The island of Yeu
The French island of Ile d’Yeu is renowned for its rugged unspoilt coastline and unique lifestyle. Only 10km long and 4km wide, the island, however has a rich cultural heritage dating back to prehistoric times, together with exceptional monuments dotted throughout the area. Some examples of which are the "Pierre tremblante" or the formidable "Vieux Chateau".
Ferries to Ile d’Yeu arrive at Port Joinville, a lively seaside resort and fishing port. The architectural style is more traditional in Saint Sauveur the ancient capital of the island.
Learning to enjoy the Ile d’Yeu’s way of life is quite simple. Early in the morning, head to the beach for a swim, then in the afternoon it’s time for shopping and finally at sunset an evening stroll! Living on this French island offers a rhythm of life where time doesn’t matter.
The French island of Ile d’Yeu, an unspoilt wild coastline
The untamed rugged coastline of Ile d’Yeu reminds us of the Celtic landscapes of Scotland, dotted with many coves and rocky outcrops. Countless inlets with fine sandy beaches nestle amidst the cliffs such as Belle Maison, Anse des Fontaines, Les Sabias (a tiny beach with fishermen's huts) to mention a few. L’Ile d’Yeu‘s well-known Port de la Meule is a natural haven providing shelter for passing boats. It sits snugly into the landscape and is overlooked by the iconic chapel of Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle which stands proudly on the coast.
The beaches of Ile d’Yeu, elegant dunes scattered along the coast
L’Ile d’Yeu coast becomes gentler after la Pointe des Corbeaux, introducing a series of beautiful beaches bordered by marine pines and holly oak forests. Nearby, a network of wetlands is home to many protected bird species. Rocky outcrops break the succession of beaches between Marais Salé and Ker Châlon.
The Pointe du But – outstanding views and sunsets on Ile d’Yeu
On the southwest side of Ile d’Yeu, the Pointe du But is a wild, preserved part of the island, full of history and legends and well known for its magnificent sunsets. Three orientation tables allow you to discover this magical spot of Ile d‘Yeu.
Did you know?
The furthermost island from the west coast of France is Ile d’Yeu. It takes 30 to 35 minutes to reach the island by boat from Fromentine (the nearest ferry port). It is 23 km² in size ; to visit the entire island, you will cover around 40 km.
The reason why Ile d’Yeu could be one of the best islands in France:
The Vieux Château of Ile d’Yeu- a stunning 14th century medieval fortress
The Vieux Chateau of Ile d’Yeu is a wonderful example of 14th century feudal architecture, having protected its islanders from repeated attacks and invaders for nearly three centuries. The Vieux chateau clings majestically to a very steep rocky headland and evokes even more mystical charm when the sea surrounds it like a natural moat.
Port Joinville – Ile d’Yeu main fishing port and seaside village
Boats from the mainland arrive at Port Joinville, which is the capital of Ile d’Yeu. Various shops and activities make it a pleasant place for a stroll.
Port Joinville, has a marina, with over 600 berths which is accessible all year round in addition to its lively fishing port. At one time, Port Joinville was the leading tuna fishing port on the west coast of France. Today, fishing still plays a major part in port’s daily activities with various fish being caught: monkfish, hake and sole to mention just a few.
Saint Sauveur – A typical village with traditional island architecture
Saint Sauveur was once the capital of Ile d’Yeu and has preserved a traditional island architecture. The remarkable Romanesque church is surrounded by small white houses with brightly coloured shutters, blue being the dominate shade. Quaint narrow streets zigzag in various directions, allowing you to explore the entire village.
The Saint Sauveur market is an essential part of the islanders’ way of life. Local producers offer a wide range of products and in doing so present their originality and savoir faire. Your taste buds will be in for a treat.
Fort de Pierre Levée – a 19th century military fortress
The Fort de Pierre Levée was built on a site of a “standing stone” hence the name “Pierre Levée” between 1858 and 1866. Its main purpose was to protect Ile d’Yeu, but quickly became a state prison and later an army barracks.
L’Ile d'Yeu’s lighthouse The Grand Phare - 20th century monument open to visitors
Ile d’Yeu’s lighthouse, the "Grand Phare" was built in 1829 after an urgent demand from the maritime community following numerous shipwrecks in the area. The original lighthouse of 29m high, was fuelled by oil and it wasn’t until 1895 that it was electrified. Destroyed in 1944 by the Germans, it was replaced in 1951 by a new more modern lighthouse, thus helping to secure navigation south of the Loire. The Grand Phare lighthouse is 41m high and towers, some 56m above the sea level. Its white glowing beam is visible up to 30 miles off shore.
Another lighthouse on Ile d’Yeu : The Pointe des Corbeaux beacon is located at the southeast end of the island. It is 19m high and has a distinctive art Deco style.
Did you know?
The name “Yeu” comes from “Oya” meaning island. So l’ile d’Yeu literally signifies, “the island of the land surrounded by water”. And no, we aren’t waffling?
By helicopter or ferry to Ile d’Yeu, it’s Hobson’s choice when getting to this french island
ARRIVING BY FERRY TO ILE D'YEU
- Compagnie Yeu Continent
T.: +33 (0)2 51 49 59 69
Crossings all year round from Fromentine
NGV catamarans crossing 30 minutes
- Compagnie Vendéenne
Phone: +33 (0)0.825.139.085 (0.15 € TTC/min.)
Service for individuals: firstname.lastname@example.org
Service for groups: email@example.com
Arriving from Fromentine & Saint Gilles Croix de Vie
The crossing takes roughly 45 minutes when leaving from Fromentine – April to November
Crossings from Saint Gilles Croix de Vie take 1 hour - April to September
Arriving from Barbâtre & Ile de Noirmoutier
Crossing between 45 and 75 minutes - in July and August
ARRIVING BY AIR TO ILE D'YEU
- Oya Vendée Hélicoptères
Phone: +33 (0)2.51.49.01.01
Arriving from La Barre de Monts
A link between La Barre de Monts and Ile d’Yeu in less than 10 minutes