau, Saint-Malo, Vannes, Fougères
Fougères
and Dinan. Major churches include Saint-Pol-de-Léon Cathedral, Tréguier
Tréguier
Cathedral, Dol Cathedral, Nantes
Nantes
Cathedral and the Kreisker chapel. Most of the Breton castles were rebuilt between the 13th and the 15th century, such as the Château de Suscinio, the Château de Dinan, the Château de Combourg, the Château de Largoët, the Château de Tonquédec, the Josselin Castle
Josselin Castle
and the Château de Trécesson. The most impressive castles can be seen along the border with France, where stand the Château de Fougères, the Château de Vitré, the Château de Châteaubriant
Châteaubriant
and the Château de Clisson.

A traditional house in Plougoumelen.

The French Renaissance
French Renaissance
occurred when Brittany
Brittany
lost its independence. The Renaissance architecture is almost absent in the region, apart in Upper Brittany, close to the border with France. Major sites include the Château des ducs de Bretagne, the last permanent residence of the dukes, which displays the transition from late Gothic to Renaissance style. The Château de Châteaubriant, a former fortress, was transformed into a vast palace in the Italian style.

An Art Deco
Art Deco
villa in Bénodet.

In Lower Brittany, the medieval style never totally disappeared. However, local innovations permitted some changes and the birth of a particular style. Its most distinctive feature is the parish close, which displays an elaborately decorated church surrounded by an entirely walled churchyard. Many villages still have their closes, they date from the 16th and 17th centuries and sometimes include an elaborately carved calvary sculpture. During the 17th and the 18th centuries, the main seaports and towns obtained a typical French look, with baroque and neoclassical buildings. Nantes, which was at the time the biggest French harbour, received a theatre, large avenues and quays, and Rennes
Rennes
was redesigned after a fire in 1720. At the same period, the wealthy ship-owners from Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo
built many mansions called "Malouinières" around their town. Along the coast, Vauban
Vauban
and other French architects designed several citadels, such as in Le Palais
Le Palais
and Port-Louis. In rural areas, Breton houses remained simple, with a single floor and a longhouse pattern. They were built with local materials: mostly granit in Lower Brittany
Brittany
and schist in Upper Brittany. Slates and reeds were usually used for roofing. During the 19th century, the Breton architecture was mainly characterised by the Gothic Revival and Eclecticism. Clisson, the southernmost Breton town, was rebuilt in an Italian Romantic style around 1820. The Breton lighthouses were mostly built during the 19th century. The most famous are Ar Men, Phare d'Eckmühl, La Vieille
La Vieille
and La Jument. The lighthouse on the Île Vierge
Île Vierge
is, with 77 meters, the highest in Europe. At the end of the 19th century, several seaside resorts were created along the coast and villas and hotels were built in historicist, Art Nouveau, and later in the Art Deco
Art Deco
styles. These architectures are particularly present in Dinard, La Baule
La Baule
and Bénodet. Architecture from the 20th century can be seen in Saint-Nazaire, Brest and Lorient, three cities destroyed during the Second World War
Second World War
and rebuilt afterwards, and in the works of the Breton nationalist architects like James Bouillé and Olier Mordrel. Fine arts[edit]

The Beautiful Angèle by Paul Gauguin.

