© Xavier Dubois
The Ile aux Moines and the Isle of Arz The two largest islands in the Gulf of Morbihan
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The Ile aux Moines and the Isle of Arz

Among the 42 islands in the Gulf of Morbihan, the largest island, the Ile aux Moines (‘Monks’ Island’), stands out because of its mild climate and eco-chic style, and because one side of the island is wooded. Its neighbour, the Isle of Arz, is more rugged and is a favourite with walkers who enjoy its wonderful coastal path.

The two largest islands in the Gulf of Morbihan

Where are the monks?

Connected to the mainland all year round by a shuttle from Port-Blanc, 15 km from Vannes, the island owes its name to the monks of Redon Abbey, who were granted the island by the King of Brittany in the 9th century. It stretches for more than 6 km, from Trech Point in the north to Nioul Point in the south, and is cross-shaped. Plants such as camellias, mimosas, palm trees and orange trees grow abundantly here. Come and stroll out of season through the old village with its flower-decked back streets and charming fishermen’s houses. Tour the island on foot or by bike – you can hire these at the jetty. It’s the perfect way to explore the ‘Bois d’Amour’ woods, the megaliths and heather-covered hillsides, as well as the wide beach and little coves of this ‘Pearl of the Gulf’.

Arz, the Captains’ Island

A 20-minute crossing from Conleau Point brings you to this rugged tongue of land. The low-lying island oozes charm, with its varied landscapes, character village and time-weathered manor houses. The Isle of Arz is a paradise for walkers: the coastal path allows you to make a complete circuit and enjoy spectacular views over the Gulf. At the Pointe du Berno headland is a tidal mill, built in the 16th century, which has been restored by dedicated volunteers and is now in working order. In the centre of the village, the Sailors and Captains Museum (Musée Marins et Capitaines) tells of a time when almost all the island’s men went to sea, enlisted in the merchant navy or Royal Navy.

Did you know ?

A titanic task?

Off the coast of Larmor-Baden on the Isle of Gavrinis, the fascinating carved slabs of the Gavrinis Cairn are astonishing. The total weight of this Neolithic structure is more than 18,000 tonnes. It really does look as if it was built by titans.

Official website of tourism in Brittany