The 12 Most Beautiful French Islands To Visit – Natural Gateway France

Fancy a natural getaway? From Brittany to Polynesia, discover a selection of the most beautiful French islands!

The French coastline has many natural wonders to discover! Shredded coasts of the islands of Brittany, small fishing hamlets on the Atlantic coast, coves of turquoise water in the Mediterranean… 

On the islands, you can also see the diversity of landscapes of Hexagon! France also offers you many exotic island destinations thanks to its overseas territories. 

Moreover, each summer, the French islands see a drastic increase in tourists. We take you to meet some of the most beautiful French islands for a weekend, a stay, or a holiday!

The 12 Most Beautiful French Islands To Visit – Natural Gateway France

1. Bréhat

Most Beautiful French Islands To Visit - Natural Gateway France

This island of the Channel also called Enez Vriad in Breton, forms a magnificent archipelago accessible from Arcouest in the department of Côtes-d’Armor. 

Its landscapes of moors and pink granite alternate with green and flowery plains. This rural setting is a call to contemplation and calm. 

Cars are prohibited, making Bréhat a haven of peace that will delight lovers of nature and hiking.

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2. Ouessant

Still in Brittany but further west, Ouessant is the westernmost of the Metropolitan French Islands! The two strips of land that make up the island territory are off the coast of Finistère, near Brest. 

Within the Armorique Regional Natural Park, Ouessant is distinguished by its shredded cliffs, coves, lighthouses, and small chapels.

Subjected to strong winds and currents, it exudes a wild atmosphere. It is an ornithological reserve home to colonies of seals and meadows where sheep graze peacefully. 

As for activities, it promises beautiful walks on foot, by boat, or on horseback. Athletes will be able to participate in water sports such as diving, sea kayaking, or sailing. The visit to the lighthouses is also one of the must-sees!

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3. Port-Cros

In the Mediterranean Sea, the island of Port-Cros stands out from its neighbor Porquerolles by its calm and its ultra-reserved nature. Less touristy, it is accessed by boat from the cities of Hyères or Lavandou.

Port-Cros is also a national park, so you can only walk there. Fishing, picking, and camping are prohibited, and marked trails allow you to explore its treasures. 

Test the discovery of the island by boat with aquascape! This excursion is ideal for observing the marine environment from the portholes! Port, beaches, and diving spots complete the attractions of the island.

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4. Belle-Île-en-Mer

The direction is south of Brittany, in the Atlantic Ocean. Off Quiberon in Morbihan, visit the famous French island of Belle-île-en-Mer, sung by Laurent Voulzy. 

Its charming harbors and wild appearance have seduced many artists, and it is easy to understand why.

Aside from the natural beauty of the cliffs and golden beaches, the island has many other treasures to discover. Citadel built on the plans of Vauban, the lighthouse of Kervilahouen, house of Sarah Bernhardt, needles of Port Coton … 

Around these must-see places, you will also find many activities, exhibitions, and festivals, especially in the summer season.

To get to Belle-île-en-Mer, embark from Quiberon, Vannes, Port-Navalo, La Turballe or Le Croisic.

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5. Chausey Islands

The Norman archipelago of the Chausey Islands extends over 5,000 maritime ha and 365 islets at low tide! Suffice to say that this is a destination of choice for fishing and sailing enthusiasts in France.

The island territory is a nature reserve, making it a great place to observe seabirds. 

Did you know that the granite stones of the Chausey Islands were used to build Mont-Saint-Michel, Saint-Malo, and some sidewalks of Paris and London?

Homeport of the marine painter and navigator Marin Marie, the largest island of Chausey, houses his house, the first one you see when you disembark. 

In addition to this house, the lighthouses, and the semaphore to visit, you will have the opportunity to admire the white sand beaches and the unspoiled nature of this French island. 

You will probably see dolphins during the crossing from Granville to Normandy with some luck!

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6. Corsica

The undeniable star of the French islands of the Mediterranean, Corsica seduces many French and foreign tourists. 

