Best Islands of France

By Swathi Ramaswamy on Mar 06, 2019
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France, is the dream of every traveler and romantic lovers!

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Blessed by the Mistral winds of the mighty Mediterranean and guarded by The Alps, France convincingly emerges as the dream destination of innumerable traveler. The majesty of this place gracing Western Europe is hidden in the cobbled pathways that breathe in the essence of Medieval heritage. Paris, the capital city standing proudly with the Eiffel Tower, has emerged as the favorite honeymoon destination. The sophisticated establishments carrying the aroma of the oldest wines and world-class gourmet cuisines, Lyon's Ronan Theatre and the Palace of Versailles makes up for an experience like nowhere else in the world.

However, a step taken to the coastline showcases the true beauty of nature which makes up for a dream with open eyes. Hence, let us sail across the Mediterranean and free our souls to venture in the best islands of France to capture the stunning art of the mother nature.

1. Belle-Île-en-Mer

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Situated off the Morbihan Coast, lies the largest Brittany island of France which can be accessed either from Lorient or from Quiberon. Apart from the glistening waters breaking at the shore, this beautiful island is also a popular getaway for tourists. From museums to cafes and shops to restaurants, the island is also home to contrasting houses and rocky cliff edges which offer panoramic views of the sun-setting horizon. If lucky enough, tourists might also get the opportunity to be a part of Lyrique en Mer, known as France's biggest opera concert. Such is the scenic beauty of modernity intermingling with the richness of nature that it was painted by Monet and Matisse as well as scribbled by Dumas and Flaubert.

2. Île d’Ouessant

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Sojourning at a radius of 20 km, from the Finistère, lies nature's best-kept secret in France. On the western coastline of the country, the Ouessant lies at the farthest corner from Breton Islands and can be reached by a ferry ride from Le Conquet. This exquisite island has a special mention in the pages of history as it is the only island of Brittany which has an English name called Ushant. Apart from this, the exotic breed of Ouessant sheep which was once popular in Northern Europe remains native to this island. Along with the major island of Molène, Ouessant consists of ten islets and seven more tiny landmasses, all of which has been marked as a biosphere reserve by the UNESCO.

3. Île de Noirmoutier

Emerging as one of the most easily accessible Brittany island in France, the erotic island sojourning in the arms of Vendée, in Pays de la Loire, in the territory of Noirmoutier, is connected to the city by an iron bridge since the year 1971. Besides, Noirmoutier is also connected by the cobbled pathways of Le Gois. Such ease of communication calls for several teen-getaways to the campsite in the beach, who gather to witness an incomparable view of the sunset. Though divided into l’Épine, la Guérinière, Barbâtre, and Noirmoutier-en-l’Île, the famous island of Noirmoutier has earned global recognition because of the availability of fine sea salt and La Bonnotte potatoes, the costliest potato in the world. 

4. Île de Batz

A ferry ride from the western sleeve of Roscoff takes the tourists to Finistère situated across the other side of Brittany coast. Flaunting a population of 550, Batz occupies an area of 3 and is flattered by the mild Mediterranean climate. The diamond white beaches, glistening under the sun, often disturbed by the blooming exotic plants, sums up for a picturesque scenery that remains distinct in the memories for long. The islands, though divided by water currents during high tide, seem to be connected by the San dunes during low tides creating the illusion of a miraculous pathway. The island is furnished with 30 farms that grow pure vegetables whereas the Jardin Georges Delaselle is known to house a total of 2000 exotic plant species.

