Brittany’s phares are more than coastal highlights

Pointe Saint Mathieu

Brittany has the world’s greatest concentration of lighthouses, with 27 classed as historic monuments. Most are in Finistère and eight are open to the public.

Tourism official Patricia Hamon from Brest Terres Océanes said each had its own story as the architecture is surprisingly varied. Even though built under extreme conditions for utilitarian purposes, aesthetics and fine detail still had a place.

The world’s first lighthouse is said to have been built by the Egyptians in 300BC on the Isle of Pharos, hence the name for lighthouse in French, phare.

Today, Brittany’s oldest existing light is the Phare du Stiff on Ile d’Ouessant which began working in 1700 when boats carrying Louis XIV’s soldiers to war left Brest by boat and needed guiding out to sea.

But as early as the 13th century monks at the Pointe Saint-Mathieu on the westernmost point of mainland France ...

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