Formerly known as Cotes-du-Nord, the Département of Cotes-d’Armor was created in 1790. This is the northern most département of the Region. It is bounded by the English Channel to its north, and the dépeartments of Îlle -et-Villane to the east , Morbhan to the south and Finistére to the west. The départment has four arrondissements: Dinan, Guingamp, Lannion and Saint-Brieuc. Saint-Brieuc is the département’s prefecture.
The picturesque Émeraude Coast, that looks north to the Channel, is a heavily indented barrier against the sea that is dotted by charming seaside resorts and old fishing villages. Most of the towns of the interior were founded in the Middle Ages. The département’s southern half is crossed by the Black Mountains that run west to east and constitute the watershed divide between northward flowing rivers, that empty into the Channel, and the rivers emptying to the south into the Bay of Biscay.
On the high interior plateaux that is swept by the strong west to east winds that drive the heavy Atlantic rain bearing winds you will find large pastures for horses and cattle. Along the coast, where fishing was once the main industry you will now find that the cultivation of fruit, oats, potatoes and wheat are more important, as well as the production of beef and pork. Quarrying is still quite a considerable industry (slate & stone), and there is some boating building and tanning.
This is our home, where you will find true Bretons for this is Lower Brittany, carved out of the far western part of the historical province of Bretagne, and as such is the most westerly of all French départements. The name Finistére comes from the Latin phrase ‘finis terrae’, meaning ‘land’s end’. It is bounded by the English Channel to the north, by the Départements of Côtes-d’Armor and Morbihan to the east, by the Bay of Biscay to the south and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
The east west oriented Black Mountains,that continue into the départment of Côtes-d'Armor, rise to the height of 1001 feet in the region’s north, and are separated from the parallel oriented, 1260-foot high Montagnes d’Arrée, in the south, by the Aulne Basin. Both ranges are composed principally of granite.
Some breathtaking seascapes are to be found at the western tip of this departément. Sombre cliffs, rugged capes 50-70 metres high, rocks and reefs give the coastline a grimness that is reflected in sinister local names: Fromveur (Channel of Fear), Baie De Tréspassés (Bay of the Dead), Enfer de Plogoff (Hell of Plogoff).
Quimper (pronounced Kemper) is the départemental prefecture and is located to the south. It has a distinctive Breton character and is a tourism centre. Again there are four arrondissements: Brest, Châteaulin, Morlaix and Quimper.Agricultural production is particularly favoured in the département’s north-east, with cattle, cereals, fruits and vegetables being produced. Over a third of the département is covered with forests, moors and wasteland. Along the coast, farmers divide their time between commercial fishing and working their small farms. France’s second-leading fishing port is Douarnenez. Brest, on the western coast, is a leading naval port. The region has limited industrial production which includes agricultural machinery, foundries, engineering works and naval and riverboat shipbuilding.
This was created from the north-eastern part of the old province of Bretagne. This area is generally flat, but there are forests, dunes and marshes in the north. It is bounded by the English Channel and the Region of Basse-Normandie [Lower Normandy] to the north, the Region of Pays de la Loire [Western Loire] to the east and south and the Départements of Morbihan and Côtes-d'Armor [Côtes-du-Nord] to the west. The coastline stretches westward from 3 miles west of Mont-Saint-Michel to an estuary 5 miles west of Dinard. Part of the coastline includes part of the rocky Côte d’Émeraude and the Rance River estuary where the towns of Saint-Malo and Dinard are located.
Rennes, the départmental prefecture is situated in the centre of the départment, on the Îlle and Rance canal which connects the north flowing Rance river with the Vilaine river that flows south-westerly into the Atlantic. The University of Rennes was founded in 1735 and is renowned for its Department of Breton Culture and Celtic Languages. Again four arrondissements: Fougêres, Redon, Rennes and Saint-Malo.
Because of the tidal differential (25 foot) between high and low tides in the River Rance estuary, it is the prefect place to generate tidal electricity. To the east, the coastal strip of the bay of Mont-Saint-Michel is used for market gardening and sheep raising. Oysters are cultivated along the coast near Cancale. With the decline of thee fishing industry, coastal resorts have turned to tourism as a source of income. Wheat, fodder crops and vegetables are raised in the fertile Rennes basin and the département engages in apple growing for cider making, Breton Cider & Pommade are something to behold!
Mor-Bihan - Morbihan (56)
Again created from what was part of the historic province of Bretagne, this time the southeastern corner. The name is taken from the virtually landlocked Morbihan Gulf, on the south coast, where the ancient town of Vannes is located on estuaries opening onto the gulf. Morbihan is bordered by the Département of Côtes-d'Armor [Côtes-du-Nord] to the north, Îlle-et-Villane to the east, the Region of Pays de la Loire [Western Loire] to the southeast, and the Bay of Biscay to the south and the Département of Finistére to the west.
Morbihan’s principal economic activities are
agriculture, fishing and tourism. Oysters are cultivated in the Gulf of Morbihan. Lorient, home of the Interceltic festival and naval port on the estuary of the Leita River, is a centre for building
submarines. Tourism is the main source of income along the entire Morbihan coast and among the medieval towns and villages. The département is profligate in Menhirs and Megaliths, especially in the
Carnac-Locmariaquer area, west of the Morbihan Gulf. Vannes, the prefecture of the départment is a centre for light industry and the harbour towns of Étel, Port-Louis, Groix and Quiberon have small
This départment has only three arrondissements of Lorient, Pontivy and Vannes.