Tour of Belle-île by feet, Belle-île-en-mer, Brittany, France Tour of Belle-île by feet, Belle-île-en-mer, Brittany, France

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  • Off the path Explo
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    4.9 / 5
    Comments
    Most of the spots in your article are really unknown. This is a very singular trip Fritz. Well done!
  • Article Quality
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    • Score
      5 / 5
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      Very nice and complete description and tips Fritz!
    • Score
      5 / 5
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      Yes! And you added a plan!
    • Score
      5 / 5
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      Yes, many!
    • Score
      5 / 5
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      Yes!
    • Score
      0 / 5
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      Hum... You describe too many different spots in your article...
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Belle-île really deserves its name: it is the most beautiful of the French islands of the Atlantic Ocean! You can make a 5 day walking tour on a coastal trail to discover it...

My experience, Explo description: 

Belle-île is 18km long and 9km large: the island has a total circumference of about 110km. It is little urbanized, yet relatively little touched by tourism, automobile traffic is low: fortunately, there is no coastal road.

The island has retained a rural character. The atmosphere is peaceful. You can encounter many little animals: rabbits, hares, pheasants, sea birds (including Oystercatcher with their characteristic singing)...

The main port, Le Palais, is located on the North Coast. The 3 other villages are: Sauzon, Bangor and Locmaria.

Furthermore, you can discover many small hamlets in the countryside. Belle-île culminates 72m above sea level near of Locmaria. West and south coasts are wild, with cliffs, exposed to wind, with a low vegetation. East and North coasts are lower and more protected, often wooded. You will therefore meet a wide variety of landscapes.

Day 1 / The Palace - Sauzon: 12 km

After crossing the imposing citadel (built by Vauban), you need to go through the North Gate and just after the bridge, you can get to the coastal path by a steep staircase. The trail is shaded by many trees. It leads to the North in the middle of a dense vegetation. Beautiful views of the Citadel.

2 km further on, you will reach the Taillefer Pointe (cape) where you can see important German remains of the Atlantic wall, constructed during the WW2. Old semaphore.

The trail then proceeded quite frankly westward. Among the ferns and heather, it passes through several coves often protected by some small forts, built in 17th and often converted into holiday residence. Kerzo is a magnificent lookout well suited for the picnic.

The trail then reaches the beautiful small port of Sauzon, where you can leave bags in the night.

Sauzon - Pointe des Poulains - Ster Vraz - Sauzon: 12 km loop

You can join the coastal trail to the Pointe of Cardinal (1861 fort). It follows a very cut coast shaped by the wind.

You reach Pointe des Poulains island at the Northwest end of Belle-Isle. This is a small island on which lies a lighthouse built in 1868 (its light can be visible up to 23 miles away). Make this tour to admire the violence of the waves who break on the rocks. Caution: the island of the Poulains is not accessible at high tide. Therefore need to take account of tidal schedules to find out how to make this loop.

To the West Coast, the Sarah Bernhardt fort appears in a Wagner decorum. The great actress (1844-1923) had fallen in love with this place that did fit so well her tempered character! You can visit it if you have enough time (1 hour).

The trail continues to the South and pass before a fountain. You will discover a semicircle that Sarah Bernhardt had to install on a promontory to contemplate with her Court of admirers the furious elements.

There, you will also see a golf. Take care to lost balls. Have a look at the hole number 2, which requires a flight of 120 meters above the sea to reach the green on the other side!

500m further, on the left side of the trail, don't miss the Baguen-Hir wells. This is a collapse of 30 metres deep and 50 meters in diameter, whose background is communicating with the sea.

If you go further, you can discover a wonderful view offered by the broad cove of Ster-Vraz and its tributary Ster-Ouen. Ster-Vraz bottom, is linked to Sauzon by the hamlet of Bortifaouen.

Day 2 / Sauzon-Kervilahouen: 17 km

Join Ster-Vraz via the D30 road. Follow the coastal trail on the southern shore and bypass the small cove of Ster Ouen. Left side, have a look at the ornithological reserve of the Pointe du Vieux Chateau and then run along a steep coast, with still more impressive cliffs (30 to 40m high). Then you arrive at the cave of the Apothicairerie. The access is too dangerous and is now prohibited.

During 5km the trail crosses a grassy and heather landscpae, borded by a particularly shredded coast. Pass in frint of the former Er Hastellic semaphore, then pass through the impressive site for the Borderune Port: it is a 17th century walled cove.

From there, you will stand on a advanced promontory from where you admire the hamlet of Anter (Acadian houses). Then you can see the beautiful beach of Donnant (with impressive wave rollers). Caution is needed when swimming (the beach monitored in July and August). It is interesting to see this beach at high tide, where it is frequented by surfers, and at low tide, where you can discover a true rock labyrinth and a small cave of 50 meters long on the left-hand side (South).

Walking in the dunes, you will join Kervilahouen (close to Grand Phare, built in 1835). It measures 53 metres high and its scope is 26 miles.

Day 3 / Donant - Bangor: 20 km

From Donant, the coastal path leads quickly to the charming and quiet small (long and narrow) cove of the Vazen. There, you can bath safely.

1km further to the South, some barriers report the Vazen hole (circular collapse of 20 metres high on 15 meters in diameter, including the background communicates with the sea). Be cautious in this area as parts of the southern coast are unstable and sometimes collapse: don't walk too close to the edge.

Then the trail runs along the islands of Baguenères and you arrive in Port Coton, with its famous cotton needles, painted by Claude Monnet .

Pass the old German radar station bunker, then visit a small building that once housed a mist siren, linked to the Grand Phare.

