If you asked me what I think is the most beautiful feeling in life, I would tell you that it is what I feel when I’m home. Personally, I have never experienced anything as heartwarming as that, and I think that if we were to put genuine love into words then “welcome home” would be probably the best option.
That’s why I love lighthouses, for the metaphor they represent, the idea that they are not just shining a light but rather shining a light for whom may need it. I love them for the landscape too. I love them because they bring people home by being themselves home to light.
Why am I saying that? Well, because the trip I’m going to tell you about was very closely connected to my felling of home and my love for lighthouses. I did an incredible toad trip to some of the most beautiful lighthouses in the French regions of Normandie and Bretagne! Here are 7 picturesque lighthouses you must add to your itinerary.
1) Le phare de l’île Vierge
This is one of the tallest lighthouses in the world, and the tallest one in Europe (82.5 m). As it’s at 1.5 km from the coast, you can actually only reach it by boat, but I can assure you that looking at it from the coast of Plouguerneau gives you an idea of how big it is. It’ll leave you speechless.
My Top Tip: If you want to stay in the hotel in front of the lighthouse, book it well in advance!
2) Phare de Ploumanac’h sur la Côte de Granit Rose
On your way to this lighthouse, I suggest you plan stop in Etretat, Honfleur, and the magical Mont Saint-Michel. This lighthouse is placed on the so called Pink Granite Coast – yes, the name reflects the actually pink rock here – and it takes about half an hour to get there by foot. I promise you won’t regret it – the views are worth the trek and indeed you won’t even realize you’re tired as the landscape is so surreal.
3) Phare de Fécamp
This lighthouse is only 14 m tall – so it’s not necessarily somewhere you would seek out to get amazing views from high up. However, what I like about this lighthouse is the rare chance to see authentic French daily life. You will hardly meet tourists here, but chances are that you’ll see French men silently fishing from the pier even during a rainy and very windy day!
My Top Tip: Leave your umbrella in the car, it would end up broken anyway. Put on a good waterproof jacket or take up the opportunity to dance in the rain!
4) Phare de Saint-Mathieu
This is not a particularly isolated lighthouse, so it can be hard to take a picture of. If you brought your camera, or simply want to take a picture for your memory, I would suggest to take a short walk along and down the cliffs in front of the lighthouse.
My Top Tip: If you are scared of heights, this may not be your favorite spot – however, the lighthouse has an exhibition inside, so you can learn about its history!
5) Phare du Petit Minou
This lighthouse, on the other hand, stands in a very isolated location, near Brest. There is a path leading up to the lighthouse, but I’d suggest you get a view on it from the beach instead! The sea is freezing though, so don’t expect anyone sunbathing here!
My Top Tip: Take your shoes off, take a deep breath and go for a relaxing walk listening to the sound of water – it will refresh both your feet and your mind.
6) Phare d’Eckmühl
Finally, it’s time to get the view we were so much waiting for! At Phare d’Eckmühl it is possible to go upstairs and see what the world looks like from the top of a lighthouse. The ticket is €2.50, but you will still have to climb 300 stairs to the top. But can you imagine the beautiful views from 56 meters above the sea?
My Top Tip: Make sure to check the opening times before you head out there – the lighthouse may not be open year-round!
7) Phare de Chassiron
After having a delicious croissant for breakfast on the beach of Carnac, we moved on to our final stop, the Chassiron lighthouse. There couldn’t have been a better way to end our journey. Phare de Chassiron is beautiful from the outside, but the view from the top is even better. The price of the ticket is a little higher (€3), but the number of steps is a little lower (224). As for the view – it is equally astonishing.
My Top Tip: To conclude this adventure, plan to stay at least one or two days in Ile d’Oleron. It is an oasis of tranquillity, which will give you the time you need before going back to your everyday life!
This is a guest post by Elisabetta Mannoni.
Elisabetta is a learning enthusiast. She’s a fan of Sundays, mountains, carbohydrates and foreign languages. She loves Italy as much as going to places she’s never been before. Join her adventures on her Instagram account