Brittany's Atlantic Islands

A brief introduction to the fifteen Îles du Ponant and where to call to find out more...

The Îles du Ponant are the fifteen islands dotted along Brittany's Atlantic and Channel coastline. They can all be visited and some allow for overnight stays. For detailed information on each island, contact the local Syndicat d'Initiative, Tourist Office or Mairie.

Here is an introduction to each, starting with those off the north west coast and moving round to the south coast of Brittany

Îles Chausey

North of St-Malo, in the Atlantic, lies Europe's largest archipelago which counts 52 little islands at high tide. There are a dozen or so inhabitants in winter, fifty in summer. The main island is 2 Km long and 200 to 700 metres wide. Overnight stays are possible: there are five gîtes, and a farm which has been converted into studios and apartments for rent. Camping is not authorised. Further information from:

  • Îles Chausey
    Tourist Office at 4, cours Jonville, Granville.
    Tel: 02 33 91 30 03
    Fax: 02 33 91 30 19
    email

Bréhat

An archipelago with a population of over 400. You can visit the ultra-modern glass works, or rent a bike to explore the island. No cars are allowed. Overnight accommodation is available; there are three hotels and a campsite. Regular ferry service connects it with the mainland at Ploubazlanec in summer. Further information from:

Île de Batz

The Île de Batz is off the coast at Roscoff and connected to the town by ferry. At low tide it looks possible to walk from the mainland to the island across the sand banks but be aware this should not be done - it is extremely dangerous as the tide rises very fast. The island has about 600 inhabitants has an exotic garden and a magnificent lighthouse to view the coastline. It is renowned for its white sandy beaches and dunes. Bicycles can be rented. Accommodation: two hotels and guest rooms. Further information from:

  • Syndicat d'Initiative
    Tel: 02 98 61 75 70
    Fax: 02 98 61 75 85

Ouessant

The island is 8 Km long and 4 Km at its widest point, with about 950 inhabitants. Activities include pony rides, tennis, and museum and lighthouse visits. The island is full of history and legend. It is connected to the mainland of western Brittany at the mainland at Le Conquet; the Penn Ar Bed ferry company provides a connection. For information on accommodation and other activities:

  • Syndicat d'Initiative
    Tel: 02 98 48 85 83
    Fax: 02 98 48 87 09

Île Molène

Off the west coast of Brittany, not far from the mainland at Le Conquet, this little island is a nature reserve. It has a camp site, hotel, and a museum dedicated to the Drummond Castle shipwreck for which it is famous. The Penn Ar Bed ferry company provides a connection service. Further information from:

  • The Mairie
    Tel: 02 98 07 39 05 
    Fax: 02 98 07 38 28

Île de Sein

Off the lower western promontory, this little island has about 246 inhabitants and measures 58 hectares. Known for its fishing industry and lifeboat rescues, Sein has two restaurants and camping is tolerated with permission from the Mairie. It can be reached from the mainland by ferry from Esquibien. Further information:

  • The Mairie
    Tel: 02 98 70 90 35
    Fax: 02 98 70 91 98

Glénan

The island is open for day visits only. It is well known for its sailing schools and nature walks. Further information from:

  • Tourist Office at Fouesnant-Les-Glénan
    Tel: 02 98 56 00 93
    Fax: 02 98 56 64 02

Île de Groix

One of the larger islands at 8 Km long and 3 to 4 Km wide, it is located south of the Brittany mainland and connected to Lorient by a ferry service. It's a very pretty island, with a population of about 2,300. It has numerous hotels and a VVF (Village des Vacances) and offers marine activities, nature walks, fishing expeditions and local produce for sale. Further information from:

Belle-Île-en-Mer

The biggest island, located south of the mainland and the peninsula of Quiberon, it has always attracted artists, including Courbet, Matisse, Derain, Vasarely and Russel, and most particularly, Monet, who painted many of his works here. Sarah Bernhardt also loved this island and lived at the Pointe des Poulains. There are many hotels and restaurants, museums and activities. A ferry service connects the island to Quiberon. Further information from:

Oëdic

With fewer than 150 inhabitants, this island has a tiny school and a dozen fishing boats, but there is a hotel, gîtes and a camping site. It lies just east of the much bigger Belle-Ile-en-Mer and can be reached by ferry from the mainland at Quiberon. Get around by walking only - there are no bikes for hire. For further information and reservations:

  • The Mairie
    Tel: 02 97 30 68 32
    Fax: 02 97 52 33 27

Houat

This is a long and narrow island with an active professional fishing industry. Accommodation is available in hotels or at the municipal campsites; bikes can be hired from April to September. Near Oëdic, it also lies east Belle-Ile-en-Mer and can be reached by ferry from the mainland at Quiberon. Further information from:

  • The Mairie
    Tel: 02 97 30 68 04
    Fax: 02 97 30 66 28

Île-d'Arz

Surrounded by the mainland, this very attractive island sits in the Golfe du Morbihan and the Bateau de l'Ile d'Arz ferry connects it with Vannes. It has over 200 inhabitants and a rich history, with it old manors and mills dating back to the 15th century. The sea is never more than 400 metres from anywhere and there are many beaches and sailing activities. Bicycles can be hired; accommodation in hotels or the municipal campsite (70 places). To reserve:

Île aux Moines

Directly east of the Île-d'Arz, the Île aux Moines also lies in the Golfe du Morbihan. Formed in the shape of a cross, 6 Km long and 3 Km wide, this island has over 600 inhabitants. It has fountains and little chapels, ruins and tiny forests and is just 500 metres from the mainland. Bicycles can be hired and there are hotels, gîtes and a campsite. Further information from:

Île d'Yeu

This island is the furthest away from the mainland and lies off the south west coast of Brittany. It has the most inhabitants at over 4,800. There are many fishing boats and fishermen offload their catches in front of the port side cafés. There are hotels, guesthouses and a campsite with bicycles for hire. There are many activities. It can be reached by ferry from La Barre-de-Monts. Further information from:

  • Tel: 02 51 58 32 58
    Fax: 02 51 58 40 48

Île d'Aix

The southernmost of the Brittany islands, this small island lies nestled in the bay off the coast at Fouras. You can walk around this island in two hours, or you can a bicycle or a calèche if you prefer. The island is rich in military history and was where Napoléon 1st chose to stay before he was exiled to St-Helena Island in 1815. There are museums to visit and accommodation in hotels and guesthouses. Further information from:

  • The Mairie
    Tel: 05 46 84 66 09
    Fax: 05 46 84 65 79