Ile d'Yeu, Pays de la Loire: tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Ile d'Yeu in Vendee

Visit Ile d'Yeu (Pays de la Loire, France)

MAP & PLACES TO VISIT

The Ile d'Yeu is an island off the coast from Saint-Jean-de-Monts, in the Vendée department of western France. About 20 kilometres off the mainland, the island is about eight kilometres long and four kilometres wide.

Exploring Ile d'Yeu

Broadly speaking, the towns, villages and gently sloping beaches are on the north coast of the Ile d'Yeu and the south coast is more rocky - although beaches can still be found here in a couple of places.

medieval castle on Ile d'Yeu

Most visits will begin in Port Joinville on the north coast of the island, since that is the arrival point for ferries. Arriving is among the highlights as you pull into the small harbour of Port Joinville full of fishing boats and surrounded by traditional whitewashed houses.

The streets of Port Joinville are pleasant to stroll around, and you can also visit one of the small mueums: one is dedicated to lifesaving and the other to the local fishing industry.

Most visitors will circummnavigate the island (by foot or bike) stopping at some of the lovely viewpoints along the way - especially along the rockier southern coast - and perhaps taking a pause at the Plage des Vieilles to the south-east of Ile d'Yeu.

The most scenic coastline, to the south-west, is known as the Cote Sauvage and is much more like the coastlines we expect to see in Brittany than in Vendée.

The natural environment on the Ile d'Yeu is also very varied, with the southern side of the island rather barren but woodlands behind the beaches to the north-east, which is more sheltered. Keep your eyes open for some of the unusual orchids that grow on the island and the many different types of bird that enjoy this habitat.

Along the southern coast you will also see the substantial ruins of a 14th century castle and the small natural harbour at Port de la Meule, the 19th century citadel (the Fort de Pierre-Levée) and several prehistoric dolmen, and also a 29 metre high lighthouse.

You should also visit the small traditional village of Saint-Sauveur towards the centre of the island before heading back to the north coast and the chance to spend more time on one of the islands clean sandy beaches.

Getting to Ile d'Yeu and getting around

There are ferry services to the island from two places on the mainland: Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie (only during the summer months), and Port Fromentine at the base of the island of Noirmoutier.

Once on the island you can explore on foot, or you might like to think about hiring a bike, much our favourite way to explore. An efficient bus service operates on Ile d'Yeu and taxis are also available.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Vendee guide and the Pays de la Loire guide.

See also:

Map of Ile d'Yeu and places to visit

Visit near Ile d'Yeu with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Vendee

Address: Ile-d'Yeu, Sables d'Olonne, Vendee, Pays de la Loire, 85350, France || GPS: latitude 46.725, longitude -2.347222

Plan your visit to Ile d'Yeu, Pays de la Loire

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Fort de Pierre-Levée: site of natural beauty
  • Port-Joinville: site of natural beauty
  • Phare de l'île d'Yeu: site of natural beauty (3km)
  • Vieux-château de l'Île d'Yeu: site of natural beauty (3km)
  • Aérodrome de L'Île-d'Yeu: site of natural beauty (3km)
  • Phare de la Pointe des Corbeaux: site of natural beauty (6km)
  • Notre-Dame-de-Monts: ville fleurie 4* (20km)
  • Saint-Jean-de-Monts: ville fleurie 4* (23km)

The French version of this page is at Ile d'Yeu (Francais)