Until the 19th century, Catholicism
Catholicism
had been the main inspiration for Breton artists. The region has a great number of baroque retables, made between the 17th and the 19th century. Breton sculptors were also famous for their ship models that served as ex-votos and for their richly decorated furniture, which features naïve Breton characters and traditional patterns. The box-bed is the most famous Breton piece of furniture. The Breton style had a strong revival between 1900 and the Second World War
Second World War
and it was used by the Seiz Breur
Seiz Breur
movement. The Seiz Breur
Seiz Breur
artists also tried to invent a modern Breton art by rejecting French standards and mixing traditional techniques with new materials. The leading artists of that period were the designer René-Yves Creston, the illustrators Jeanne Malivel
Jeanne Malivel
and Xavier Haas, and the sculptors Raffig Tullou, Francis Renaud, Georges Robin, Joseph Savina, Jules-Charles Le Bozec
Jules-Charles Le Bozec
and Jean Fréour. Brittany
Brittany
is also known for its needlework, which can be seen on its numerous headdress models, and for its faience production, which started at the beginning of the 18th century. Quimper
Quimper
faience is known worldwide for its bowls and plates painted by hand, and other towns, such as Pornic, also maintain a similar tradition. The potteries usually feature naïve Breton characters in traditional clothing and daily scenes. The designs have a strong traditional Breton influence, but Orientalism
Orientalism
and Art Deco
Art Deco
have also been used. Because of its distinct culture and beautiful landscapes, Brittany
Brittany
has inspired many French artists since the 19th century. The Pont-Aven School, which started to emerge in the 1850s and lasted until the beginning of the 20th century, had a decisive influence on modern painting. The artists who settled in Pont-Aven
Pont-Aven
wanted to break away from the Academic style of the École des Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts
and later from Impressionism
Impressionism
when it began to decline. Among them were Paul Gauguin, Paul Signac, Marc Chagall, Paul Sérusier
Paul Sérusier
and Raymond Wintz. Before them, Brittany
Brittany
had also been visited by Academic and Romantic painters like Jean Antoine Théodore de Gudin and Jules Achille Noël
Jules Achille Noël
who were looking for dramatic seascapes and storms. Music[edit] Main articles: Music of Brittany
Music of Brittany
and Breton dance

The Lann-Bihoué
Lann-Bihoué
bagad.

Since the early 1970s, Brittany
Brittany
has experienced a tremendous revival of its folk music. Numerous festivals were created, along with smaller fest-noz (popular feasts). The bagadoù, bands composed of bagpipes, bombards and drums (including snare), are also a modern creation, inspired by the Scottish pipe bands. The Lann-Bihoué
Lann-Bihoué
bagad, one of the most well-known, belongs to the French Navy. It is the only one that does not take part to the annual bagadoù competitions. Celtic harp is also common, as are vocals and dances. The Kan ha diskan
Kan ha diskan
is the most common type of singing. The performers sing calls and responses while dancing. Breton dances usually imply circles, chains or couples and they are different in every region. The oldest dances seem to be the passepied and the gavotte, and the newest ones derive from the quadrille and French Renaissance
French Renaissance
dances.

Nolwenn Leroy
Nolwenn Leroy
and Alan Stivell
Alan Stivell
(2012).

In the 1960s, several Breton artists started to use contemporary patterns to create a Breton pop music. Among them, Alan Stivell
Alan Stivell
highly contributed to popularise the Celtic harp
Celtic harp
and Breton music in the world. He also used American rock
American rock
and roll in his works and influenced 1970s Breton bands such as Kornog, Gwerz and Tri Yann, who revived traditional songs and made them popular across France. Soldat Louis
Soldat Louis
is the main Breton rock band and the most famous [according to whom?] Breton singers are Gilles Servat, Glenmor, Dan Ar Braz, Yann-Fañch Kemener, Denez Prigent, Nolwenn Korbell
Nolwenn Korbell
and Nolwenn Leroy. The Manau Hip hop group from Paris has strong Breton and Celtic inspirations. Yann Tiersen, who composed the soundtrack for Amélie, the Electro band Yelle
Yelle
and the avant-garde singer Brigitte Fontaine
Brigitte Fontaine
are also from Brittany. The 19th-century composer Louis-Albert Bourgault-Ducoudray was one of the first western European composers to be influenced by what is now known as world music. Legends and literature[edit]

The singer-songwriter Théodore Botrel
Théodore Botrel
dressed in traditional Breton costume.

