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Bretagne : Saint-Mathieu point, an emblematic site of Finistère

a semaphore monitors maritime trafic

Located at the West end of the Bretagne peninsula, only 30 minutes from Brest, the Saint-Mathieu point is one of Bretagne’s most beautiful spots and one of the Finistère’s unmissable sites.

Rédigé par Saliha Hadj-Djilani translated by Joséphine Foucher le Lundi 24 Octobre 2016

Saint-Mathieu point (photo: SHD)
Saint-Mathieu point (photo: SHD)
Located at the end of the Bretagne peninsula, a 30 minute drive from Brest, the Saint-Mathieu point was long believed to be the last bit of inhabited land and for a good reason! Here, a feeling of being completely alone with the sea reigns. The end of the world, of sorts.

The legend says in the 6th century, it is here that Saint Tanguy would have founded a monastery to atone for the murder of his sister… Today, only a few remnants of the abbey remain as it was successively looted in 1294, destroyed by the English in 1558, restored and then abandoned during the French Revolution.

However, we can still wander around the remnants of the abbey church dominating over the Goulet de Brest entrance.

Near these remnants, a semaphore monitors maritime traffic that departs from the Bay of Brest with the particularly wonderful lighthouse of the Saint-Mathieu point that stands 37 meters high.

Built in 1837, this beautiful white lighthouse has been listed as a historical monument since 2010. It can be visited all year long. On the ground floor there is a small museographical space that retraces the lighthouse’s story. But, more importantly, visitors can climb up the lighthouse where a guide welcomes them and offers information on the panoramic view.

“On clear days, we get a full view of the Finistère. The panoramic view from the Saint-Mathieu lighthouse is a great introduction to the region.

By starting here, we can understand everything. It is really worth the detour to climb up the lighthouse, in spite of the 163 steps!”
explains Vanessa Bris, manager and guide of the Saint-Mathieu Point lighthouse.

A few meters from the lighthouse, down below, there is a large granite stele, erected in 1927 in the memory of the sailors who died at sea.

The cenotaph, set up in the ancient small fort that was entirely revamped, offers an exhibition of seven hundred anonymous photos donated by families of the disappeared.

Practical Information

Saint-Mathieu Point Lighthouse (photo SHD)
Saint-Mathieu Point Lighthouse (photo SHD)
Saint-Mathieu Lighthouse
La Pointe Saint-Mathieu
29217 Plougonvelin
Phone: +33 (0)2 98 89 00 17

Lighthouse and museum rates: €3.50 12 years up, €1.50 between 6 and 11 y/o, free for children under 6, €2.50 reduced rate.

Brest Tourism Office

Finistère Tourism Website

Getting to Brest?


Several daily flights coming from Paris Charles-de-Gaulle or Paris-Orly and other major French cities.
Shuttles to the downtown area or to the tramway departure.


Paris/Brest in TGV: 4h.

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