5. Île de Bréhat

Right across the Côtes-d’Armor shores of Brittany, in close vicinity of the La Manche or the English Channel lies the exquisite island of Île de Bréhat. A ferry ride starting from the Pointe de l’Arcouest which is situated at the northern province of Paimpol brings the tourists close to this heaven's treat. Encompassing as small as 3 sq. km in the area, this gorgeous archipelago is composed of several tiny landmasses and two distinct islands which can be distinguished only during the low tides. To serve the population of 400, Île de Bréhat is blessed with the fertile water of Atlantic via the Gulf Stream. Tourists often scale the interiors by foot or hire a bike and get dumbstruck by the beauty of Hydrangeas, Fig, Eucalyptus, Mimosa as well as Palm trees. This tiny Island of Flowers is decorated by the scenic pink granite rocks which leads the way to the historic ruins like St-Michel chapel, Paon lighthouse, and Birlot windmill. After strolling on the pristine beach of Guerzido, tourists make a mandatory visit to the Vauban fort to witness the Verreries glassworks. 

6. Ile de Groix 

Owning a significant number of population within its territory, the Ile de Groix located off the Morbihan Coast is graced by the crystal waters of the Atlantic and can be accessed by ferry rides from Lorient. The island is divided into several towns, frequently interrupted by hilly ranges and caves. Though residential hotels have been established in Port-Tudy, tourists often day tour to the La Bourg square to visit cafes and shops and soak in the essence of this island. Groix had been one of the major tuna fishing hubs in France, and a large tuna sculpture can be spotted on the tip of the Church situated here. Besides offering a range of water activities in the lap of Les Grands Sables, tourists are also acknowledged with the 60 mineral reserves found here.

7. Île d’Oléron

Keeping Corsica at the first position, the Oléron is rated as the second largest island and is connected by the third longest bridge in France. Visitors willing to relish on the lip-smacking oyster dishes mandatorily pay a visit to this beautiful island. Besides, the island also offers a range of indulging activities like horseriding, camping, and watersports. It is thoroughly facilitated with luxury hotels and well-furnished restaurants that serve delicious French cuisines and seafood. Visitors might either want to schedule day trips to the eight communes situated here or might also sail to the Fort Boyard from the Boyardville town. 

8. Île d’Yeu

Accessed via ferry rides either from the port of St Gilles Croix de Vie or Fromentine, the beautiful island encloses the contrasting hues of rocky cliffs, pristine white beaches, often dangerous sand dunes, narrow islets scattered by hydrangeas and colorful residential which makes up for a psychedelic view altogether. Tourists landing within its circumference often gather around the La Meule and Port-Joinville where fishermen often return with cart-loaded tuna fishes. Visitors can either rent touring bikes or set up a camp and relish into the divine harbor cafes situated here. With sightseeing spots like ancient churches, megalithic dolmens and menhirs and the availability of exquisite hotels, people touring France often seek an escape from the hustle-bustle in this quiet island off the Vendée shore.

9. Îles d’Hyères

Soothed by the cool breeze of Mediterranean, this psychedelic island, situated near to Var region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, can be accessed by a ferry ride from Giens. Divided into the Levant, Port Cros and Porquerolles which marks the western end of the island, Hyères has evolved as a beautiful conjecture of pristine sea beaches and rocky hill ranges. A huge number of exotic plants and migratory birds are known to find a home in this extravagantly rocky terrain, owing to which a large portion of this island has been taken over by the Port-Cros national park. Tourists scheduling short trips to this stunning island often get flattered by the ‘le minimum’ native dress code and the local lifestyle of the people.

10. Île de Ré

Hiding in the coastline of Charente-Maritime in Poitou-Charentes, the huge chunk of the island is known to welcome modernity with grace. The island has remained a popular holiday spot for the English colonials who would often escape the mainland rush and fly off to La Rochelle via the Ryanair flights. Such historic connections to La Rochelle is used even on the present day by tourists planning a vacation to France. The island has unofficially declared St-Martin as its capital city and is divided into St-Martin-de-Ré towards the east and Ars-en-Ré towards the west. The two zones are further divided into a total of ten communes. Tourists seeking a weekend vacation here, often catch the glimpse of rich Parisian visitors, government, and administrative officials. Besides, the exhilarating Mediterranean climate along with light pastel-colored houses and exotic species of flora and fauna undoubtedly makes up for the best vacationing experience.

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