Brittany
Brittany
is closely associated with the Matter of Britain
Matter of Britain
and King Arthur. According to Wace, Brocéliande
Brocéliande
is located in Brittany
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
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. Breton literature before the 19th century was mostly oral. The oral tradition entertained by medieval poets died out during the 15th century and books in Breton were very rare before 1850. At that time, local writers started to collect and publish local tales and legends and wrote original works. Published between 1925 and the Second World War, the literary journal Gwalarn favoured a modern Breton literature and helped translating widely known novels into Breton. After the war, the journal Al Liamm pursued that mission. Among the authors writing in Breton are Auguste Brizeux, a Romantic poet, the neo-Druidic bard Erwan Berthou, Théodore Hersart de La Villemarqué, who collected the local legends about King Arthur, Roparz Hemon, founder of Gwalarn, Pêr-Jakez Helias, Glenmor, Pêr Denez and Meavenn. Breton literature in French includes 19th-century historical novels by Émile Souvestre, travel journals by Anatole Le Braz, poems and novels by Charles Le Goffic, the works of the singer-songwriter Théodore Botrel and of the maritime writer Henri Queffélec. Brittany
Brittany
is also the birthplace of many French writers like François-René de Chateaubriand, Jules Verne, Ernest Renan, Félicité Robert de Lamennais and Pierre Abélard. The Asterix
Asterix
comics, set during the time of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
and written in the second half of the twentieth century, are set in Armorica, now Brittany. Museums[edit] The Museum of Brittany, located in Rennes, was founded in 1856. Its collections are mainly dedicated to the history of the region. Museums dedicated to Prehistory
Prehistory
and local megaliths are located in Carnac
Carnac
and Penmarch, while several towns like Vannes
Vannes
and Nantes
Nantes
have a museum presenting their own history. The Museum of Fine Arts of Rennes
Rennes
owns a large collection of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities as well as drawings and engravings by Domenico Ghirlandaio, Parmigianino, Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer
and Rembrandt. Its French art collection gathers works by Georges de La Tour, François Boucher, Paul Gauguin, Auguste Rodin, Camille Corot
Camille Corot
and Robert Delaunay. It has also works by Pablo Picasso, Rubens, Peter Lely
Peter Lely
and Paolo Veronese. The collections of the Museum of Fine Arts of Nantes are more dedicated to modern and contemporary art and contain works by Edward Burne-Jones, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Eugène Delacroix, Gustave Courbet, Paul Signac, Tamara de Lempicka, Wassily Kandinsky, Max Ernst, Pierre Soulages
Pierre Soulages
and Piero Manzoni. The Museums of Fine Arts of Brest and Quimper
Quimper
offer similar collections, with large quantities of French painting together with the works of some Italian and Dutch artists. The Museum of Fine Arts Pont-Aven
Pont-Aven
is dedicated to the School of Pont-Aven. Contemporary sculptures can be seen in the park around the Château de Kerguéhennec, in Bignan. Museums in Saint-Malo, Lorient
Lorient
and Douarnenez
Douarnenez
are dedicated to ships and maritime traditions and history. The Musée national de la Marine has a large annexe in Brest and a submarine is opened to visitors in Lorient. In the same town, it is also possible to visit the Keroman Submarine Base built in 1942, and the Cité de la voile Éric Tabarly, a museum dedicated to sailing. In Saint-Nazaire, where many transatlantic ships where built, including SS Normandie
SS Normandie
and SS France, a museum showing transatlantic interiors was installed in a Second World War base. Nantes
Nantes
has a museum dedicated to Jules Verne, a Natural History Museum and a museum of archaeology and design, the Musée Dobrée. Festivals[edit]

The Götheborg ship replica at the Brest tall ship meeting in 2012.

