Camaret, Brittany: tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Camaret in Finistere

Visit Camaret (Brittany, France)

MAP & PLACES TO VISIT

Camaret is an active fishing port (crayfish is the main catch) on a small peninsula jutting out to the far west of Finistere (Brittany) beyond Crozon and on the Crozon peninsula.

The town has a very different nature according to when you visit, being quiet for much of the year then being transformed into a bustling local centre during the summer as the pleasure ports fill with boats, the coaches start to arrive, and holidaymakers fill the restaurants around the harbour.

Exploring Camaret

Although many visitors come here for the beaches and the scenic coastal scenery, the town itself is a traditional fishing village with an active port and is pleasant to explore, with a few interesting highlights.

Vauban Tower

view across to Camaret-sur-Mer

First among these is the the Vauban Tower, standing in the port on a substantial platform surrounded by a moat. The tower itself is an octagonal 17th century defensive tower built in red brick.

Unusually for such a recent fort the walls are pierced by narrow slits through which the troops could fire - more reminiscent of medieval castles than modern warfare techniques. The tower is open to the public (entrance charge 3 euros at the time of our visit)

(Vauban was the leading military engineer at that time and there are legacies in the form of his defences in many areas of France, and these are now jointly listed as a UNESCO protected series of monuments.)

Chapel of Notre-dame of Rocamadour

Adjacent to the Vauban tower and still in the port area, and constructed from light yellow stone (unusual in Brittany where we expect to see grey granite buildings) is the 17th century Chapel of Notre-Dame-of-Rocamadour.

You will see that the top of the steeple is missing - it was knocked off by an cannon fired by the English in a battle here in 1694. Step inside and you will see the nautical theme of the chapel - you could almost be inside the hull of an upturned boat.

Prehistoric monuments

No visit to Brittany is complete without seeing some of the prehistoric dolmen and standing stones, and Camaret is no different.

Follow the road towards the Pointe de Pen Hir to see the 'Alignments of Lagatjar', an impressive array of 65 menhirs lined up towards the sea. No one can explain the reason for this formation, although it has been speculated that it has an astronomical explanation.

An impressive site - but it is known that originally there were many hundred of the stones here, most lost with the passage of time and vandalism over the centuries.

Camaret beaches

headland cliffs at Camaret-sur-Mer

Of course, every visitor to Camaret will sooner or later want to spend time at the beach, and there is a good choice available in the vicinity, with fine sandy beaches often having rugged cliffs or sand dunes as a perfect backdrop.

The beach closest to the town was rather busy when we visited but it was easy to find a more peaceful spot on one of the other beaches nearby.

Other highlights

In the town itself, most life is focussed along the harbour and quays. There are a wide range of art galleries (most around Place Saint Thomas in the town centre), usually featuring paintings by artists living locally and inspired by the scenic surroundings, and a large number of restaurants, including plenty of sea food restaurants and creperies, the Brittany speciality.

There is also a small museum in the port area explaining the maritime history of Camaret.

Scenery around Camaret

There are plenty of places on the Finistere coast nearby with stunning views. One in particular is the Pointe de Pen-Hir, where small peninsulas jut out to sea and a series of dramatic rocks break from the water (these are called 'the pile of peas' for reasons that aren't at all clear to me - they look more like rocks than peas...). Follow a section of the coastal path to make the most of the views.

While you are here you will also want to explore the other highlights of the Crozon peninsula.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Finistere guide and the Brittany guide.

See also:

Map of Camaret and places to visit

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Address: Camaret-sur-Mer, Crozon, Châteaulin, Finistere, Brittany, 29570, France || GPS: latitude 48.276, longitude -4.595

Plan your visit to Camaret, Brittany

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Camaret-sur-Mer tour dorée (Vauban fortifications): heritage site
  • Pointe de Penhir: site of natural beauty (4km)
  • Baie de Douarnenez: site of natural beauty (4km)
  • Conservatoire botanique du Stangalac'h: remarkable garden (15km)
  • Brest: ville fleurie 4* (15km)
  • Presqu'île de Kermorvan: site of natural beauty (17km)
  • Océanopolis: aquarium (17km)
  • Saint-Renan: recommended detour (17km)
  • Plougastel-Daoulas: enclos-paroissial (20km)
  • Argol: enclos-paroissial (21km)

The French version of this page is at Camaret (Francais)