La vie est belle on this breathtaking island
When a place is named “Beautiful Island”, you know you’re in for something special. Off the coast of Brittany, Belle Ile enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate quite unlike the mainland. This enigmatic French island has captivated actors, authors, and artists for generations—and it’s easy to see why as soon as you step on shore.
Arriving in the harbor town of Le Palais, you’ll be greeted by pastry shops, boutiques, and cafes serving up seriously fresh seafood. Sample regional favorites like palourdes (clams baked with garlic, white wine, mushrooms and cheese), Breton cotriade (mackerel or monkfish stew), or classic moules et frites (mussels and shoestring French fries). Explore the dungeons of the star-shaped Vauban Citadel, and gain a deeper appreciation of local island life at the museum within the fortress.
The pastoral rolling countryside, sleepy villages, and salmon-colored beaches of the island’s sheltered east side give way to the untamed wonder of the Cote Sauvage (the Wild Coast) to the west. Haunting and romantic, experience crashing waves, sheer cliffs, and jagged rock pillars that inspired the works of Claude Monet and Henri Matisse. Hike, bike, or ride a motor scooter along the island’s extensive network of seaside trails to discover tiny villages, hidden beaches, and truly tranquil moments at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.