Brittany
Brittany
has a vibrant calendar of festivals and events. It hosts some of France's biggest contemporary music festivals, such as La Route du Rock in Saint-Malo, the Vieilles Charrues in Carhaix, the Rencontres Trans Musicales in Rennes, the Festival du Bout du Monde in Crozon, the Hellfest in Clisson
Clisson
and the Astropolis in Brest. The Festival Interceltique de Lorient
Lorient
welcomes each year participants all the Celtic nations
Celtic nations
and their diasporas. La Folle Journée, in Nantes, is the largest classical music festival in France. The Breton culture is highlighted during the Fête de la Bretagne, which occurs in many places around Saint-Yves's day (19 May), and during the Festival de Cornouaille
Cornouaille
in Quimper. Several towns also organise historical re-enactments and events celebrating local traditions, such as the Filets Bleus in Concarneau
Concarneau
which celebrates fishing. Brittany
Brittany
also has some film festivals like the Three Continents Festival in Nantes. The Utopiales international science fiction festival is held in the same city. Brest and Douarnenez
Douarnenez
both organise large tall ship meetings. Sport[edit] Football, cycling and sailing are the three most popular sports in Brittany. Major football teams are the FC Nantes, the Stade Rennais F.C., the FC Lorient, the Stade Brestois 29, the Vannes
Vannes
OC and the En Avant de Guingamp. Professional footballers coming from the region also form the Brittany national football team
Brittany national football team
which sometimes plays with national teams. Several Bretons
Bretons
have won the Tour de France: Bernard Hinault, Louison Bobet, Jean Robic
Jean Robic
and Lucien Petit-Breton
Lucien Petit-Breton
as riders, and Cyrille Guimard as a directeur sportif. Sailing is particularly important for sea-resorts like La Trinité-sur-Mer, Pornichet, Concarneau, Lorient
Lorient
and the îles de Glénan, where a prestigious school is located. A great number of Bretons
Bretons
have become acclaimed sailors, such as: Éric Tabarly, Loïck Peyron, Jean Le Cam, Michel Desjoyeaux, Olivier de Kersauson, Thomas Coville, Vincent Riou
Vincent Riou
and Marc Pajot. The Route du Rhum, the Transat Québec-Saint-Malo, the Jules Verne
Jules Verne
Trophy are the main Breton sailing competitions. The Solitaire du Figaro
Solitaire du Figaro
stages often start in Brittany. Gouren, a style of folk wrestling, is the most popular Breton sport. The Boule bretonne is related to pétanque. The Palets, common in Upper Brittany
Upper Brittany
and in other French regions, is also related to pétanque, but players use iron disks instead of balls and they have to throw them on a wooden board. Cuisine[edit]

Galettes served with eggs and sausages.

Although Muscadet
Muscadet
and Gros Plant white wines are produced south of the Loire, the traditional drink of Brittany
Brittany
is cider. Brittany
Brittany
is the second-largest cider-producing region in France.[68] Breton cider is traditionally served in a bowl or a cup. Brittany
Brittany
also has a long beer-brewing tradition, tracing its roots back to the 17th century. Young artisanal brewers are keeping a variety of beer types alive,[69] such as Coreff de Morlaix, Tri Martolod and Britt. Stronger alcohols include the chouchen, a sort of mead made with wild honey, and an apple eau de vie called lambig. Crêpes and galettes are the two most iconic Breton dishes. The crêpes, made and served with butter, are eaten for dessert and the galettes are usually salty and made with buckwheat. They traditionally replaced bread as basic food and they can be served with cheese, sausages, bacon, mushrooms or eggs. They can be accompanied by Breton buttermilk called lait ribot. Brittany
Brittany
also has a dish similar to the pot-au-feu known as the kig ha farz, which consists of stewed pork or beef with buckwheat dumplings. Surrounded by the sea, Brittany
Brittany
offers a wide range of fresh seafood and fish, especially mussels and oysters. Among the seafood specialities is a fish stew called cotriade. The beurre blanc sauce, invented in Saint-Julien-de-Concelles, close to Nantes, is often served with fish. Brittany
Brittany
is also known for its salt, mainly harvested around Guérande
Guérande
and used in butter and milk caramels. The region is notable for its biscuit factories, many towns having their own: Quimper, Lorient, Pont-Aven, Saint-Brieuc, BN and LU in Nantes, La Trinitaine in La Trinité-sur-Mer, and Galettes Saint-Michel in Saint-Michel-Chef-Chef. They usually make their biscuits with salted butter and sell them in iron boxes. Famous Breton pastries include the kouign amann ("butter cake" in Breton) made with bread dough and high quantities of butter and sugar, and the far, a sort of sweet Yorkshire pudding usually made with plums. Transport[edit] Road[edit]

An old road sign on the Route Nationale 786 in Tréveneuc.

