The most idyllic car-free islands in France

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While the prospect of a summer vacation is still far away, here is an anthology of beautiful islands in France that do not have cars, to dream while waiting.

Porquerolles

One of Edith Wharton, Charlie Chaplin and even ChagallThe favorite islands of Porquerolles, it’s a little corner of paradise, less than two hours by boat from Toulon. Classified as a nature reserve, the island has long been closed to the public and its few properties are jealously guarded. As a result, after 6 p.m. and the departure of the last boat of daily visitors, the island empties to belong only to a privileged few: lucky owners, vacationers from a few hotels in the region as well as sailors moored at the port. A rare slice of peace, which also contributes to preserving the wild nature of the island, between vineyards, forests and paradisiac beaches. The most beautiful place? Notre Dame beach, appreciated for its pristine white sand and turquoise lagoon waters.

© Amandine Azevedo Rosa / EyeEm / Getty

Bréhat

With Paimpol on the horizon, Île-de-Bréhat is an intimate vacation spot that brings together a handful of worshipers each year. Totally preserved and exclusively pedestrianized, the pink granite island has the merit of having a constellation of creeks and a green countryside populated by palm trees, camellias, fig trees and hydrangeas … Not forgetting a few shops, which are supplied daily according to arrivals. It is a small Breton Eden, gently swayed by the wind and the sea, which allows you to live as close as possible to the elements.

The Peacock lighthouse on the island of Bréhat

© France / AFP only

Aix Island

Located south of La Rochelle, this peaceful island, surrounded by wild beaches, contains a pretty little village. With houses with white walls and colorful shutters, visitors take a bike ride. Last place where Napoleon lived, you can also discover traces of his history at Fort Liédot, on Place d’Austerlitz, Rue Napoléon or by contemplating Fort Boyard in the distance.

Saint-Honorat Island

Thirty minutes by boat from Cannes, the island of Saint-Honorat is the most radical way of cutting out with the excitement of La Croisette. Belonging to the Lérins archipelago, this island of one and a half kilometers, occupied by vineyard monks, gives pride of place to calm and great wines. After docking, all you have to do is take a walk: a stroll on the island and its vineyards, lunch in the lonely little tavern facing the sea and wine tasting, guided by the wise monks of the abbey.

© Yann Guichaoua-Photos / Getty

Batz Island

Off Roscoff, this 3.5 km-long islet brings together panoramas on the horizon, each more beautiful than the next. As maritime as it is agricultural, fishermen coexist with a myriad of small producers who shape the landscape. Fruits and vegetables grow in large numbers there, as does goëmon, a typical seaweed from the region, thanks to its microclimate. The proof is at Pointe Pen-Ar-Cleguer, where you can visit the Georges Delaselle garden, which has 2,500 species of plants, mostly exotic.

Houat

In Morbihan, not far from the island of Hoëdic, this little Breton paradise has only 250 inhabitants all year round. With a large sandy beach 2 kilometers long to the east, the place is not that different from the tropical islands with its turquoise waves. Swarming with cliffs and coves, visitors stay here and connect with nature and the ocean.

Bendor

Off Bandol, this small, 7 hectare wild island has everything to please travelers looking for calm and Mediterranean beaches. Purchased by Paul Ricard, like its neighbor, Embiez Island, it turns out to be a real little paradise for divers. Forbidden to cars, holidaymakers will discover a charming port and above all, numerous coves with crystal waves and a colorful southern flora (pines, vines, etc.).

© imageBROKER / Andreas Rose

Translated by Freya Doggett

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