A mile off the northern coast of Brittany you will find Ile de Bréhat, a lush and peaceful island of about 400 full time residents. Bréhat is located along the pink granite coast, situated in an archipelago of several islands.
Attractions of the Ile de Bréhat
The 15-minute ferry from L’Arcouest on the mainland will deposit you at Port Clos on the southern end of Bréhat, a charming village with a hotel, shops, cafes and bike rentals. The no cars rule on Bréhat makes it a lovely place to bike and walk. We opted for biking, so off we went with map in hand, although we hardly looked at it. The main paths are well marked to lead you to the main sights of the island. Up and down the lanes we went, past windswept fields with grazing cows, storybook stone cottages with riotous gardens. Flowers are everywhere on Bréhat as they thrive in the mild microclimate that exists here.
Be sure to see Chapelle Saint-Michel situated high atop a hill. You will need to park your bike and make the climb up a number of steps, but you will be rewarded with a visit to a beautiful small chapel and a magnificent view.
Some lanes will lead you down to a beach scattered with outcroppings of the famous pink granite and boats temporarily stranded by low tide. Plage de Guerzido, on the southern end of Brehat, is popular with beach goers and water sports are offered there. Other lanes will lead through tiny hamlets with painted shuttered cottages surrounded by lush hydrangeas. Towards the southwest side of the island, you will find a glass blowing studio with a shop to purchase handcrafted glassworks. Also to the southwest is the Moulin a Maree du Birlot, a 17th century grist mill that operates with use of the tides. The main village on the island is called Le Bourg and is full of cafes and shops. It is a nice place to park your bicycle and have a bite to eat or gather the makings of a picnic.
Continue heading northward and you will come to a bridge that was built by Vauban, the French military engineer. Brehat is actually two islands linked by this bridge. The northern island is less populated than its neighbor to the south and here you will find many beautiful vistas over windswept fields leading to rocky beaches. There are two lighthouses, Phare du Rosedo and Phare du Paon, both located towards the northern end. Just before the sandy path that leads to Phare du Paon, a resident of the island offers up crepes and drinks, and has tables set within a beautiful garden.
As Bréhat is only 3.5 kilometers wide and 1.5 kilometers long, it is the perfect size for a walking or biking daytrip. If you want more time on the island there are several accommodation options: small hotels, gites and a campground. However much time you spend on Bréhat, you will be sure to marvel at this beautiful place. We were thoroughly enchanted!
Annie Caldwell is a writer who lives in Normandy.