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Exploring the Connections Between Brittany and Cornwall

Specialist Group Tour Operator & DMC for Cornwall & Isles of Scilly

In the north-western corners of France and the United Kingdom, two picturesque regions, Brittany and Cornwall, share a unique and entwined history, geography, and culture. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the fascinating connections that have existed between these neighboring lands for centuries.

Based in Cornwall we’re the only full service destination management company for our region. Recommended partner of Visit Cornwall, the official tourism board, we work with tour operators, agents and individual group leaders offering it as part of complete packages that can include London, Southern England and the rest of the UK & Ireland.

Geographic Proximity

The most obvious connection between Brittany and Cornwall is their geographic proximity. Separated by just the English Channel, the two regions are a mere 100 miles apart at their closest point. This proximity has played a pivotal role in shaping their intertwined destinies, making it easy for people, ideas, and trade to flow between them.

Historical Ties

1. Ancient Celts: Both Brittany and Cornwall have strong Celtic roots. In ancient times, the Celts inhabited these lands, and their influence is still felt today in the languages, traditions, and legends of both regions. Breton and Cornish are Celtic languages that have survived over the centuries and are still spoken by some communities.

2. Medieval Connection: During the Middle Ages, Brittany and Cornwall maintained close ties, with traders, scholars, and artisans frequently crossing the channel. The towns of Saint-Malo in Brittany and Falmouth in Cornwall were bustling trading ports, facilitating cultural exchanges and economic cooperation.

3. Arthurian Legends: The legendary tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table have deep connections to both regions. Tintagel Castle in Cornwall is said to be the birthplace of King Arthur, while many Arthurian legends have their roots in Breton folklore.

Cultural Similarities

1. Folklore and Traditions: Brittany and Cornwall share a rich tapestry of folklore and traditions. Both regions have their own versions of the “Puck” or “Pooka,” mischievous supernatural creatures that inhabit the landscape. Additionally, traditional music, dance, and festivals are celebrated with fervor in both places.

2. Seafaring Heritage: With their rugged coastlines and strong maritime traditions, it’s no surprise that both Brittany and Cornwall have strong seafaring histories. Fishing, boat-building, and smuggling were common activities in these regions, creating a shared cultural affinity for the sea.

3. Culinary Delights: The culinary similarities between Brittany and Cornwall are striking. Seafood takes center stage in both cuisines, with dishes like Cornish pasties and Breton crepes (galettes) being popular staples. The use of local produce and an emphasis on hearty, comforting meals are common culinary threads.

Modern Connections

In contemporary times, the bonds between Brittany and Cornwall continue to thrive. Local governments, tourism organizations, and cultural groups actively promote exchanges between the regions, fostering a sense of shared heritage and friendship.

1. Twinning and Partnerships: Many towns in Brittany and Cornwall have established twinning relationships, promoting cultural exchange, student visits, and economic cooperation. These partnerships serve as a testament to the enduring connections between the two regions.

2. Breton and Cornish Revivals: There is a renewed interest in preserving and promoting the Breton and Cornish languages, with language schools and cultural initiatives working tirelessly to ensure their survival.

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