Brittany (administrative region)

Brittany (Breton: Breizh, French: Bretagne, IPA: [bʁətaɲ] (listen)) is one of the 18 regions of France. It is named after the historic and geographic region of Brittany, of which it constitutes 80%. The capital is Rennes. Bathed by the English Channel to the north and the Bay of Biscay to the south, it is located in the West of France, bordering the Normandy and Pays de la Loire regions. Bro Gozh ma Zadoù is the anthem of Brittany. It is sung to the same tune as that of the national anthem of Wales, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, and has similar words. As a region of France, Brittany has a Regional Council, which was most recently elected in 2015.

Region of Brittany

Région Bretagne / Rannvro Breizh
Flag of Region of Brittany
Official logo of Region of Brittany
Brittany in France 2016
Country France
 • PresidentLoïg Chesnais-Girard
 • Total27,208 km2 (10,505 sq mi)
 • Total3,237,097
 • Density120/km2 (310/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
GDP (2012)[1]Ranked 7th
Total€83.4 billion (US$107.3 bn)
Per capita€25,666 (US$33,012)
NUTS RegionFR5


LeDiben Harbor
Le Diben harbour – Plougasnou (Brittany)

The region of Brittany was created in 1941 on 80% of the territory of traditional Brittany. The remaining 20% is now called the department of Loire-Atlantique, which is included in the region of Pays de la Loire, whose capital, Nantes, was the historical capital of the Duchy of Brittany.

Part of the reason Brittany was split between two present-day regions was to avoid the rivalry between Rennes and Nantes. Although Nantes was the principal capital of the Duchy of Brittany until the sixteenth century, Rennes had been the seat of the Duchy's supreme court of justice between 1560 and 1789. Rennes had also been the administrative capital of the Intendant of Brittany between 1689 and 1789, and Intendances were the most important administrative units of the kingdom of France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As for the provincial States of Brittany, a legislative body which had originally met every two years in a different city of Brittany, that had met in Rennes only between 1728 and 1789, although not in the years 1730, 1758, and 1760. Despite that, the Chambre des comptes had remained in Nantes until 1789. However, from 1381 until the end of the fifteenth century Vannes (Gwened in Breton) had served as the administrative capital of the Duchy, remaining the seat of its Chambre des comptes until the 1490s, and also the seat of the its Parlement until 1553 and then again between 1675 and 1689.

Although there were previous plans to create regions out of the departments, like the Clémentel plan (1919) or the Vichy regionalisation programme (1941), these plans had no effect or else were abolished in 1945. The current French regions date from 1956 and were created by gathering departments together.[2] In Brittany, this led to the creation of the new region of Brittany, which included only four out of the five historical Breton departments. The term région was officially created by the Law of Decentralisation (2 March 1982), which also gave regions their legal status. The first direct elections for regional representatives took place on 16 March 1986.[3]

A majority of the population in administrative Brittany and in Nantes continue to protest against the division of the traditional territory of Brittany, hoping to see the department of Loire-Atlantique reunited with the administrative region of Brittany. However, such a reunification raises other questions: first, what to do with the remainder of the present region of Pays de la Loire, and second, which city should be chosen as the capital of such a reunified Brittany.


Brittany, lying in the northwest corner of France, is one of the great historic provinces of France. The most Atlantic of France's regions, Brittany is proud of its Celtic heritage, that sets it apart from the rest of France. It enjoys a mild climate somewhat warmer though not necessarily drier than the climate of the southwest of England. The name "Brittany" derives from the Britons who, back in the Dark Ages, came south across the English Channel to seek refuge from the Anglo Saxon invaders who were pushing them out of a large part of the island of Great Britain.

In this historic past, other Britons fled to the west and south west of their own island, to Wales and Cornwall; and so it is that today, Brittany shares a historic culture with the other Celtic regions of northwest Europe. Today, the French administrative region of Brittany covers four "departments", the Côtes d'Armor (22) in the north, Finistère (29) in the far west, Morbihan (56) in the south, and Ille et Vilaine (35) in the east, bordering on Normandy and the Loire valley area. Another department used to belong to the historic province of Brittany, and this was the Loire Atlantique (44), the area round the city of Nantes which used once to be the Breton capital, but is today no longer in the region. The capital city of the modern Brittany region is Rennes, located in the central eastern part of the region; most of the major lines of communication between Brittany and Paris pass through Rennes, which is a large industrial and university city. Other important cities in the region are Brest, one of the two most important French naval ports, St Malo, an imposing walled city on the north coast, and Vannes, the capital of the Morbihan, with an attractive old town centre. Quimper, the capital of the Finistère, and St. Brieuc, the capital of the Côtes d'Armor, are less important. Lorient, in the Morbihan, was once a major shipping port trading with – as its name suggests – the Orient; but its shipping and shipbuilding industries have largely declined, and like other ports on the south coast of Brittany, is better known today for its yachting and yacht-building industry. It is also the venue for Brittany's annual Interceltiques music and culture festival.

