An island with two faces
The wildness of Belle-Île has always inspired artists. Claude Monet immortalised the Needles of Port Coton, battered by the tides. The actress Sarah Bernhardt lived in the small fortress at the Pointe des Poulains, on the windswept prow of this island. You will see, just as they did, that Belle-Île has every right to its name. The variety of landscapes is amazing. The stretches of coastline that face the continent have sheltered coves and beautiful sandy beaches. The side that faces the Atlantic is quite different. Its sheer cliffs sweep down into a never-ending turmoil of foam. As you stand in front of the Apothecary’s Cave, you can smell the breath of the ocean. Inland, Belle-Île is a mixture of gorse heaths, green valleys and well-preserved dunes. You can explore the island by skipping across meadows, passing quaint cottages built into the rocks, with colourful shutters and doors of natural wood. Vauban’s citadel, overlooking Le Palais harbour, is a monument to the island’s military past. From the top of the Great Lighthouse of Kervilhaouen there’s an equally impressive view. And, on all sides, is the sea.