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Cliffs and Coastal Points

Cliffs and Coastal Points

As we have a significant amount of maritime traffic and a large number of islands, reefs and coastal points, Finistère gives a fairly early warning of its coastline thanks to a chain of lighthouses, lights, semaphores and marker points. As of today, our coast is lined with 29 lighthouses, of which 11 are on land and 18 at sea or on islands.

Here’s an overview of some coastal points that you can visit:

The most famous: Pointe du Raz (Plogoff) and Pointe du Van (Cléden-Cap-Sizun)

On either side of the Baie des Trépassés (which aptly translates as ‘the Bay of the Departed’), these magnificent coastal points push into the sea, battered by the elements.

The Pointe du Van (65m above sea-level), topped by Saint-They chapel, is immediately impressive thanks to its wild appearance, great rocks and varied vegetation. The more jagged and more famous Pointe du Raz - with its steep, sharp 70-metre cliffs - bears witness to the strength of nature.

From here, you get a magnificent view over the waters to the Île de Sein (including the Phare de la Vieille) and not too far away stands the famous Ar Men lighthouse, well-known as the furthest lighthouse from the French coast – its construction took 34 years to complete.

Worth knowing: the GR34 coastal path, which is rather like a balcony over the sea, takes you from one point to the other, including some incredible views, showing the landscape from various ever-changing angles.

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Pointe Pontusval (Brignogan-Plages)

This picture-postcard landscape, much appreciated by photographers, is made up of a mass of rocks that have been shaped and polished by the sea, a beautiful sandy beach and an adorable lighthouse-keeper’s cottage with a slate roof.

Pointe de Corsen (Plouarzel)

This westernmost of Finistère’s coastal points, 31m above sea-level, marks the theoretical boundary between the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean, and offers a wide view of the Chenal du Four. Near the point you’ll find Trézien lighthouse, unusual for its location, which is nearly 1km inland.  Climb its 180 steps and be rewarded with an unforgettable view.

Pointe Saint Mathieu (Plougonvelin)

The majestic red-and-white colours of Saint-Mathieu’s lighthouse contrast starkly with the intriguing remains of its neighbouring Abbey. Fort de Bertheaume, a look-out fortified by French military architect Vauban, can be accessed by a bridge over the sea, and will leave you speechless. If you follow the coastal path with its sharply-dropping 20-metre cliffs, you’ll get a splendid view of Île Molène and Île d’Ouessant.

Don’t miss the chance to visit Saint-Mathieu lighthouse, every day in July and August.

Pointe de Pen-Hir (Camaret-sur-Mer)

Known as the most beautiful of the four coastal points on the Crozon Peninsula, Pen-Hir offers some spectacular 70-metre cliffs. The view to the Tas de Pois below is remarkable and the panorama, especially on a clear day, is striking: the impressive Tas de Pois just opposite, the Pointe du Raz to your left and Saint-Mathieu to your right.

Pointe de la Torche (Plomeur)

Heaven for surfers in Brittany this point, with its long beach utterly exposed to the swell, is also ideal for a truly bracing walk!  
A little further along, on the Pointe de Saint-Pierre in Penmarc’h, the impressive and elegant Eckmühl lighthouse (built from Kersanton granite) warns of a dangerous coast littered with reefs. The old lighthouse (built on the same model as the one on the Île de Batz near Roscoff) and the semaphore also stand in line here. The lighthouse can be visited every day from July to September (except in high winds).

Cap de la chèvre (Crozon)

This impressive sandstone spur pushes its way into the sea, protecting Douarnenez Bay, and, at 93 metres, has the honour of being the highest cliff in Finistère. Dotted with marine caves, it hides secret creeks of turquoise-blue waters.

Don’t miss: the coastal point and the so-called ‘castle’ of Dinan: a mass of granite that has been beaten by the waves to form a grand archway.

Pointe du Millier (Beuzec-cap-sizun)

This coastal point marks the entrance to Douarnenez Bay. The charming lighthouse-keeper’s cottage, perched on the very edge of the land, is unusual in that its design is that of a typical Breton house, which has simply been adapted to incorporate the lighthouse tower.

Pointe de Primel (Plougasnou)

A true natural look-out post, this coastal point has been a strategic surveillance spot since the time of the Vikings. It was formed by an irregular pile of beautiful red rocks. Follow the coastal path, which reveals a series of pleasant surprises. To the west, you’ll see the entrance to the wonderful port of Diben.

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