Île aux Moines

The Golfe du Morbihan, off the southern coast of Brittany, is studded with islands – 42 to be exact. The largest of which is the Île aux Moines (Monks’ Island).

Having glimpsed the island a few days earlier from the Pointe d’Arradon (Brittany’s riviera, which is home to some very posh houses), we were keen to spend the day exploring the almost-enclosed bay and its largest island.

The harbour at Larmor-Baden

We set off for the small, picturesque port of Larmor-Baden (above) shortly after breakfast. There we bought our tickets for the 90-minute boat ride around the gulf, which would drop us off on the Île aux Moines for some two-and-a-half hours.

The boat trip around the bay was pleasant and relaxing, although I couldn’t understand much of the long commentary.

Island in the Golfe du Morbihan

The most impressive sight we passed was the huge, 6m-high megalithic tomb on the Île Gavrinis (above). The Cairn de Gavrinis is around 6,000 years old and the enormous structure made quite an impression as we sailed past.

Arriving on the Île aux Moines, we stopped off at a café on the windy shorefront for a welcome hot chocolate, before popping inside the tourist information centre to pick up a map of the island.

The 6km-long, 3km-wide island has a number of trails, marked by coloured markers, that you can follow on foot or by bike (you can hire a bike from one of the cycle hire firms along the shorefront).

Harbour on the Île aux Moines

We decided to follow the blue trail, which takes you to the south of the island, as we were keen to see the cromlech at Kergonan, which is the largest cromlech in France.

It didn’t take long to walk to Kergonan, meandering along the paths, past the attractive houses dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Cromlech at Kergonan on the Île aux Moines

I was a little underwhelmed by the cromlech, which was essentially a large, partial stone circle in a field (above) and a largish menhir (standing stone) a little further around the corner (below).

It was fine, but nowhere near as impressive as the rows of standing stones at Kermario.

The menhir (standing stone) at Kergonan

Following the blue trail back to the town, we stopped for lunch at a friendly restaurant, where I had a wonderful galette with cheese, an egg, cured ham, tomato and salad.

We then spent some time ambling around the town and the port, admiring the lovely old houses and the views over the gulf.

The harbour on the Île aux Moines

I enjoyed our trip to the Île aux Moines, but in hindsight I’d have liked to have spent longer there. There was a lot to see and two-and-a-half hours simply wasn’t long enough to see it all on foot and squeeze in a bite to eat.

Ideally, I’d like to have spent the whole day there and hired bikes to see as much as possible. The island’s quite small, so you could easily see all there is to see in one day by bike.

6 thoughts on “Île aux Moines

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    1. Hello! I’m not sure what the island’s inhabitants do for a living. There were shops, cafes and restaurants on the island so preumably some will work in the retail and hospitality industry. We passed a school on our walk, so I’d guess the children go to school on the island.

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    1. A boat ride around the gulf is probably the best way to see the many islands that dot the coast as you get an overview of the different islands and all there is to see. The Ile aux Moines is beautiful and I took far too many photos. It’s a wonderful place for a day trip.

      Liked by 1 person

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