It must be said that the island is large and diverse. Paradisiacal beaches, shredded peaks, maquis, perched villages, local cuisine… Corsica is as conducive to trips for two as it is to family stays!

On the trip: idleness on the beaches of the Gulf of Ajaccio, hikes near the Bavella pass, tasting of cheese and charcuterie specialties… A few hours by boat from Marseille, Nice, or Toulon, you will dive with delight into the Corsican culture and its preserved nature.

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7. Porquerolles

Porquerolles is the best known of the Hyères islands but also one of the most famous French islands. Renowned for its paradisiacal beaches, it is the delight of scuba diving and snorkeling practitioners. Nearly 180 species of fish live in its marine park.

Hikers also enjoy the many marked trails in Port-Cros National Park. Vineyards and flowery natural areas complete the landscape of this island, accessible in just twenty minutes from the peninsula of Giens in the Var.

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8. Sein Island

In the Iroise Sea, in the Atlantic Ocean, this two-kilometer-long island is five kilometers from the Pointe du Raz in Brittany. Legend has it that the mythical city of the kingdom of Ys is located here, engulfed in the Bay of Audierne.

We walk here on foot, between port, small beaches, coves, and lighthouses … Two menhirs are to be seen, near the moors and fields surrounded by low walls. 

The wind sweeps the earth, and the tides punctuate the possibilities of walks. Don’t forget to check the tide times, so you don’t get trapped!

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9. Yeu Island

10 km long, the Île d’Yeu offers magnificent landscapes of dunes, grass, and rock off the coast of the Vendée. There are many things to see and do on the island, but the Grand Phare and the Old Castle are a must-see. 

The fortress stands on a rock surrounded by the sea, plunging the visitor into a wild and shredded atmosphere.

Small churches and chapels, markets, and fishing ports can also be discovered on foot or by bike. 

On the other hand, water activities are varied, ranging from diving and sailing to kayaking, fishing, surfing, or paddleboarding.

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10. Huahine Island – French Polynesia

Head to French Polynesia, in the Archipelago of the Society, to discover one of the most scenic French islands… 

If the names of Bora-Bora, Tahiti, or Moorea make you dream, you will be more than conquered by Huahine. 

Less touristy than its neighbors, it is part of the Leeward Islands, located 175 kilometers from Tahiti. They are two islands connected by a dot.

The seabeds beneath turquoise bays and lagoons are extraordinary. From its archaeological remains, you can learn many things about Tahiti’s history and the Polynesian archipelago. 

The island lives on vanilla, its tropical fruits, and peaches. Discover its specialties by talking to the locals.

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11. Les Saintes – Guadeloupe

A few minutes from Guadeloupe, the Saintes archipelago will instantly make you forget about stress and pollution. Its two small islands, Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas, and its seven uninhabited isles make up a beautiful, calm natural landscape.

Colorful fishermen’s houses, villages that live to the rhythm of the ambient heat, beautiful Creole villas with floors… No doubt, you are here in the heart of the West Indies and very close to the sea. 

Put on a mask and snorkel fins and admire the underwater life. Then rest on one of the dream beaches, such as Pompière. Fort Napoleon is also worth a visit. 

There are also plenty of walks in the villages and hikes in the middle of nature to keep you occupied on one of the most beautiful French islands.

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12. Isle of Pines – New Caledonia

On the other side of the world, one of the most picturesque French overseas islands is the Isle of Pines. Located in the south of New Caledonia, it is emblematic of this wonderful Pacific archipelago. 

Turquoise lagoon lined with white sand beaches owes its name to the columnar pines erected along its coastline.

The flagship activity is to observe the multicolored fish that evolve in numbers around the coral rocks. 

Enjoying a dish of lobsters with your feet in the sand or sailing in an outrigger canoe are also part of the unforgettable experiences of this postcard destination.

The most beautiful islands in France are now known to you! Have you ever visited one of them? Tell us in the comments!


Alfred is the author behind the Travelvibe travel blog and is always searching for the quieter, less-visited corners of the world.

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