Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Why Vannes should be on your next French itinerary

The trouble with press media trips is that you get shown what your hosts want you to see. 

That's the way it was with a visit to France last year, where we spent a lot of time being shown desperately boring old churches and tourist traps that clearly belonged to people with important contacts at the local tourist office.

Thus our itinerary took us on quite a long trip to Brittany, but gave us only a few hours in the delightful surroundings of Vannes - a huge pity as this market town of just over 50,000 people looked like the kind of laid-back place you'd be happy to spend a few days.

The pre-Roman town, founded over 2000 years ago, is far enough off the beaten track in Brittany to ensure it has retained all of its charm.

Stroll its shaded laneways with half-timbered houses and shops built in medieval times, or enjoy a coffee overlooking the lively marina quarter with its many waterfront bars and eateries.

Located on the Gulf of Morbihan at the mouth of the rivers Marle and Vincin, Vannes is 100km north-west of bustling Nantes and 450km south-west of Paris. Many of the locals speak a Breton dialect

The Gothic cathedral of St Peter and the old city fortified walls are among the major attractions, while the gardens overlooking the port are a popular place to relax.


Try the local galettes, a style of pancake served both savoury and sweet, and the famous Breton ciders. 


The Gulf of Moribihan is home to several spa hotels but the best in town include the Quality Hotel La Marebaudiere, the Hotel de France and the Villa Keresy Hotel Spa. L’Eden and Roscanvec are considered among the better restaurants in town.

Now I've just got to get back there. 

The Gare de Vannes railway station offers connections to QuimperRennesNantes, Paris and several regional destinations. See www.raileurope.com.au 

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