The lifeblood of Brittany has always been its connection to the sea so come help celebrate the region's maritime heritage and traditions at some of the big nautical festivals happening this summer...
Incredible ships from around the world and across the centuries. Spectacular seafood, fish and regional specialities. Demonstrations, live music, busy stands and much more to see - all in some of Brittany's prettiest seaside towns. With everything from fishing boats, tall ships and even naval vessels in attendance, Brittany is the place to be this summer for those who love all things nautical.
Some of the best maritime festivals in Brittany this summer
Ports d'Escales and Abers 2016
6 to 12 July 2016
Kicking off the season is the Ports d'Escales, where 11 ports in the Brest area from Les Abers to Camaret welcome ships from around the world as they begin to congregate for the Brest festival. Get right into the swing of things with seafood markets, workshops showcasing maritime trades and crafts and introductions to water sports amongst many other activities.
Brest International Maritime Festival
13 to 19 July 2016
This massive festival only happens once every 4 years so, if you don't go now, you'll have to wait until 2020 for the next one! And it really is an unmissable extravanga with 1,500 ships taking part and one million visitors expected. Ships from 30 countries will be making Brest their home for the week and this year's special guests are Russia, the UK, Portugal and the Netherlands.
Don't miss out on seeing the Hermione, a replica of Lafayette's historic frigate that took part in the American Revolutionary War and supported the rebels against the British in 1780. There's also the French naval ship, Monge, a cutting-edge research vehicle making it first public appearance.
There's so much to see and do with live music performers everywhere, stands showcasing everything from traditional skills like creating sailor knots to the latest scientific advancements, ships racing and manouevring and even the opportunity to get on board some of these incredible ships - and maybe even head out to sea. You've no chance of getting bored!
La Grande Parade
19 July 2016
A truly magnificent sight as the ships attending the festival at Brest make their way down to Douarnenez for the beginning of the Temps Fêtes. The best places to see the Grand Parade is from the headlands of the Crozon Peninsula such as Pen-Hir at Camaret. Enjoy the excellent views from some of Brittany's most stunning environs - the headlands of the Crozon Peninsula are beautiful and worth visiting in their own right.
Temps Fêtes at Douarnenez
19 to 24 July 2016
Celebrating its 30th year, Douarnenez's Temps Fêtes is one of the best maritime festivals on the European calendar. This year, the theme is '18th century Enlightenment and Piracy' so expect lots of brilliant tall ships with their masts standing high against the skyline. There is a wealth of live music along the waterfront so join in with the sea shanties and traditional Breton music!
The festival is based around the Port du Rosmeur, where you'll find demonstrations going on as well as stalls selling all kinds of lovely maritime products amongst the hubbub of musicians. Don't miss the exciting naval battle to celebrate this 30th year, or, if you prefer your sailing a bit more sedate, you can jump on board a local boat for a fishing trip.
Les Filets Bleus at Concarneau
12 to 15 August 2016
This festival has been running for over 100 years since its inception in 1905 and gets bigger every year. Named after the blue sardine fishing nets that once littered the harbourside, Les Filets Bleus is one of the most popular festivals of traditional Breton culture with music and dancing in Breton traditional dress, as well as bouts of Gouren, a Breton wrestling sport. Once the fish have been hauled in, the celebrations begin!
Are you visiting any of these festivals or have you been before? Let us know in the comments below.