Until the 1970s, the Breton road network was poor because maritime and rail transport prevailed. The French president Charles de Gaulle implemented a major road construction plan in the 1970 and Brittany received over 10 billion francs of investments during 25 years.[70] More than 10,000 km of motorways were built, permitting Breton road transport to multiply by four. The Breton motorways are not toll roads, contrarily to the usual French highways.[71][72] The main road artery linking cities and other settlements along the north coast is the Route nationale 12 which connects the cities of Rennes, Saint-Brieuc, Morlaix
Morlaix
and Brest. It also provides a link to southern Normandy, terminating in Paris. In south Brittany
Brittany
the Route nationale 165 performs a similar role along the south coast providing connections between Nantes, Vannes, Lorient, Quimper
Quimper
and Brest. The Route nationale 164 crosses the centre of the peninsula and connects Rennes
Rennes
to Loudéac, Morlaix
Morlaix
and Châteaulin, and the Route nationale 166 links Rennes
Rennes
to Vannes. The Route nationale 137 provides connections between Saint-Malo, Rennes
Rennes
and Nantes
Nantes
and terminates in Bordeaux. Nantes
Nantes
is linked to Paris by the A11 autoroute, and Rennes
Rennes
is both on the A81 autoroute to Paris and the A84 autoroute
A84 autoroute
to Caen. These highways are standard French toll road. Air[edit]

The Morlaix
Morlaix
railway viaduct is one of the highest in France.

The biggest Breton airport is Nantes
Nantes
Atlantique Airport. It serves destinations in the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Morocco... It will be replaced around 2017 by the new Aéroport du Grand Ouest, located 30 km to the north-west of Nantes. The Brest Bretagne Airport is the second airport in Brittany. It is followed by Rennes
Rennes
– Saint-Jacques, Lorient
Lorient
South Brittany
Brittany
and Dinard
Dinard
– Saint-Malo. The Saint-Brieuc
Saint-Brieuc
– Armor airport serves flights between Brittany
Brittany
and the Channel Islands. Others smaller airport operates domestic flights in Quimper, and Lannion. Rail[edit]

The Brittany Ferries
Brittany Ferries
MS Bretagne off Saint-Malo.

Brittany
Brittany
is on two major TGV
TGV
lines, one linking Paris to Nantes
Nantes
and Le Croisic, on the south coast, and another linking Paris to Rennes
Rennes
and Brest. The LGV Atlantique which stops at Le Mans will be extended to Rennes
Rennes
in 2017, providing faster connections between Paris and Brittany. TGV
TGV
train services also link the region with cities such as Lyon, Strasbourg, Marseille, and Lille. Secondary train services are operated by TER Bretagne
TER Bretagne
which provides connections between small towns such as Vannes, Carhaix, Roscoff
Roscoff
and Paimpol. TER Bretagne
TER Bretagne
also manages coach lines and connections between Rennes
Rennes
and Nantes. TER Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire
operates trains between Nantes
Nantes
and smaller towns in Loire-Atlantique. Sea[edit] There are ferry services that take passengers, vehicles and freight to Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands. The main companies are Brittany Ferries
Brittany Ferries
which operates lines between Plymouth and Roscoff, Portsmouth
Portsmouth
and Saint-Malo, and Roscoff
Roscoff
and Cork. Irish Ferries operates the route Rosslare- Roscoff
Roscoff
and Condor Ferries
Condor Ferries
link Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo
with Jersey. Cycling[edit] Cycling has always been one of the main sports of Brittany, but leisure cycling and the infrastructure to support it have been growing extremely rapidly. An extensive network of cyclepaths and recommended cycleroutes has opened up all over the region. Some of these are routes using mainly smaller roads and both signposted and maintained by communes individually, but many are based on dedicated cyclepaths often formed by converting disused railway tracks. These help form routes such as 'Vélodyssée' from Roscoff
Roscoff
to Nantes
Nantes
and several major routes under the 'V' label (following signs V1, V2 etc.).[73] The old tow-path of the Nantes-Brest canal is now open to cyclists along its entire 385 km length though in places (unlike rail-based cyclepaths) it is very meandering and leaving the path will both shorten the distance and provide variety[74] As a general rule cyclists are very well respected in the region and many larger towns have cycle-lanes - however traffic is 'cycle friendly' even in their absence. Symbols[edit]

The modern flag of Brittany.

