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Brittany’s Best Christmas Lights

With Christmas fast approaching, towns and villages across Brittany have bedecked themselves with some glorious festive illuminations. Unfortunately, travel restrictions imposed as part of the measures to limit the spread of covid-19 have meant that is has been impossible to see this year’s displays, so, this post must necessarily highlight a few memories of Christmas past.

Most municipal Christmas lights here were lit on the last Friday in November and will run until the third of January. Limits on public gatherings have, this year, seen the cancellation of the Christmas markets, parades, funfairs and outdoor ice rinks that usually form an integral part of the festive experience in many Breton towns. Some of the finest seasonal outings in Brittany were featured in a previous post, so, this one will just focus on a few places that were visited after that post was written.

The medieval hearts of the Breton towns of Dinan and Morlaix wear their Christmas decorations well; the coloured lights and projections create wonderful hues and shadows on the old timber-framed buildings. Situated between these two northern towns, Saint-Brieuc now boasts festive illuminations and decorations that rival its neighbours; with many kilometres of downtown lights.

Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Saint-Brieuc
Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Saint-Brieuc

In the west of Brittany, the town of Landerneau boasts the only bridge in Europe that still has people living on it; a feature that is at the heart of its colourful festive displays.

Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Landerneau
Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Landerneau

Hailed as one of the prettiest villages in France, the picturesque small town of Locronan has established a well-deserved reputation for the magical ambience created by its Christmas lights and festive illuminations. The narrow cobbled streets, courtyards and buildings are adorned with lights and decorations, creating a wonderful atmosphere in which to wander around this little town.

Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Locronan
Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Locronan

Full of character, the southern city of Quimper is another medieval town that makes great use of colour and lights to showcase its half-timbered buildings, old city walls and historic cathedral to best effect.

Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Quimper

If you are partial to Christmas illuminations set against a stunning backdrop then the medieval city of Vannes will not disappoint; from the projections on the medieval ramparts to the curtains of light that overhang the cobbled streets of the old town.

Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Vannes
Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Vannes

Just a little west of Vannes, the coastal town of Auray boasts a wonderful array of lights and Christmas decorations with the town square and its picturesque harbour being particular highlights.

Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Auray
Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Auray

A picture perfect village regularly ranked among the most beautiful villages in France, Rochefort-en-Terre is a town that knows how to display itself to best effect and at Christmastime it does so spectacularly. The cobbled streets and alleys are beautifully illuminated by the sparkling of tens of thousands of pretty lights and festive garlands.

Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Rochefort-en-Terre
Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Rochefort-en-Terre
Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Rochefort-en-Terre

The historic centre of the small town of Josselin is another delightful place in which to wander around at dusk during December.

Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Josselin
Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Josselin
Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Josselin

It is not only towns that put on festive light shows here; several historic monuments also stage Christmas spectacles using coloured lights and projections to wonderful effect. The three best known are perhaps those at the ChΓ’teau de TrΓ©varez, the Abbaye de Beauport at Paimpol and the Abbaye de Bon-Repos at Laniscat.

Christmas lights - Christmas markets - best - Brittany
Bon Repos Abbey

Hopefully, the world will return to something approaching normalcy next year and we can, once again, enjoy the sights of Brittany at Christmas.

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Published by Bon Repos Gites

Enjoying life in Kalon Breizh - the Heart of Brittany.

295 thoughts on “Brittany’s Best Christmas Lights

      1. I love the idea of Santa Clause arriving by boat! In Glasgow the real store Santa, a long defunct department store, used to arrive in a carriage with all his helpers. The shop was so posh that they had Barbiesque dolls with mink coats…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ha, yes, there are a few other towns in Brittany where Santa arrives by boat. I once saw him arrive with two red flares in his outstretched hands!
        Department store Santas I well remember and then getting the little souvenir photo haha πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t celebrate except for what other people do (tho most years I atlas buy presents for the kids). Otherwise, today, the day after Christmas, would be too sad for me.
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      Liked by 1 person

