Pointe du Raz and the Cap Sizun
The end of the world
Wild and windy Pointe du Raz, France’s equivalent of Land’s End, is one of Brittany’s most popular natural sites. With its breathtaking clifftop walks (you’ll need a head for heights!), perilous waters, intriguing island and charming fishing ports, this area offers an authentic slice of Breton life.
Pointe du Raz first became popular with visitors in the 19th century thanks to its appearance in the works of Gustave Flaubert and Victor Hugo who were enchanted by its stark beauty. However the extent of tourism led to environmental degradation, which thankfully has now been addressed. These days, around 850,00 visitors a year come to wander through the gorse and heather and admire the views at France's most westerly point. Make your first stop the Maison de la Site (welcome centre) to orient yourself and maybe sign up for a guided tour.
The bay of the dead
North of the Pointe du Raz is the Baie des Trépassés (bay of the dead), apparently so-called because of the number of shipwrecked bodies that used to get washed up here – the waters in this area have some of the strongest currents in Europe. However, in spite of its grim name, this is a scenic spot with rolling green meadows that slope down to a sandy beach, which is very popular with surfers.
Barely an island
On a clear day, you’ll be able to make out the whitewashed houses in the harbour of Île de Sein, a small island 5 miles (8km) off the coast. Even though no part of it is more than 19ft (6m) above sea level, car-free Sein has around 300 inhabitants who make their living from fishing. Although Sein allegedly has one of the most dangerous reefs in the world, there are daily boat trips from nearby Audierne in summer.
Catch of the day
No trip to Pointe du Raz would be complete without a stop at Audierne. As well as being a popular seaside resort with a sheltered beach, the town is a working fishing port, with prawns and crayfish being the top catches. Aquashow is a popular attraction with families for its aquariums, shark basin and bird displays. Along the coast in Douarnenez you can learn all about boats and fishing at the Port-Museum.
Did you know?
Legend has it that the mythical Breton city of Ys (pronounced ‘ees’) is buried under the sea in the Baie des Trépassés.
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