Pointe Saint Mathieu
A definitive Breton experience
Located within the boundaries of the small town of Plougonvelin and just a stone’s throw from Le Conquet, the Pointe Saint Mathieu captures the spirit of adventure perfectly, with rugged cliffs eroded by the wind and sea and an imposing lighthouse that watches over the ruins of a former abbey.
Built in 1835, the lighthouse replaced the abbey tower, from which monks in olden days would tend to a fire to guide the ships of the royal fleet. We also know that, alongside the sailors in Le Conquet, they mapped the outlines of the known world and wrote down key information pertaining to sailing. Indeed, they were the forerunners to France’s modern-day Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service in Brest.
What remains of the abbey today is the Romanesque façade, the stone vaults of the choir and the nave arcades. The best time to visit is twilight; illuminated by the lighthouse, this is when it’s at its most beautiful. Behind is the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce chapel, which houses a small museum containing numerous remnants of the old abbey.
Behind the semaphore that dominates the Iroise Sea, the coastal path heads towards a large monument to deceased sailors, dating from 1927. Then, along the shore and the beach, you can reach the port of Le Conquet via the Pointe Sainte-Barbe.