Archipel des Glénan

The Breton Tahiti

Picture 1 Archipel des Glénan Picture 2 Archipel des Glénan Picture 3 Archipel des Glénan Picture 4 Archipel des Glénan Picture 5 Archipel des Glénan Picture 6 Archipel des Glénan Picture 7 Archipel des Glénan Picture 8 Archipel des Glénan

The Îles de Glénan are an archipelago of islands about 10 miles (16km) off the south coast of Finistère. Only accessible in summer, they are best known for their sailing and diving schools and for having a unique indigenous flower.

Exotic paradise

The archipelago is made up of nine main islands and many islets, in the middle of which is a lagoon renowned for the clarity of its water and the whiteness of its sands; in fact, the area has been described as ‘the Breton Tahiti’.

The main island

The Glénans are very popular with daytrippers as there are daily ferries in season from Loctudy, Bénodet, Concarneau and Beg-Meil. The boats arrive at the main island, Saint Nicolas, where you’ll find a couple of restaurants as well as the international diving school and France’s smallest nature reserve, which was founded in 1974 to protect the Glénan Narcissus; the small white flower carpets the island in April. In the 19th century, one of the island’s inhabitants was France’s largest breeder of lobsters and langoustines.

Sail away

You can walk to Bananec Island from Saint-Nicolas at low tide when a ribbon of sand appears. This isle is inhabited by the internationally renowned not-for-profit sailing school, which runs courses for adults and teenagers of all levels in English as well as French. Trainee sailors are housed in a 1960s building; construction on the islands is no longer allowed and accommodation is scarce.

Landmarks ahoy

A lighthouse and a semaphore can be found on Penfret Island while Île Cigogne is instantly recognisable by its fort, which was built in 1756 to keep English pirates out of the lagoon; both islands are rented by the sailing school. Halfway between the archipelago and the coast is the Île aux Moutons, which has an automated lighthouse and is a known nesting ground for two types of sterns.

On land

The islands are part of the commune of Fouesnant, a mainland family resort with some lovely long sandy beaches, including Kérambigorn, which has a Blue Flag. The town hosts the apple-tree festival each July.

Did you know?

The islands are powered by wind turbines and solar panels.

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With TripAdvisor’s reviews from travellers

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