Ile Molene and Ouessant
Visit Ile Molene and Ouessant (Brittany, France)
Molene is a small island - or rather part of a group called the Molene Archipelago - off the far western tip of Brittany. Ouessant Island is slightly further west, and is larger than Molene. The islands are the only two inhabited in the group, which is part of the Parc Régional d'Armorique.
The islands are reached by ferry from Le Conquet or Brest. At up to 20km from the French mainland, neither of the islands seem a particularly tempting place to live, but between them they do have a few hundred brave inhabitants.
It is above all the diversity of wildlife that makes the Ouessant and Molene group if islands remarkable - this wind and sea battered archipelago of islands and islets has been listed as a World Biosphere Reserve for its plant and animal life.
Molene Island and Archipelago
Heading east to west from Le Conquet on the mainland the archipelago includes Ile de Beniguet, Ile de Quemenes, Ile de Trielen, Ile de Molene, Ile de Banalec and Ile de Bannec.
A walk around Molene island - which covers less than 1 square kilometre, but is the largest in the group, doesn't take long and is well worth doing, both to appreciate the island itself, and for views out across the other islands in the group. It is also possible to take a boat trip around the coast.
There are no cars on the island, electricity is generated on the island itself, and rainwater is retained for use by the population.
The 'Museum of Drummond Castle' on the island commemorates the efforts of the islanders to help the sinking ship of that name in 1896. There is also an exhibition of the natural history of the Ouessant islands.
Also rather barren at first glance, Ouessant is substantially larger than Molene, at 8 kilometres by 4 kilometres, and a little further to the west. The main 'monument' on the island is the Church of Saint-Pol Aurélien, at Lampaul whcih is the only town of note on the island, and you can also see various small chapels and lighthouses.
Visitors come to Ouessant for the feeling of being in the last outpost of France, in a fascinatingly wild environment. There are lots of walks and paths around the island which, remarkably given its location, attracts more than 10,000 visitors each year.
The amazing scenery, rock formations, and constant battle with the sea make it a particularly interesting place to spend some time.
There are a few lighthouses - including Stiff Lighthouse, constructed in 1669, and Créac'h Lighthouse, apparently the most powerful in the world and which contains a small museum explaining the construction of lighthouses over the centuries.
Photos taken within 10 km
Address: Ile Molene, Finistere, Brittany || GPS: latitude 48.397, longitude -4.955
Map of Ile Molene and Ouessant & places nearby
Highlights close by
Le Conquet 14km
See lots more places to visit nearby and a more detailed map at places near Ile Molene and Ouessant.
See Brittany and Finistere (the region and department for Ile Molene and Ouessant) for more travel ideas...
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Ile Molene and Ouessant, France
- Saint-Renan - recommended detour (25km)
- Baie de Douarnenez - site of natural beauty (29km)
- Pointe de Penhir - site of natural beauty (29km)
- Camaret-sur-Mer tour dorée (Vauban fortifications) - heritage site (30km)
- Conservatoire botanique du Stangalac'h - remarkable garden (35km)
- Brest - ville fleurie 4* (35km)
- Océanopolis - aquarium (38km)
- Pointe du Raz - grand site of france (43km)
- Ile-de-Sein - most beautiful village (43km)
The French version of this page is at Ile Molene and Ouessant (Francais)