The modern flag of Brittany
Brittany
was designed in 1923. It is called Gwenn ha Du ("white and black" in Breton) and it features eleven ermine spots (their number may vary) and nine stripes, the black ones represent the Breton speaking historical dioceses, and the white ones symbolise the gallo speaking dioceses. The flag was created to replace the traditional ermine plain standard, considered too aristocratic and royalist. It was inspired by the American flag and the British Red Ensign.[75] Since the 1920s, the flag has become very popular and it is flown from a large number of institutions. Apart from the ermine flag, Breton historic banners include the Kroaz Du, a white flag with a black cross, the perfect negative of the Cornish flag.

The ermine was the badge of several dukes of Brittany.

The coat of arms of Brittany, ermine plain, was adopted by John III in 1316. Ermine
Ermine
had been used in Brittany
Brittany
long before, and there is no clue about its origin. It was probably chosen by the dukes because of its similarity with the French fleur-de-lis. The ermine, or stoat, as an animal became the badge of John IV at the end of the 14th century. It appeared later on numerous locations, including churches and castles. According to popular traditions, Anne of Brittany
Anne of Brittany
was hunting with her court when she saw a white ermine who preferred to die than to cross a dirty marsh. This episode would have inspired the duchess' motto : "Potius mori quam foedari" ("rather death than dishonour").[76] The motto has later been reused by Breton regiments, local World War II Resistants and cultural movements. The Breton anthem, although not official, is Bro Gozh ma Zadoù - ("Old Land of My Fathers"). It re-employs both the Welsh anthem's music and that of "Bro Goth agan Tasow" (the national anthem of Cornwall; its lyrics were written at the end of the 19th century. Colloquial Breton emblems include the Celtic triskelion, the menhirs and dolmens, local dishes such as the galettes, the Bigouden
Bigouden
headdress and the traditional black round hat, the fisherman and his yellow raincoat, etc. BZH is a common abbreviation for "Breizh" ("Brittany" in Breton) and people often put BZH stickers on their car-plates, although it is forbidden under French laws.[77] .bzh
.bzh
is an approved Internet top level domain for the Breton culture and languages.[78][79] Image gallery[edit]

Merlin's tomb in the Brocéliande
Brocéliande
forest, Paimpont

A dolmen in Plouharnel

The city wall of Guérande

Castle of Saint-Malo, Qui Qu'en Grogne Tower

Château de Suscinio

Île Vierge
Île Vierge
lighthouse

Parlement of Brittany
Brittany
in Rennes

Abbey and lighthouse of Saint-Mathieu

Ar Meilhoù Glaz, a Bagad
Bagad
from Quimper

Festival du chant de marin, sea songs festival in Paimpol

A Breton headdress from Batz-sur-Mer

Modern Brittany
Brittany
- Illustration from Legends & Romances of Brittany by Lewis Spence, illustrated by W. Otway Cannell.

See also[edit]

Breton nationalism Brittany
Brittany
(administrative region) Politics of Brittany Breton language Breton people

Notes[edit]

^ Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus
was a native of Galicia in Spain, being born on the estate of Count Theodosius. ^ Presumably this soldier was in the employ of Gratian. ^ The Visigoths' version of events was that they had saved the Roman empire from a British invasion. ^ Brittany
Brittany
was proverbially wealthy throughout much of its history: it prospered from trade before and during Roman rule, mid-ninth century legal documents reveal peasant landowners suing lords for trespass. The House of Penthièvre was wealthy, Breton dowries raised impoverished nobles such as Jean II de Brosse
Jean II de Brosse
to riches, and Duchess Anne's fortune contributed to the French Renaissance, to palaces such as Fontainebleau and to the Châteaux of the Loire
Loire
Valley

References[edit]

