A small Breton island
The legendary île de Sein
The Île de Sein gets its name from an ancient myth concerning nine priestesses - the Cènes - who could make the waves rise and fall. It’s no surprise that this otherworldly island is so closely bound with myth and legend, plunging you into the heart of shipwrecks.
At the end of the world
Come to Sainte Evette harbour and climb aboard the boat then… breathe. Look around as you pass the vast granite cliffs, the hidden beaches and tiny harbours. Through the currents of the Raz, you’ll glide by mythical lighthouses and start to feel that the ocean is yours alone. On the Île de Sein, there are no cars and nature reigns supreme: it’s a magical retreat, far from everything.
The boat companies
L'Île de Sein, only just above the waves
Recognised as a Heritage Port in 2011, this tiny island is part of the Iroise Natural Marine Park. Covering only 0.58km² it sits an average of 1.5m above the waves. From the mainland, you sometimes feel that you could reach out your hand and touch the island; on other days, it appears to be nothing but a mirage.
The island was created 120,000 years ago when the very end of the Breton coast fell into the sea but this small chunk of land kept it head above water - just! It is now the highest part of the stretch of land known as the Chaussée de Sein that extends 32km under the waves, including some 2,000 rocks that are revealed with every low tide.
The brutal winds and seaspray have shaped the island throughout the centuries: it is treeless and flat, clothed in heather, criss-crossed with low stone walls and smooth pebbles. This is a wild landscape for seafarers, where gulls glide over strange prehistoric stones, houses crowd together and - right at the end - a solitary lighthouse stands guard.
Visit the Île de Sein
Would you like a guided tour to learn about the history, flora and fauna of this fascinating island?
Places to visit
- The former sailors’ shelter and the lifeboat station
- Goulenez Lighthouse: 360 steps rewarded by a stunning, 360° view!