There's a lot of territory to cover, so pick up a hire car from one of Europcar's regional outposts, including airports and ports (www.europcar.com), or roll yours onto a ferry.
Air France (www.airfrance.com) flies from Paris Orly to Nantes, Lorient and Brest. Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) will get you to Brittany (Nantes, Brest and Dinard) from various regional airports in the UK, including Liverpool and Leeds.
Take the Eurostar (www.eurostar.com) to Paris, then connect to Vannes, Lorient, Quimper or Brest; for Rennes, connect at Lille.
France: 33. Brittany: 02.
The Oysters of Locmariaquer by Eleanor Clark; Sex, Death and Oysters: A Half-Shell Lover's World Tour by Robb Walsh.
Do go / Don't Go
Brittany is in full swing between April and October; in winter, many shops, restaurants and cafés will be closed. Give August a miss if you want to skip the hordes - it's prime holidaymaker time.
Brittany is the home of the crêpe, which comes filled with all things sweet and savoury. Galettes, the savoury version, are made with buckwheat flour. But seafood is what really brings gastronomes to Brittany: Cancale for oysters, Erquy for scallops, and everywhere in between for fabulous fruits de mer. The sea here even makes a special kind of salt, fleur de sel de Guérande, harvested by hand. The homely meat-and-veg dumpling dish called kig ha farz, also made with buckwheat flour, may be harder to come by, so be sure to order it if you find it. Cakes include le far Breton, often made with prunes, and sugary, buttery kouign amann. Like neighbouring Normandy, Brittany produces cider, served here in dainty ceramic teacups. Or try lambig, a fire-starting spirit that tastes of apples.
You can't flag down taxis, so make sure to book in advance.
Leave glamorous garments at home. This windy land demands laid-back, lived-in chic. Deck shoes and stripy tops are suitably nautical.
uimper is Brittany's history hub. Head there to admire the architecture of the Gothic cathedral, granite bishop's palace and 16th-century mansions, and the old town's cobbled streets and timbered houses. Seaside Carnac has a prehistoric landscape of huge menhirs and ancient burial places. The mediaeval walled town of Concarneau has been attracting artists since the 19th century; follow La Route des Peintres en Cornouaille, an art trail through the southwest quarter. Nearby, Pont Aven is where Paul Gauguin set up his studio.
Brittany's oysters might be its breadwinners, but that fine rustic cuisine likes a bit of butter, too: doux is sweet, demi-sel is slightly salty; you can even get a green-speckled seaweed variety.
Deck yourself out in Breton sweaters and smocks from Armor Lux, with outposts in Quimper, Rennes, Vannes and Brest (www.armorlux.com). In Quimper, you can buy fine Breton lace, as well as local faience pottery with traditional Breton designs (they like yellow and blue borders).
Head out to the pretty peninsula near the village of Belz and you'll be able to see Saint-Cado, a tiny island scattered with a handful of houses. You can get there via a bridge, but the view is lovelier from the mainland, from which you can see its star turn, a 12th-century chapel.
Take in the swampy landscape of the salt flats at Guérande. The square enclosures of marshland are the workplace of skilled paludiers (salt panners), who reap the premium fleur de sel.
April/May A scallop festival takes place in Saint-Quay-Portrieux on the north coast. Try the Bay of Saint-Brieuc's best while fishing, shopping and listening to Celtic music. May/June Semaine du Golfe Sailing Festival (www.semainedugolfe. asso.fr) on the south coast marks the return of the sailing season, every two years, in the Gulf of Morbihan. July Hennebont in the Morbihan department stages mediaeval-style feasts, tournaments and jousting. In Quimper, Les Fêtes de Cornouaille takes place, a celebration of all things Breton. And there are more Celtic festivities at the end of the month in Lorient (www.festival-interceltique.com). August The Sea Shanty Festival comes round every two years in Paimpol, celebrating maritime music, with the best seafaring songs from Brittany and the rest of the world.