The most beautiful island in France

Is there anything more charming than an ancient cottage with a front door painted to match the soft summer sky, bedecked in hydrangeas and perched on a tiny French island?

ile de Groix French island pink hydrangeas stone cottageîle de Groix

One of the most memorable experiences I have enjoyed in France is a visit to my very first French island - île de Groix. With so much salty air and soft light after months in Paris, I was completely captivated.

ile de Groix French island blue shutters pink hydrangeasFrench Island Charm

On this dinky little island off the coast of Brittany, you’ll see hundreds of charming cottages lining laneways, clifftops and village streets. Island blooms like hollyhocks and hydrangeas in startling shades of purple, blue and pink tumble over crumbling stone walls, weather-beaten doors and peeling paint.

Tiny fishing houses of the nineteenth century line the port while older, crumbling cottages are dotted through hamlets and villages. Gloriously coloured hydrangea blooms burst in purple and pink puffs along laneways and garden beds. Alongside the fresh produce markets and pink sandy beaches, my trigger finger on my camera cannot be controlled!

ile de Groix Brittany French island fish signpostOn island time

Very few cars rush around and there are no traffic lights. The bicycle rules here, so you are literally forced to slow right down. I cycle to a tiny nearby cove to spend the afternoon and leave my bike unchained alongside others, with no fear of theft.

The names of local coves, hamlets and cottages speak of Viking and British invasions from previous centuries, not sounding at all french and reminding me of the island’s rich cultural history.

ile de Groix Brittany French island whitewashed cottage Celtic nameHow to Create Charming French Island Style at Home
  • Paint doors and shutters to match the sky, or your garden flowers.
  • Plant blooms en masse and in coastal colours like soft lilac, blush pink and baby blue. Hydrangeas, hollyhocks, lavender or roses always work.
  • Embrace the subtle, natural ageing effect of time. Paint peeling from years of sunshine .. moss growing over shady spots or through crumbling stone .. flower beds allowed to spill onto sidewalks and streets.
  • Don’t try too hard to make things perfect. Let the beauty of something old shine sweetly next to something shiny and new. Crumbly walls and freshly painted doors .. a newly rendered wall and decades-old rambling rose vines.
  • Slow down to island time. Put aside your smart phone for a day and take a bike ride through nature, to do nothing more than experience the pleasure of wind in your hair and sunshine on your face.

ile de Groix Brittany French island tiny blue coveHappy holidays | Bon vacance

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