Despite its limited size, Brittany is quite a diverse region; the north and west coasts, open to the force of the North Atlantic, are rugged and rocky, with beautiful sandy coves and beaches. The south coast, facing onto the Bay of Biscay, is flatter, much milder, and graced by a number of large sandy beaches. There are also a lot of inlets on the south coast, such as La Trinité sur Mer, which in the past have been ports and commercial harbours, but today are more popular with yachtsmen and a dwindling fishing industry. The sea here is warmer in summer. The backbone of Brittany is a granite ridge stretching from east to west, peaking in the Monts d'Arrée. But most of inland Brittany is gentle farming country, a region famous for its milk and butter and its early crops. As a holiday region, it is of course Brittany's coasts that attract the greatest number of visitors; the inland regions are on the whole quite tranquil and for this reason have attracted a lot of second-home owners from other parts of France, and from Britain. In cultural terms, Brittany is very distinctive, with its own language and Celtic cultural tradition that set it apart from the rest of France. The Breton language, though not much used in everyday life, and not understood by most of the modern population, has made a comeback in recent years, and is taught in a lot of schools. Celtic traditions are alive or recalled today in Breton folk music, its Celtic festivals, and its many prehistoric monuments.

Language and culture

Road signs bilingual Breton in Quimper
Bilingual road signs in Quimper (French on top)

The name of Brittany derives from settlers from Great Britain, who fled that island in the wake of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of England between the fifth and seventh centuries. Unlike the rest of France and Brittany, Lower Brittany (roughly, west of a boundary from Saint Brieuc to Vannes) has maintained a distinctly Celtic language, Breton, which is related to Cornish and Welsh. It was the dominant language in Lower, or western, Brittany until the mid-20th century. It has been granted regional language status and revival efforts are underway. In Upper, or eastern, Brittany, the traditional language is Gallo, an Oïl language, which has also received regional recognition and is in the process of being revived.

Logo in breton language used by Regional Council of Brittany and its administrative territory
Breton is used on Regional Council of Brittany logo

The French administration now allows for some Breton or Gallo to be used by the region and its communes, in road signs and names of towns and cities, alongside the official French version. The two regional languages are also taught in some schools, and many folklore associations and clubs are trying to revive them.

Brittany has historically been a stronghold of the Roman Catholic Church, and its rates of church attendance have tended to be considerably higher than the national average. However, in recent years the influence of the church has declined.


Presidential runoff elections results
Year National winner Runner-up
2017 75.36% 1,301,226 24.64% 425,462
2012 56.35% 1,075,919 43.65% 833,346
2007 47.38% 921,256 52.62% 1,023,056
2002 88.56% 1,523,388 11.44% 196,712
1995 50.44% 858,100 49.56% 843,169
1988 55.10% 929,363 44.90% 757,417
1981 48.95% 796,769 51.05% 831,034
1974 56.54% 781,563 43.46% 600,678
1969 63.95% 692,280 36.05% 390,240
1965 63.15% 806,958 36.85% 470,839

The Region of Brittany is administered by the Regional Council of Brittany.

The region was a traditionally conservative and Christian democratic region, with the notable exception of the department of Côtes-d'Armor, a longtime stronghold of the political left. However, the whole of Brittany has recently been moving towards the left, in 2004 electing Jean-Yves Le Drian as its first Socialist regional president, and in the 2007 presidential election voting for Socialist Ségolène Royal. The centrist candidate François Bayrou also polled relatively highly in the region and Fougères elected a MoDem deputy to the National Assembly (he has since joined the pro-UMP New Centre). The French Communist Party's support is largely concentrated in the south-west of the Côtes-d'Armor and north-west of Morbihan. The Greens and other environmentalist parties have traditionally been strong in the region, especially in urban areas such as Rennes or Quimper. The region was one of the few which voted "Yes" to the European constitution in the 2005 referendum, and Brittany continues, along with Alsace, to be a strongly pro-European region.

The Socialist Party controls three general councils (Ille-et-Vilaine, Côtes-d'Armor, and Finistère), while the centrist MoDem controls that of Morbihan, in a coalition with the right.


Marche des Lices mise en place 03
Brest - Le Château - PA00089847 - 011
Bretagne Finistere Quimper 20055

There are several airports in Brittany (Rennes, Brest, Lorient...) serving destinations in Europe. TGV train services link the region with cities such as Paris in 1h27 thanks the LGV Bretagne-Pays de la Loire, Lyon, Lille and the largest French cities. TER Bretagne is the regional rail network serving Brittany in order to link the cities of Brittany to each other. OUIBUS coach services link the region with the largest cities in France at low cost. In addition there is Brittany Ferries that take passengers, vehicles and freight to the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Spain and Condor Ferries to the Channel Islands.



