Brittany's Regional Parks and Forests

Brittany boasts two of France's 45 nature regional parks and one ancient forest.

The Nature Regional Armorique Park, in Central Finistère (Western Central Brittany), covers 172 thousand hectares from inland forest in Monts d'Arrée right to the Crozon peninsula into the Altantic ocean including the Ouessant and Sein islands. It is hard to imagine that at one time, these Monts d'Arrée were actually mountains of over 4,000m heigh reduced by erosion to just under 400m today. Partly wooded in the eastern part, the rest can be bare of heath quartz rocks but offers some fantastic hiking excursions. To enjoy a remarkable panoramic view of these ancient mountains, go to Roc Trévezel.
Nature Regional Park of Briere in Brittany France
Brière Park © Groume
The Nature Regional Park of Brière, created in 1970, is a land of marshes found very south of Brittany in Loire-Atlantique and covers about 40,000 hectares. This once wooded area was regained by the sea which then retracted, leaving a land of marshes, canals and peat. This is a place of reed thatched cottages, flat-bottom barges navigating their way through waterlogged land, and horse and carriages for tourist rides. For centuries, this park, given to its 21 villages in 15C, provided income for its inhabitants from fishing, breeding, reed usage and peat. Today, these traditional activities are in decline as the workforce became attracted by industries based around the Loire estuary. Tourism is bringing a new wave of life to the Brière communities with growing numbers of hotels, campsites and gites opening up and more leisure activities on offer like riding, fishing, boat trips and guided walking tours. Recommended places to visit include Île de Fédrun, La Chapelle-des-Marais and Réserve Ornithologique Pierre-Constant for birdwatchers enthusiats.

The famous ancient Brocéliande forest of all medieval Breton legends is found in the forest of Paimpont, in Île et Vilaine, west of Rennes. This once very vast forest, now reduced to a mere 7000 hectares due to centuries of deforestation is going through an on-going tree replantation process intensified by a terrible fire in 1990. Whether you are here for hiking or an Arthurian trail, make sure you first go to the tourism office of the main town of Paimpont to get all the required maps of pathways to the hidden legendary sites including:
Broceliande Forest in Brittany France
The Golden Tree
  • Merlin's Tomb
  • Fontaine de Jouvence, the eternal youth fontain
  • Val sans retour, the "Valley of No Return" where the legend tells that only Lancelot managed to break the spell cast from Morgana the witch to prevent anyone to leave the place. The area is also symbolised by a Golden Tree, as landmark of the 1990 fire ouskirt.
  • The Fontain of Barenton which can engage a storm when its water fall on a nearby slab. It is also the place where Merlin fell under the spell of the beautiful fairy Vivianne and remained caged in a circle of air.
  • The Château de Comper, the supposed birthplace of Viviane turned today into an Arthurien centre with annual events.

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