advertisement

An Idyll on an Ile

The Ile de Bréhat is home to some 350 hearty folk who live most of the year in isolation—until the summer crowds arrive. The tiny island (actually two islands, Ile Nord and Ile Sud, linked by a bridge, Le Pont Vauban) is in the Gulf of St-Malo, north of Paimpol. A visit to Bréhat is an adventure, even to the French. The only settlement on the islands is Le Bourg, in the south. The only bona fide beach is a strip of sand at Guerzido.

Walking is the primary activity, and it’s possible to stroll the footpaths around the island in a day. Cars, other than police and fire vehicles, aren’t allowed. Tractor-driven carts carry visitors on an 8km (5-mile) circuit of Bréhat’s two islands, charging 9€ for the 45-min. jaunt (it’s 4€ for children 4–11, free for children 3 and under). A number of places rent bikes, but they aren’t necessary.

The rich flora here astonishes many visitors, who arrive expecting a wind-swept island only to discover a more Mediterranean clime. Flowers abound in summer, though both the gardens and houses appear tiny because of the scarcity of land. At the highest point, Chapelle St-Michel, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view.

The tourist office, pl. du Bourg, Le Bourg (www.brehat-infos.fr; tel. 02-96-20-83-16), is open Monday to Saturday mid-June to mid-September.

To reach Paimpol, drive west on D768 from Dinard to Lamballe, then take E50 west to Plérin and D786 north to Paimpol. To reach the island, take D789 4km (2.5 miles) north of Paimpol, where the peninsula ends at the Pointe de l’Arcouest. From Paimpol, 6 to 10 Tibus (www.tibus.fr; tel. 08-10-22-22-22) buses make the 10-min. run to the point for a one-way fare of 2€. Then catch one of the ferries operated by Les Vedettes de Bréhat (www.vedettesdebrehat.com; tel. 02-96-55-79-50). Ferries depart about every 30 min. in summer, around seven times per day in the off-season; the round-trip costs 10.30€ for adults, 8.80€ for ages 4 to 11, free for children 3 and under. Visitors in April, May, June, and September will find the island much less crowded than in July and August. Cars are not allowed on the ferry.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.