Brittany comprises four departments : Morbihan, Finistère, Côtes-d'Armor, Ille-et-Vilaine

Major communities

The following table is the list of towns in Brittany with a population over 15,000 inhabitants. Rennes is situated in the east of Brittany, being the capital of the region, the capital of the Ille-et-Vilaine department, as well as the most populous metropolitan area in Brittany with 700,000 inhabitants (2013).

Town Breton name Population
Rennes Roazhon 211,373 Ille-et-Vilaine
Brest Brest 142,722 Finistère
Quimper Kemper 63,961 Finistère
Lorient An Oriant 58,135 Morbihan
Vannes Gwened 52,984 Morbihan
Saint-Malo Sant-Maloù 48,563 Ille-et-Vilaine
Saint-Brieuc Sant-Brieg 46,178 Côtes-d'Armor
Lanester Lannarstêr 22,598 Morbihan
Fougères Felger 20,678 Ille-et-Vilaine
Concarneau Konk Kerne 20,280 Finistère
Lannion Lannuon 19,773 Côtes-d'Armor
Plœmeur Plañvour 18,509 Morbihan
Vitré Gwitreg 16,691 Ille-et-Vilaine
Morlaix Montroulez 15,605 Finistère
Douarnenez Douarnenez 15,436 Finistère
Cesson-Sévigné Saozon-Sevigneg 15,261 Ille-et-Vilaine
Bruz Bruz 15,031 Ille-et-Vilaine


The Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel provide Brittany with an oceanic climate. Prevailing northwest winds reduce variations of temperature in the region. The climate is drier in southern sections.[5] The extreme northwest has up to 10 days with temperatures above 25 °C, while southeastern Brittany can have up to 50.[6]


Three Breton clubs play in Ligue 1, the top flight of French football: En Avant Guingamp, Stade Rennais and FC Lorient. Another historical club, Stade Brestois, plays in Ligue 2, and Vannes OC plays in the third tier Championnat National. In rugby union, RC Vannes currently plays in the second level, Pro D2.

The Brest Albatros Hockey is a Brest ice hockey club that play in FFHG Division 1. The Cesson Rennes Métropole Handball plays in LNH Division 1. The Brest Bretagne Handball plays in French Women's Handball Championship. The Rennes Volley 35 plays in Ligue B. The Fortuneo–Vital Concept cycling pro team participate every year at the Tour de France, the Bretagne Classic, and the Route Adélie de Vitré.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ INSEE. "Produits intérieurs bruts régionaux et valeurs ajoutées régionales de 1990 à 2012". Retrieved 2014-03-04.
  2. ^ Michèle Cointet, op. cit., pp. 183-216 (p. 216 pour la citation)
  3. ^ Jean-Marie Miossec (2009), Géohistoire de la régionalisation en France, Paris: Presses universitaires de France ISBN 978-2-13-056665-6.
  4. ^ (in French) INSEE: 2007 Legal population
  5. ^ "Le climat en Bretagne | Régions". (in French). Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  6. ^ Environnement, GIP Bretagne. "Le climat en Bretagne. Une douceur océanique tout en nuance - Bibliographies - Documentation - Eau Bretagne - l'observatoire de l'eau en Bretagne". (in French). Retrieved 2018-11-07.

External links

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

Breton language

Breton (; brezhoneg [bʁeˈzõːnɛk] (listen) or [brəhõˈnek] in Morbihan) is a Southwestern Brittonic Celtic language spoken in Brittany.

Breton was brought from Great Britain to Armorica by migrating Britons during the Early Middle Ages; it is thus an Insular Celtic language, though closely related to the Continental Celtic Gaulish language which had been spoken in pre-Roman Gaul. Breton is most closely related to Cornish, both being Southwestern Brittonic languages. Welsh and the extinct Cumbric are the more distantly related Western Brittonic languages.

The other regional language of Brittany, Gallo, is a langue d'oïl. Gallo is a Romance language descended from Latin (unlike the similarly named ancient Celtic language Gaulish), and a close relative of French.

Having declined from more than 1,000,000 speakers around 1950 to about 200,000 in the first decade of the 21st century, 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.


Brittany (; French: Bretagne [bʁətaɲ] (listen); Breton: Breizh, pronounced [bʁɛjs] or [bʁɛχ]; Gallo: Bertaèyn, pronounced [bəʁtaɛɲ]) is a cultural region in the northwest of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an independent kingdom and then a duchy before being united with the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province governed as if it were a separate nation under the crown.

Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain (as opposed to Great Britain, with which it shares an etymology). It is bordered by the English Channel to the north, the Celtic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Bay of Biscay to the south. Its land area is 34,023 km² (13,136 sq mi).

