Like Wales, Cornwall and Ireland, Brittany is still predominantly Celtic and a substantial proportion of it is Celtic speaking. There are plenty of fascinating arcaheological sites in Brittany, including numerous prehistoric standing stones,
Menhir, one of a group at... actually I'm not sure, I think we'd stopped for a comfort break!
Many, many stones at Carnac
the Cairn of Barnanez, a dry stone tomb in the shape of a stepped pyramid, with two distinct phases of construction that was in use through to medieval times,
and loads of medieval buildings, calverts and so on, including the amazing Dance of Death fresco, preserved in a medieval church
and some churches that are just really pretty.
The gorgeous and famous medieval town of Mont-St-Michel is just outside Brittany - but more to the point, I don't seem to have any digital photos of it. It is, however, an amazing place to visit.
The Romans conquered Brittany along with the rest of Gaul, but there isn't as much in the way of Roman remains... possibly because Brittany is the home of Asterix the Gaul!
It took me ages to work out that this is, indeed, supposed to represent Brittany, not Normandy...
It seems only right and proper that Asterix should come from a place still so strongly Celtic, and of course, Brittany's position, sticking out from the rest of France, makes it the perfect location for a lone holdout against invasion. This location is also, presumably, the inspiration for Obelix's job as a menhir delivery man.
Aside from Asterix, Brittany does not come up overly often in Classical pop culture, presumably because it isn't really on the way to anywhere. To be in Roman Brittany, you have to have aimed to go to Roman Brittany, and since it lacked major cities etc, fictional characters don't tend to do so. Dramas set in other periods do occasionally visit the region, my favourite of which is First World War story A Very Long Engagement (Une Long Dimanche de Fiancailles), which comes complete with sea, lighthouse and crepes, all familiar images to anyone who's shopped in Brittany's many cute tourist traps.
The lighthouse in the film - our family own a number of lighthouse themed placemats, purchased in the cutesy tourist shops of Brittany
However, there is at least one notable instance of Brittany's Classical past and its strong links with Arthurian legend being brought together, in Mary Stewart's The Crystal Cave, adapted for television by the BBC back in the early '90s.
I absolutely adored this series when I was little, but unfortunately it isn't currently available on DVD and I haven't seen it since. I was pleased to discover that I wasn't hallucinating - it really did star Robert Powell, otherwise known as Jesus, or that dude that wasn't Jasper Carrot on that old sitcom about detectives. I think it had Mr Weasley in it as well. In the series, Merlin goes to Brittany, where he discovers that his father is a Roman soldier called Ambrosius Aurelianus and some kind of Mithraic ritual is carried out among a group of standing stones. I remember that this was the first time I'd heard of Mithras, that the religion was correctly described as a particular favourite of soldiers, and visions of a bull were somehow involved, but not much else. I do have the original novel at home somewhere, so I'll have to re-read it.
The nice thing about the series' use of Brittany is that, as I said, the links with Arthurian legend are widely celebrated in Brittany (by the tourist board, at least). You can't move for an Arthurian-themed restaurants or supposedly haunted woods in Brittany. And the Arthurian legends are frequently linked with the Classical past in one way or another. So the blending of Brittany's Classical past with its Arthurian heritage is a really nice idea, and although I barely remember the series, I do remember the combination of the exotic Mithraic cult with the haunting stones of Brittany being very effective.
It's no wonder Brittany celebrates its medieval heritage so much, when you've got buildings like these...
and no wonder it's such a good place for fantasy and folklore lovers, with landscapes like this, known as the Roches du Diable (Devil's Rocks).
If only the BBC would release the series on DVD...!