Eyewitness Travel: Brittany (2013), by DK
Admittedly, I don’t have any plans to visit Brittany any time soon. While some people tend to read a book like this only when they are going to a place and actively planning on it, I tend to think that it is worthwhile to look at a book like this as a way of gaining ideas, perhaps for some time far in the future. I have already been to France, of course, before, but not this particular region. Likewise, the event that tends to lead me to travel tends not to be located in Brittany for whatever reason. In looking at this book I sought to at least figure out why it is so rare for the even to be held here when it is a beautiful area that has a lot of sights to see and quite a few reasonably priced (at least for France) places to stay at or eat. And in looking at this book I can say that the biggest reason why this site would be less than desirable to go to is because of the diet there, with regional food being focused on seafood and pork, two things that are not a part of the menu of either me or the people who I would travel with. That tends to make this place a less than obvious one.
This book is about 300 pages long or so and it is divided into various sections. The first section of the book introduces the reader to Brittany and includes sections on discovering Brittany as well as where it is on the map, a portrait of the region, as well as a look at Brittany through the year and a history of Brittany that focuses on politics and military matters. After that the majority of the book discusses Brittany region by region. After starting with an overall glance the book then turns to a look at the Ille-Et-Vilaine, the Cotes d’Armor, Northern and Southern Finistere (viewed separately), the Morbihan, and then the Loire Atlantique region that is culturally but not politically a part of contemporary Brittany and based around Rennes, one of France’s larger cities. After that there is a discussion of Traveler’s needs, namely where to stay, where to eat and then shops and markets, entertainment, and outdoor activities. The book then ends with a survival guide that includes practical information, traveler’s information, a general index, as well as acknowledgements and a phrase book that includes some French (but not Breton) phrases.
In looking at this book I saw that this would be a place that I would like to visit someday and that it had a lot to offer from a historical perspective. That said, I also found a lot about the book that gave me a bit of pause. Not only was the diet something that I found to be problematic but I also found much to question about the religious focus of a lot of tourism that tends to occur in Brittany. A few of the sites that one would have wanted to visit because of their history apparently have suffered a great deal of destruction, and the book that I read focused a huge amount on Catholic pilgrimages that were of limited interest at best to me. If you are a conservative Catholic who wants to visit a tour of parish closes or if you have an interest in ancient Celtic megaliths, Brittany is definitely a place that would be fun to visit. I imagine few tourists would be familiar with the Breton language, but at this rate few Bretons themselves are, which is something to be regretted.