Brittany is the site of some of the world's oldest standing architecture, home to the Barnenez, the Tumulus Saint-Michel and others, which date to the early 5th millennium BC. Today, the historical province of Brittany is split among five French departments: Finistère in the west, Côtes-d'Armor in the north, Ille-et-Vilaine in the north east, Loire-Atlantique in the south east and Morbihan in the south on the Bay of Biscay. Since reorganisation in 1956, the modern administrative region of Brittany comprises only four of the five Breton departments, or 80% of historical Brittany. The remaining area of old Brittany, the Loire-Atlantique department around Nantes, now forms part of the Pays de la Loire region.

At the 2010 census, the population of historic Brittany was estimated to be 4,475,295. Of these, 71% lived in the region of Brittany, while 29% lived in the Loire-Atlantique department. In 2012, the largest metropolitan areas were Nantes (897,713 inhabitants), Rennes (690,467 inhabitants), and Brest (314,844 inhabitants). Brittany is the traditional homeland of the Breton people and is recognised by the Celtic League as one of the six Celtic nations, retaining a distinct cultural identity that reflects its history. A nationalist movement seeks greater autonomy within the French Republic.

Brittany (disambiguation)

Brittany is a historical province of France. It may also refer to the following affiliation:

Duchy of Brittany, an historical administrative unit

Brittany (administrative region), the present-day administrative region of Brittany, in France, which is smaller than the historical province of BrittanyBrittany may also refer to:

Brittany (dog), a breed of dog

Brittany, Louisiana, a community in the United States

French Brittany (dog), a breed of dog

Brittany (name), a feminine name (variants include Britnee, Britney, Brittney)

SS Brittany, one of a number of ships

Brittany Apartment Building, Cincinnati, Ohio

"Britney/Brittany", an episode of Glee

Flag of Brittany

The unoffical flag of Brittany, a region in the northwest of France. The flag of Brittany is called the Gwenn-ha-du, pronounced [ɡwɛnaˈdyː], which means white and black in Breton. It is also unofficially used in the département of Loire-Atlantique although this now belongs to the Pays de la Loire and not to the région of Brittany, as the territory of Loire-Atlantique is historically part of the province of Brittany. Nantes (Naoned), its préfecture, was once one of the two capital cities of Brittany.

It was created in 1253

List of active separatist movements in Europe

This is a list of currently active separatist movements in Europe. Separatism often refers to full political secession, though separatist movements may seek nothing more than greater autonomy or to be recognised as a national minority.What is and is not considered an autonomist or secessionist movement is sometimes contentious. Entries on this list must meet three criteria:

They are active movements with active members;

They are seeking greater autonomy or self-determination for a geographic region (as opposed to personal autonomy);

They are citizens/peoples of the conflict area and do not come from another country.Under each region listed is one or more of the following:

De facto state (de facto entity): for unrecognized regions with de facto autonomy;

Proposed state: proposed name for a seceding sovereign state;

Proposed autonomous area: for movements towards greater autonomy for an area but not outright secession;

De facto autonomous government: for governments with de facto autonomous control over a region;

Government-in-exile: for a government based outside of the region in question, with or without control;

Political party (or parties): for political parties involved in a political system to push for autonomy or secession;

Militant organisation(s): for armed organisations;

Advocacy group(s): for non-belligerent, non-politically participatory entities;

Ethnic/ethno-religious/racial/regional/religious group(s).Various ethnic groups in Europe are seeking greater autonomy or independence. In the European Union (EU), several of these groups are members of the European Free Alliance (EFA). In some cases, the group seeks to unify into a different state – in cases where this does not involve the creation of a new state entity, this is considered to be irredentism. Analogous irredentist movements are included in the list of active irredentist movements.


Plusquellec (Breton: Pluskelleg) is a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department of Brittany, in northwestern France.

RCP Design Global

RCP Design Global or RCP is an independent design agency based in Tours and Paris (France) founded by Régine Charvet-Pello in 1986. RCP is predominantly based in the transport and mobility design, and specialises in urban transport, High-speed rail, interiors, public spaces and street furniture. RCP is the French leader on sensory design.

Terminology of the British Isles

The terminology of the British Isles refers to the various words and phrases that are used to describe the different (and sometimes overlapping) geographical and political areas of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, and the smaller islands which surround them. The terminology is often a source of confusion, partly owing to the similarity between some of the actual words used, but also because they are often used loosely. In addition, many of the words carry both geographical and political connotations which are affected by the history of the islands.

The purpose of this article is to explain the meanings of and relationships among the terms in use; however many of these classifications are contentious and are the subject of disagreement (See the British Isles naming dispute).

Timeline of Brest, France

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Brest, France.

Timeline of Rennes

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Rennes, France.

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