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La pointe du Raz

La Pointe du Raz

La Pointe du Raz

A real picture postcard view of Brittany, indeed debatably its most emblematic sight, the 70 metre high rocky headland of La Pointe du Raz dominates the coastline. The shape of the Ile de Sein, an island directly offshore, is visible on the horizon when the weather is fair.

Le Raz de Sein

The stretch of sea between the two is known as the Raz de Sein; dotted with rocks, it is feared by sailors. This point bears the brunt of many of a storm, and Trespassers’ Bay heading north towards the Pointe du Van headland is aptly named, as shipwrecks have been frequent in this area over the ages.

La pointe du Raz   La pointe du Raz

La Pointe du Raz has a rare beauty when swept by tumultuous winds from the ocean, a spectacle showing nature’s wild side. Improvements have recently been made and it is now a protected site, with 800 metres to walk from the (paying) car park to reach the famous statue ‘La Vierge de  Naufragés’ (Virgin of the Shipwrecked) and the semaphore station, which overlook the most westerly point in France.

La Pointe du Raz

La pointe du Raz

La Vierge des Naufragés

La Vierge des Naufragés   La Vierge des Naufragés

Here the jagged rocks and steep cliffs, battered by the waves, bear witness to the fierceness of the elements. La Pointe du Van is just as impressive, with the little chapel of Saint-They as the modest but magnificent focal point, standing solitary and poignant in the landscape.

Chapelle, baie des Trépassés

La pointe du Van   La pointe du Van

‘La Phare de la Vieille’ and ‘La Phare de Tévennec’ are two lighthouses, now uninhabited, which sit bravely and proudly on two outcrops just off the coast.

La Pointe du Raz

La baie des Trépassés

Baie des Trépassés

Beyond these sits the Ile de Sein, easily visible on clear days, and separated from the Pointe du Raz by a strait traversed by violent currents – hence the name, as ‘raz’ is a Breton word meaning current or undertow.

At the extreme west of France, this rocky spur of land, 72 metres above sea level, resembles the prow of a boat advancing into the sea (this body of water is known as the Iroise sea) and makes for a unique and majestic sight. Its wild beauty has inspired numerous writers and painters who, by their works, have contributed to the myth and meaning of this place which has so marked the collective memory.

Le sémaphore de la Pointe du Raz  Le sémaphore de la Pointe du Raz

Every year, close to a million people come to admire the splendid panorama of the Pointe du Raz, in all weathers, as it is always “magical”. It is one of those places which make Brittany so special in offering visitors a true spectacle of nature.

La pointe du Raz

Bruyères à la Pointe du Raz   Promontoire à la Pointe du Raz

Lande de la Pointe du Raz

In 1989 the French state designated this area a major national site, encompassing the Pointe du Raz, Trespassers’ Bay and the Pointe du Van. However such large numbers of visitors to this world renowned site have made it necessary to implement rigorous environmental protection measures, notably restoring the vegetal cover, which is principally heather. A huge rehabilitation programme has been realised, aimed at protecting the site but also at welcoming visitors more ably.

Accueil de la Pointe du Raz  Musée de la Pointe du Raz

You will now find, therefore, a developed area with paying car park, shops and refreshments, and a museum, but all this has been integrated sensitively into the natural environment and access to the site itself is solely on foot – 800 metres of footpath and discovery towards the very end of the earth…