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’Our weekend on Île Louët’ - an interview with a would-be Robinson Crusoe family

Once upon a time, there was a much-coveted island opposite Tahiti Beach... But there’s no need to cross the world to discover a little piece of paradise: head for Carantec, for a weekend on Île Louët!

In the heart of Morlaix Bay, just a few metres from the Château du Taureau, sits the lighthouse of Louët, lighting the way since 1857 to guide nearby ships through these perilous waters. Until the 1960s, when it was automated, many lighthouse-keepers and their families inhabited this rocky island 350 metres from Carantec’s coast.

In 2004, someone in Carantec’s town council had the bright idea of renovating the lighthouse keeper’s cottage and to open it up as a holiday home for rent. In 2008, the idea had become reality: the cottage has running water, electricity, beds for up to 10 people, a kitchen and bathroom facilities. The dwelling has been renovated in keeping with the spirit of the place: very simply!
Today, it’s our turn to play at being Robinson Crusoe: there’s no bridge to the mainland, no telephone, no hot running water; the toilets are in a fisherman’s lean-to, and the bathroom facilities are in a former pigsty so the comfort is minimal but relaxation is guaranteed!
From April to October, the gulls and other seabirds from the nearby ornithological reserve watch as their strange neighbours arrive and leave, for a stay of two days and two nights at the most.

(Very) real life!

On the patio, in the warmth of an April sun that’s still far from hot, and with an incomprabale view across the sea to the Pointe de Pen al Lann, we interviewed one of the first families to come and enjoy the island in 2011.
ile louet, Carantec, Bretagne
Could you quickly introduce yourselves?
’There are ten of us: children, parents, cousins, uncles and aunts... aged between 13 and 50 years old! We come from Ploneis in south Finistère, from Plabennec in the north and from Nantes. We met up in front of Carantec Tourist Office to pick up the keys!’

Why did you choose Carantec and Île Louët?
’We were looking for an unusual idea to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of our aunts. Brittany is a beautiful area and every day we discover a little more about our region.’

What was on the cards this weekend?
’We made the most of the island, time with the family, and above all the chance to take our time!
’Our schedule included a tour of the island when we arrived (including some tricky climbing for some of the older ones amongst us!). At the highest point of the island, you can see every last detail of the panoramic view over the Bay, from Roscoff to Plougasnou via the coasts of St Pol, Carantec, Plouézoc’h, the château du Taureau and the islands of the bird reserve - Clément, aged 15, captured it all on his camera - he’s our nominated photographer for the weekend!
’With this beautiful weather, we didn’t miss the chance to have a barbecue last night. We hunted for dry wood and finally came up trumps. During the evening there was even what felt like a private fireworks show just for us, as they were setting off fireworks in Carantec! We ended our evening very late - or very early, if you look at it like that - with a round of poker!
Today, the more courageous among us woke with a cold shower that has a magnificent view over the sea, breakfast on the patio where we were suddenly a tourist attraction for groups passing by on their way to the Château du Taureau, as the boat stopped in front of the island to give a little commentary. We got lots of jealous stares!
Apéritif and a cold supper, still in the company of our new friends the seagulls who are ready to swoop donw on the slightest crumb! Also, in the afternoon, there was a table-tennis tournament for the young ones while the adults lazed about for a change. To round off our stay, we all competed to write the best comments in the Visitor Book, before regretfully bidding farewell to our little island...’ .

What phrase would you choose to sum up your weekend?
’Crusoe and Man Friday,’ ’Relaxation and good humour,’ ’a piece of paradise for a break before exams,’ ’pleasure,’ ’how beautiful Brittany is,’ ’seagulls,’ ’a poetic interlude,’ ’and re-energising weekend with the family’....

What they say

Here are a few of the comments left in the Visitor Book since the island was opened up to visitors:

  • April 2008: ’Following in the footsteps of our mother, grandfather and grandmother Yves-Marie and Jeanne-Marie Scornet, lighthouse-keepers at Louët from 1930 to 1938 – a truly emotional time together.’
  • May 2008, written by Bob: ’So close to the mainland and yet so far, a world to share in all intimacy, the landscapes change with the mood of time passing, it pains me to leave, but for just a few hours, it belonged to me.’
  • 4 August 2010: ’Games of hide and seek, a kayak trip among the cormorants, incredible fishing, a flamboyant sunset - this tiny island, set between sky and sea, gave us all this and a whole lot more...’

Would you like to try the adventure yourself?

If so, contact the Carantec Tourist Office on 00+33 (0)2 98 67 00 43 or by emailing
Take a look at the booking terms and conditions
Given the high demand there is often a waiting time - but remember: ’the best things are worth the wait!’
phare de l'ile louet, Carantec, Bretagne