La vie est belle on this breathtaking island

When a place is named “Beautiful Island”, you know you’re in for something special. Off the coast of Brittany, Belle Ile enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate quite unlike the mainland. This enigmatic French island has captivated actors, authors, and artists for generations—and it’s easy to see why as soon as you step on shore.

Arriving in the harbor town of Le Palais, you’ll be greeted by pastry shops, boutiques, and cafes serving up seriously fresh seafood. Sample regional favorites like palourdes (clams baked with garlic, white wine, mushrooms and cheese), Breton cotriade (mackerel or monkfish stew), or classic moules et frites (mussels and shoestring French fries). Explore the dungeons of the star-shaped Vauban Citadel, and gain a deeper appreciation of local island life at the museum within the fortress.

The pastoral rolling countryside, sleepy villages, and salmon-colored beaches of the island’s sheltered east side give way to the untamed wonder of the Cote Sauvage (the Wild Coast) to the west. Haunting and romantic, experience crashing waves, sheer cliffs, and jagged rock pillars that inspired the works of Claude Monet and Henri Matisse. Hike, bike, or ride a motor scooter along the island’s extensive network of seaside trails to discover tiny villages, hidden beaches, and truly tranquil moments at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

Pointe des Poulains

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Pointe des Poulains

This rocky outcrop on the island’s northern tip is home to a lighthouse and miniature fortress house once owned by world-famous actress and entertainer Sarah Bernhardt. Of Belle Ile, Bernhardt once said “I love Belle Île for its solitude, its silence, its wildness, its fisherfolk, its transparent grey-green sea, its sky, now blue, now black...for the dreams, the ideals and the beauty that I find there.”

Aiguilles de Port Coton

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Aiguilles de Port Coton

French for “the needles”, these jagged rock stacks reaching skyward from the sea appear in paintings by Monet and Matisse. Named for the way crashing waves created sea foam as light as cotton, this spot on the west side of the island makes for a breathtaking panoramic scene.

Plage des Grand Sables

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Plage des Grand Sables

Unlike the wild western coast, the east side of Belle Ile has plenty of sheltered beaches for a day of sand and sun. At two kilometers long, the popular Plage des Grand Sables is the perfect place to relax after a tour along the island’s seaside trails and enjoy warm Mediterranean breezes.

Belle Ile, France At a glance

Current Weather:
Mostly Cloudy (Day)
22°C / 72 °F
Thu
Mostly Cloudy (Day)
24°
15°
Fri
Showers
19°
16°
Sat
Mostly Cloudy (Day)
19°
14°
Sun
Partly Cloudy (Day)
20°
17°
Current Time:
3:19:01 pm2018/09/19 15:19:01 pm
CEST
Wednesday, September 19
Offset:
UTC/GMT +02:00
Currency:
Euro
Exchange Rates:
  • 1.16
  • 1.50
  • 0.87
  • 1.52
  • 75.18
  • 3.81
  • 22.28
  • 1.69
Local Details:
GPS: 47°20'43"N 3°12'52.94"W
Size: 84.00 KM2 (32.43 MI2)
Population: 4,920
Density: 59 Pop/KM2 (23 Pop/MI2)
Country Code: +33

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