At the westernmost tip of Brittany, Le Conquet has been named a Petite Cité de Caractère® for good reason: call in and see for yourselves! This village port, full of green spaces and boasting a diversity of natural environments, is home to remarkable maritime and architectural heritage. Meander through its narrow streets past pretty old cottages to watch the medley of boats bound for Molène and Ushant and soak up the gorgeous sea views and rich cultural pickings.
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Experience Le Conquet
Le Conquet was founded by monks who had settled in the nearby hamlet of Lochrist, and today it is defined by both the land and the sea. Ever since the Middle Ages, its strategic location has made it a highly coveted port. Fortified houses, like the Maison des Seigneurs, are a telling reminder that the village had to contend with multiple incursions. In the 16th century, the commercial port developed as cabotage, or coastal trade, flourished, and smart shipowners’ houses sprung up. These were then joined by elegant properties as the shipyards and iodine extraction factory brought prosperity and sea bathing in the 19th century caught on. These days, Le Conquet is still a small fishing village, with a marina and crossings to the islands of Molène and Ushant. It is also where the Parc Naturel Marin d’Iroise is headquartered.
A diversity of natural environments
Le Conquet lives in step with the tides, as far as the ria (or tidal reach) crossed by the iconic Croaë footbridge. This bridge is a prime viewing spot for a truly spectacular nature show, with the sea on one side and the salt marshes and pine forests on the other. Cross over it to reach the rocky peninsula of Kermorvan. For breathtaking panoramic views, climb to the top of the 20m-tall lighthouse before coming back down to enjoy the sweeping Blancs Sablons beach. Hedgerows, moors, rocks, dunes and even islands with Kemenez and Béniguet… every kind of coastal landscape you can possibly think of can be found right here.
This is a prime viewing spot for a truly spectacular nature show, with the sea on one side and the salt marshes and pine forests on the other
Did you know?
A tramway for the islands
From 1903 to 1932, it was possible to get the tram from Brest to Le Conquet station, before embarking on a boat bound for Molène or Ushant. The journey by electric tram took just over an hour. In 1932, the tramway, however innovative, was replaced by coaches.
A village awash with art, sea and nature
A walk through the old streets leading away from Quai du Drellac’h is like a journey back in time, so varied is the architectural heritage on display. The many handsome sandstone houses, that once belonged to shipowners, and a network of vaulted cellars attest to the booming wine and salt trade in the 16th and 17th centuries. Secret gardens can be spied behind high walls providing shelter from the ocean winds. Attractive town houses, like the Tissier family home, which is now the town hall, or Château de Cosquiez, steeped in Gothic Revival charm, are a delight to behold. The more contemporary Hôtel Sainte-Barbe is an astonishing feat of striking concrete lines, looking out over the Iroise Sea from its rocky perch. On a final note, the village puts on an exciting cultural programme all year round, combining dramatised tours, brass bands in costume, nature outings, musical Wednesdays, and let’s not forget the famous “La Mer en Livres” book fair.