An Inspired Island Escape
This island off the shores of Brittany is known for its dramatic rocky coast, which has acted as a muse of sorts for stories by Flaubert and Dumas, and canvases by Matisse and particularly Monet, who painted a whole series on the subject.
You may be inspired to hike a portion of the walking path that follows the entire coastline, an exhilarating way to observe the stone spires and sea caves. These rough contours enclose 150 small villages scattered about a tranquil green countryside, with plenty of cozy places to relax and indulge in the freshest of seafood, and Breton specialties of crêpes and cider.
Dominating the bay of Le Palais, the Vauban Citadel dates back to the 11th century. With doorways leading to mysterious cellars and underground passages, endless sequences of rooms, dungeons deserted cells, and a museum on-site, discover the history at Vauban Citadel.
Known for its colorful houses and trail system, the seaside town of Sauzon is a wonderful starting point for coastal hiking. Here you’ll find spectacular rock formations, the famed Grotte de l’Apothicaire (Apothecary’s Cave), where waves crash in from two sides, and Phare des Poulains lighthouse.
Located on Belle Ile's cote sauvage (wild coast), the dramatic scenery of Bangor includes the famous needles of Port Coton—severe rocks protrubing out of the sea in spiky clusters—and one of France's most famed lighthouses. Bangor's coastline and Donnant Beach greatly inspired Monet, who produced a series of paintings of this area of Bell Ile.
Belle Ile, France At a glance