^ a b Henriette Walter (2013). L'aventure des langues en Occident: Leur origine, leur histoire, leur géographie. Robert Laffont. p. 113.  ^ Meisel, Anna (15 September 2013). "Is Great Britain
Great Britain
really a 'small island'?". Retrieved 30 December 2016 – via www.bbc.co.uk.  ^ INSEE (ed.). "Les 60 premières aires urbaines métropolitaines en 2012".  ^ "The Celtic League". The Celtic League. Retrieved 3 May 2011.  ^ "Festival Interceltique de Lorient
Lorient
2010". Festival Interceltique de Lorient. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011.  ^ "Official website of the French Government Tourist Office: Brittany". Us.franceguide.com. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011.  ^ The Celtic connection. Google Books. 30 March 1986. ISBN 9780861402489. Retrieved 3 May 2011.  ^ Sharif Gemie (2007). Brittany
Brittany
1750-1950 - The Invisible Nation. University of Wales
Wales
Press.  ^ Pierre-Yves Lambert (1997). La Langue Gauloise. p. 34.  ^ Léon Fleuriot (1980). Les Origines de la Bretagne. Payot. pp. 53–54.  ^ Léon Fleuriot (1980). Les Origines de la Bretagne. Payot. pp. 52–53.  ^ Fabien Lecuyer (23 April 2013). "Bertaèyn Galeizz change de nom. Un évènement pas si anodin". 7seizh.  ^ Nathalie Molines and Jean-Laurent Monnier (1993). Le " Colombanien ": un faciès régional du Paléolithique inférieur sur le littoral armoricano-atlantique. 90. Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française. p. 284.  ^ Mark Patton, Statements in Stone: Monuments and Society in Neolithic Brittany, Routledge, 1993, p.1 ^ a b Venceslas Kruta (2000). Les Celtes, Histoire et Dictionnaire. Robert Laffont. p. 427. ISBN 2-7028-6261-6.  ^ Giot (P. R), Briard (J.) and Pape (L.) (1995). Protohistoire de la Bretagne. Ouest- France
France
Université. p. 370.  ^ Julius Caesar. Commentarii de Bello Gallico. VII. p. 75.  ^ a b Université de Rennes
Rennes
II (ed.). "Archéologie classique". Archived from the original on 31 May 2004. Retrieved 26 February 2013.  ^ Léon Fleuriot, Les origines de la Bretagne: l’émigration, Paris, Payot, 1980. ^ Smith, Julia M. H. Province and Empire: Brittany
Brittany
and the Carolingians, Cambridge University Press, 1992, pp.80–83. ^ Christian Y. M. Kerboul. Les Royaumes brittoniques au très haut Moyen Âge. Éditions du Pontig/Coop Breizh. pp. 80–143. ISBN 2-9510310-3-3.  ^ Joël Cornette (2005). Histoire de la Bretagne et des Bretons. Seuil. ISBN 2-02-054890-9.  ^ Constance De La Warr, A Twice Crowned Queen: Anne of Brittany, Peter Owen, 2005 ^ Joël Cornette, Le marquis et le Régent. Une conspiration bretonne à l'aube des Lumières, Paris, Tallandier, 2008. ^ "Breton American History". Archived from the original on 26 February 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2015.  ^ "Rennes, guide histoire" (PDF). Retrieved 3 May 2011.  ^ Annales de Bretagne et des pays de l ... – Google Books. Google Books. 19 June 2008. Retrieved 3 May 2011.  ^ J. R. Rotté, Ar Seiz Breur. Recherches et réalisations pour un art Breton moderne, 1923–1947, 1987. ^ Jean Markale and Patrice Pellerin (1994). Une histoire de la Bretagne. Éditions Ouest France. p. 46. ISBN 2-7373-1516-6.  ^ Mikael Bodlore-Penlaez and Divi Kervella (2011). Atlas de Bretagne – Atlas Breizh. Coop Breizh. p. 100. ISBN 978-2-84346-496-6.  ^ Slate.fr, ed. (20 December 2011). "Bretagne, la guerre des frontières".  ^ Rue89, ed. (4 April 2012). "La Bretagne, terre de résistance à l'extrême droite".  ^ Plouméour-Ménez (ed.). "Le Roc'h RUZ , point culminant de la Bretagne".  ^ a b Emmanuèle Savelli. Portail de l'information environnementale en Bretagne, ed. "L'histoire géologique de la Bretagne". Archived from the original on 20 March 2013.  ^ "Normales et records des stations météo de France
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(ed.). "Taux de chômage trimestriel".  ^ Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Bretagne (ed.). "Richesse – PIB Bretagne". Archived from the original on 25 May 2009.  ^ Linternaute villes (ed.). " Loire-Atlantique
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External links[edit]

Brittany
Brittany
portal France
France
portal

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Brittany.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Brittany.