  1. Boy, we are NOT in the X-mas mood this year, but those photos almost made me want to put our fake tree up!
    The shot of Quimper was amazing. And Landerneau’s so starkly simple. I wasn’t sure what you meant it’s the oldest bridge in Europe that still has people living on it until I looked closer and I guess those houses ARE suspended over water. I love it. Would love to see that in person. Great, wonderful shots. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes, it has been a strange year – thank goodness it is nearly over πŸ˜‰
      I am pleased you liked the photos. Yes, that is a view of the river and the rear of the bridge that has the houses all along it.
      I hope that you have a good Christmas and that the new year will be a better one! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Merry Christmas Bon Repos! Brittany looks so beautiful decked in holiday regalia!
    I hope you’ll graciously forgive me for going on a tangent to ask for your expertise on all things Breton. I have a couple essays on Celtic folklore and legends that I’d like to write sometime but they rely heavily on Breton material that I am unfamiliar with. One is about the Breton Saint Malor (sp?) Silverhand, another Saint Tryphine and King Arzul (who is Anglicized to β€˜Arthur’ in English language references) and some folktales about princess Dahut. I only know of these texts from Brittany mostly through Wikipedia, and so if you have greater understanding of them and are willing, I’d be very grateful! We’ve had enthusiastic conversation about the probability that traditional Breton tales reflect pre-Christian beliefs, and I think the case could be argued regarding the ones I’ve mentioned above.

    Whatever you decide, thank you for your great blog, I’m enjoying learning about the wonderful country of Brittany!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! I am glad you liked them! πŸ™‚
      I am no authority on Breton folklore, so, probably have little to offer. You read my post on Triffin and your best source for further info would be Albert le Grand’s massive work on the saints of Brittany. Although he wrote in the early 17thC, he had access to sources that have since been lost to us, so, he’s really the best place to start. There are a few extant hagiographies that predate him but virtually nothing earlier than the Viking raids of the 10thC that destroyed many of the monasteries here. Le Grand will also be a useful source about Saint Melar but his story is so confused with Saint Miliau that we may never know which parts really belong to which saint’s life!
      I suspect that you will face the same challenges with Arthur whose story bounces between Little and Great Britain and has been overlayed with centuries of nation-building on both sides of the channel! Arzur is the modern Breton lang equivalent of Arthur but you’ll find that its the latter name used in the old stories here.
      Dahud will be a little easier to unravel (have a look at my post which tracks her appearance in the legends and her expanded role, over time) but again, we will never be able to identify a historical princess.
      As you know, Wikipedia is a double edged sword and some of the Breton bits are laughable. For instance, it talks of an evil Night Duck that stalks travellers and I’ve seen this developed in some web sites where they talk of evil spirits with webbed feet!! Arghh. 😦 So, do try to get hold of the earliest sources that you can πŸ˜‰ Good Luck! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow these are so beautiful. Just to stand beneath such a canopy of lights in the middle of the night on an otherwise deserted street, must be such an experience! I love narrow cobbled streets. So cute. The clop clop sounds of the boots on them. 🀩😍

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, my imagination’s well and truly firing up right now. I just got back from the Christmas gathering of the neighbours on my block and I can’t even type ‘now’ without typing ‘know’ three times.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I have never seen that. It’s mesmerizing. Here in America we decorate houses, trees, and store fronts and even the Rockefeller Center for Christmas, but not boats. Americans do not believe there’s a such thing as too many Christmas lights. We will blow out fuses for the entire block just to get as many lights as possible on our homes. πŸ˜€ LOL!
        Hope that you, too, have a lovely Christmas

        Liked by 1 person

      2. LOL! That’s about how the meter runs during the holidays. I remember one town in Indiana, USA had a two million dollar light bill. Of course, it was a misread. That scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was based upon some half truth. LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. These photos of holiday lights in Brittany are just stunning. I love them all but am really drawn to the pink illumination of Landerneau. You have put me in the Christmas spirit. Best to you and your family this holiday season.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s great! We could all do with some Christmas cheer this year! The Landerneau bridge and that bit of the river has a phased illumination; going from deep red to purple via pink, yellow, red, orange etc.
      Thank you for your good wishes!! I wish the very best to you and yours also!! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow….looks like paradise….I tried to pick one…as a favourite…..but I just could not….most if them would be my favourite…..such beauty…..enjoy the Christmas season Collin…..cheer from IndiaπŸŽ„β˜ƒοΈπŸŒŸπŸ’πŸŽπŸŽ…πŸ™πŸΌ

    Liked by 3 people

      1. It is, isn’t it!? So beautiful ….this virtual tour was just awesomeeeeeeeeee…..brings in the holiday moodπŸŽ„πŸ˜ŠπŸŽ„πŸŽβ˜ƒοΈπŸŒŸπŸŽ€πŸŽ…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Where is the “love” button? “Like” isn’t good enough! πŸ˜€ So nice to meet you. I will be reading your blog for sure! Merry Christmas to you also! πŸŽ„

        Liked by 1 person

      1. your posts are very well researched , documented and presented , it is a pleasure to go through your posts . you are kind and divine with your season’s greetings . Wish you great Happy New Year of Health and Wealth . Love all , ram

        Liked by 1 person

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