The «cliché» of Brittany
A Winter road trip in Brittany… I imagine that sentence shouldn’t be a dream for many people. The grey sky, the wind, the rain, the cold, the fog.
This region of northwestern France has always had a terrible reputation for its weather. Me being the first, when I think about a road trip in this region, I don’t imagine a beautiful blue sky and heat. And even less in winter.
I can easily understand that people don’t particularly look for that kind of atmosphere when they can go on vacation.
This «cliché» that characterizes this part of France located on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean is not entirely valid. It is true that it rains a lot in the far northwest of Brittany. Not much in quantity but often. But it’s actually no worse than elsewhere in the rest of the region. And I hadn’t planned to visit the far northwest this time. Not enough time.
When most people imagine the weather to be very unwelcoming, photographers see something else:
Beautiful light and rapidly changing colors, beautifully charged skies and a raging ocean. Sun rays piercing the clouds from time to time… We hope to find that light we are chasing after.
This road trip of a few days came at the right time. A need for escape, to forget about this “virus” for a few days. A desire to go far, to clear my head and think only of photography. Even though it was a period when a lot of tourist spots were closed due to COVID.
It’s the second time I’ve been here. The first time was in 2015, in the middle of summer. For two weeks during my main holidays. At that time, I only had my smartphone to freeze some family memories.
This time, I was leaving home a little more equipped and with the intention of bringing back more images than the first time.
For this little winter road trip, I left knowing more or less what I wanted to visit but allowing myself, as always, that part of improvisation I like. I like when everything is not 100% planned. When plans can be changed.
There were two main things that I still had planned for this short trip. Go to the north of the Breton coast to see Cap Frehel and its large cliffs that I had not been able to see on my first trip there. And spend a day or two in Rennes. So I could mix landscape and street photography.
Cap Frehel is one of the most impressive sites in the region. This “point” surrounded by moors is very exposed to the winds. It has an imposing lighthouse, and its cliffs of over 70m offer one of the most beautiful views in Brittany.
I was not spared that day regarding the weather, and my equipment was severely strained. Even though my camera is weather-sealed, I regretted that my wide-angle lens was not.
Rennes is one of the largest cities in France. It is an attractive and very dynamic student city in normal times. But the two days spent there were unfortunately not very productive in terms of photography.
It is true that the period chosen to explore Rennes was not the best. The atmosphere of a city is difficult to feel when most of its tourist spots are inaccessible. When the main places of life, bars and restaurants, are closed.
I really liked this region on my first visit. And I love it even more after the second time. If I ever leave the south of France to live elsewhere, the northwest might be a possible direction.
But during this short trip, the bad reputation concerning this region didn’t spare us. And the Brittany «cliché» is not going to change.
“I live in a small town in the South of France. I am the father of two girls. I constantly try to juggle between my work, my passion for photography, and my family life. I tell a lot of stories on my blog.”