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Brittany.

Brittany : in the West, the end of the world – Official French website (in English) Brittany
Brittany
at Curlie (based on DMOZ) The official site for Brittany
Brittany
Tourism – Brittany
Brittany
Regional Tourist Board The official Région Bretagne website

v t e

Pan-Celticism

Nations

Celtic League
Celtic League
definition

Brittany Cornwall Ireland Isle of Man Scotland Wales

Other claimants

Asturias Auvergne Cantabria Cumbria Galicia Norte Y Wladfa

Nationalisms

Breton nationalism
Breton nationalism
(history) Cornish nationalism Welsh nationalism Scottish nationalism Irish nationalism
Irish nationalism
(incl. Republicanism) Manx nationalism

Pan-Celtic groups

Celtic Congress Celtic League Columba Project

Languages

Brythonic (Breton, Cornish & Welsh) Goidelic (Irish, Manx & Scottish Gaelic) Mixed ( Shelta & Bungee)

Peoples

Britons
Britons
(Bretons, Cornish & Welsh) Gaels
Gaels
(Irish incl. Irish Travellers, Manx & Highland Scots incl. Scottish Travellers)

Culture

Brittany Cornwall Ireland Isle of Man Scotland Wales Celtic art

Music

Brittany Cornwall Ireland Isle of Man Scotland Wales

Festivals

Festival Interceltique de Lorient Pan Celtic Festival Hebridean Celtic Festival Celtic Connections Celtic Media Festival

Sport

Bando Bataireacht Camogie Cammag Cnapan Cornish hurling Cornish wrestling Curling Gaelic football
Gaelic football
(Ladies') Gaelic handball Gouren Rounders Highland games Hurling Road bowls Shinty

Celts
Celts
portal Media Category Templates WikiProject

v t e

Historical provinces of France

Alsace Angoumois Anjou Artois Aunis Auvergne Basse-Navarre Béarn Beaujolais Berry Bourbonnais Brittany Burgundy Champagne Corsica Dauphiné Flanders and Hainaut Foix Forez Franche-Comté Gascony Guyenne Île-de-France Languedoc Limousin Lorraine Lyonnais Maine Marche Montbéliard Mulhouse Nice Nivernais Normandy Orléanais Perche Picardy Poitou Provence Roussillon Saintonge Savoy Touraine Trois-Évêchés Venaissin

v t e

Members of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization

Africa

  Afrikaners   Amazigh (Berberia)   Barotseland   Batwaland  Haratin   Ogaden   Ogoni   Oromia   Rehoboth   Somaliland   Southern Cameroons   Venda   Zanzibar

North America

  District of Columbia

South America

  Mapuche

Asia

  Aceh   Ahwazi (Arabistan)   Assyria   Iranian Azerbaijan   East Balochistan   West Balochistan   Chin   Chittagong Hill Tracts   Degar-Montagnards    Gilgit-Baltistan
Gilgit-Baltistan
(Balawaristan)   Hmong  Igorot (Cordillera)   Inner Mongolia   Khmer Krom   Kurdistan   South Moluccas   Moro   Nagaland   Sindh   Taiwan   Talysh-Mughan   Tibet   Iraqi Turkmens   East Turkestan   West Papua

Europe

  Abkhazia   Brittany   Circassia   Hungarians in Transilvania   Kosovo   Lezgiland   Crimean Tatars   Savoy   Trieste

Coordinates: 48°00′N 3°00′W / 48.000°N 3.000°W / 48.000; -3.000

Authority control

BNF:

.