La Gacilly, (56 Morbihan, Bretagne) is synonymous with the late Yves Rocher who created and ran his cosmetics empire in this charming Morbihan village; it’s also renowned for its arts and crafts. When you’ve checked out the botanical garden and tried some treatments in the spa, go walking with donkeys or rent a boat. Or visit France’s largest outdoor photo festival in Summer.
Yves Rocher, who died in 2009, founded his cosmetics company in his hometown in 1958; it went on to become a global billion-euro business. The company, which grows, makes and distributes its own products, is the area’s biggest employer. Visit the HQ where you can watch a film about Yves Rocher’s history then wander around the botanical garden where you’ll find 1100 species of plant. There’s an on-site shop in case you want to buy some goodies.
In 2009, Yves Rocher opened an eco-friendly spa hotel, La Grée des Landes, where residents and day visitors can indulge in relaxing treatments using the company’s natural products. The hotel has a gourmet restaurant, which uses organic and local products, where diners can enjoy panoramic views over the gardens; the site is a designated bird and butterfly reserve.
Art, craft and photos La Gacilly’s narrow streets are jam-packed with artists and craftsmen of all types, from puppet makers to jewellery designers and from potters to glass blowers. Among them is British artist Anne Smith, official painter to the French Navy, whose work can be seen at the Galerie du Chat Noir. The town is also known for its annual photo festival (Festival Photo La Gacilly from
1 June – 30 September 2019) France’s largest outdoor photographic festival; past themes have included ‘people and nature’ and ‘biodiversity’. www.brittanytourism.com
La Gacilly is situated between Rennes and Vannes (37 miles /60 km)
For more info and to check availabilty at this Yves Rocher Spa hotel see La Grée des Landes
also see L’Occitane’s perfumery and garden in Provence