After having crossed the small beautiful bay of Port Goulphar (flanked by Domois Islands), you reach the Talut semaphore. On the promontory of Bornord, you can see vestiges of an old battery dating back to the 18th century. Magnificent view on the port-Kérel cove. The trail crosses the Kerel beach and climbs on the other side, passes to the island of Bangor and reaches the Pointe de Grand Village: panoramic view.

The trail becomes more sportly. After the beach of Dotchot, the trail goes deep into the the land to Bordouhant, joining Bangor.

Day 4 / Bangor - Locmaria: 20 km

From Calastren, join the beautiful beach of Herlin. Attention: by strong or hard sea, there are dangerous currents on the rocks (the beach is monitored in July and August).

The trail becomes difficult and the ground is unstable until the Pointe de Saint-Marc. At the Pointe de Pouldon, you can see an old celtic oppidum: wide point of view.

When continuing, the trail continues on a high cliff. On the right, you can discover the Bourhic Island, then it goes into 2 particularly steep valleys prior to reaching Port Lost Kah, where the "Prince de Conti" sank in 1746.

Beyond that, you will reach the highest coast of the island. East of Porh Koter valley, you will the "l'homme de Porh-Koter" (a 1.5m high human shape, sculpted in the 1980s by a local sculptor.

Just before the Skeul cape, you will admire the natural sculpture of "la roche du Pilor", still resisting to the assaults of the wind and the sea.

After the vast panorama at Skeul, the trail becomes easier in getting closer to the coast. The old renovated semaphore of Arzic in the middle of a flowery garden is an ideal place for a short break.

At the Pointe of Arzic, have a look at a little fort skilfully renovated with a swimming pool, in a privileged site , with a 2m high contemporary sculpture.

After having crossed the small coves of Port Blanc and Port Maria, a steep climb leads to Locmaria.

Day 5 / Locmaria - Le Palais: 18 km

Descend to Port Maria, then follow the coastal trail to the North. Along the north and the easter coasts, you will encounter many defensive works. At the Pointe du Kerzo, you can see an old battery.

In Port An Dro, there is a sand beach with a camping. It is here that the English landed in 1761, and occupied the island for two years.

After the lighthouse of Kerdonis (scope 16 miles, red glow), the trail follows the coast North, lower, less exposed to the winds and most forested. The "Grands Sables" beach (1.5km long) is protected by a fortified wall going along the entire beach. To access the beach, you need to cross this fortification by a hunched passage. Dutch ships attempted to land here in 1674. Then an Anglo-Dutch also failed in 1696.

The trail goes by the old Fort of the Pointe du Bugul, then goes down to the beach of Port Yorch and goes up to the Pointe du Gros Rocher fort. Beyond that, you can access the beautiful and long sandy beach of Bordardoué, ideal for swimming.

Hundred meters more West is one of the most original sights of Belle-Isle. This is the "Aiguade de Vauban", also called "la Belle Fontaine". This is a tank built in hard on plans of Vauban. It contains 800,000 litres of fresh water. It was for the French fleet warships water supply. Below, a space built into the rock allowed rowboats to approach.

To protect the fountain was built the Fort Laron (50m to the West). Discreetly renovated, this Fort is currently a nice secondary, private residence.

The trail leads to the Pointe de Ramonette (fort), then Ramonette Beach for swimming.

Go back to the enclosure around Le Palais. Pass under the door of Locmaria and rue des Remparts, find the harbour of Le Palais.

My personal recommendations: 

Have a look at my map!!

Agrandir le plan

How getting there: 

Most of the boats leave from Quiberon to Le Palais.

Only the « Compagnie Océane » transports cars: http://www.compagnie-oceane.fr/fr/belleile/ile_f.php

In summer time, you have departures from Vannes, Lorient or Le Croisic. A few boats also serve Sauzon
http://www.Belle-Ile.com/index.php?id_site=1&id_page=27

A tip to eat: 

See : to sleep

A tip to sleep: 

http://www.belleile.com/index.php?id_site=1&option=Tourisme&id_page=&idC...

(1) - Le Palais

-"Youth Hostel" Tel:
+ 33 (0) 2 97 31 81 33 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              + 33 (0) 2 97 31 81 33      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Located just next to the Vauban Citadel , this is a good address. More: for noon, the boss brings you a hot meal everywhere you want.

(2) - Sauzon
-Lodging at "Le Relais Cotier": Tel: + 33 (0) 6 33 19 75 04
http://www.Relais-cotier-Belle-Ile.com/
-"L’Escale": Tel: + 33 (0) 2 97 31 66 23
Home and average quality

(3) - Kervilahouen
-"Flower camping Kernest": Tel.: + 33 (0) 2 97 31 56 26
3 Km east from Donant beach. Possibility of small wooden chalets to rent. You can also eat. Very correct!
http://www.camping-kernest.com/
-"Au bon Accueil" ,Donant beach , 56360 BANGOR, Tel: + 33 (0) 2 97 31 80 83
http://lebonaccueil.pagesperso-orange.fr/renseignements.htm
Bed and Breakfast at the entrance to Donnant beach . No restauration: you need to go to Kervilahouen 1.5 km: restaurants.

(4) - Bangor
-"Bangor communal Center": Tel: + 33 (0) 2 97 31 89 75
In the centre of the village. Kitchen. Several restaurants in the village.

(5) - Locmaria
-"Gîte communal de Lannivrec" : Tel: + 33 (0) 2 97 31 73 75
http://www.locmaria-Belle-Ile.com/
there is kitchen on site. Located 1km away from Locmaria.

Useful information: 
Access security: 

Caution: the cliff edges are very unstable on the South and West coasts, especially between Vazen hole and Skeul Pointe. Do not approach too close to the cliffs.

Climate: in Britain, it is rare to have 5 days without rain. In general, these last not very long, but you must equip accordingly.