Beautiful offshore island
Daily car ferries from Quiberon. Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV’s ambitious superintendant of finances, once owned this beautiful island a 45-minute boat trip from Quiberon. Having incurred the wrath of his master, the importunate Fouquet was snatched by d’Artagnan (of Musketeers fame), and sentenced to life imprisonment before he could take refuge behind the massive star-shaped ramparts of the fortress overlooking the port.
Le Palais is the main town, and you shouldn’t miss a free stroll around the fortified Citadelle. A prison until 1961, it now houses a local history museum. During the 19thC, the island was a favoured retreat of artists and literati from Monet to Sarah Bernhardt, who has a fort named after her at Pointe des Poulains. To get to grips with the scenery, there are bikes and mopeds for hire at the port, and a footpath picks its way around Belle-lle’s northwestern Côte Sauvage. The heart of the island is farmland with clusters of little whitewashed cottages, and the protected east coast offers a couple of fine beaches.
If you are staying on the island, the friendly little port. of Sauzon is an alternative to le Palais, but a word of warning: at the height of the summer season Belle-lle’s population quadruples in size and accommodation is scarce; off-season most hotels and restaurants are closed.
Find more in: Beach & seaside