Dolmen des petits Fradets - around 3000 BC
North West coast near the beach of la Gournaise
Dolmen with a simple corridor. Single chamber megalithic tomb with part of its corridor, and an incomplete lap on a tumulus. The word Fradet means in French, elf.
Dolmen de la Planche à Puare - around 3000 BC
North West coast - near a cove, anse des Broches
Towards the promontory Pointe du But. The dolmen is of transept type, just like a transept in a church : a corridor leading to a chamber and two chambers on either side of the corridor. The whole arrangement being well covered with flat roofing stones. This dolmen is a classified stone. It is forbidden to enter into or climb over the megalith.
Stone of la Roche aux Fras
Near la Meule
Stone engraved with cupules, man made cup-like hollows. What these hallows mean is still a mystery. The islanders have made up a nice legend around this stone .
Many stones are scattered on the island : la pierre des Amporelles, le Chien à l’Affût, les pierres du Pain et du Beurre, le menhir des Soux
Chapel of la Meule
Dedicated to Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle, this chapel has been overlooking the harbour of la Meule for nine centuries. It is one of the oldest religious heritage of the island. It was erected during the 11th century. The turn of the last millennium was a time of apocalyptic panic. Lords and war lords worried for the end of the world and the Last Judgment. They promised feverishly to build churches and chapels. Year 1000 passed, nothing happened. People had to keep up to their promises. Two brothers Herbert and Béranger, from Brem/Mer were given land on the island in order to build a religious building. They helped monks from the Abbey of St Martin de Marmoutier to re-build the old church of St Sauveur and they erected three little chapels, one of them being the chapel over the Meule harbour.
Known as St Marie Chapel in 1040, its "real name" Notre dame de Bonne Nouvelle appeared for the 1st time in 1770. A saint for the seamen and invoked by them when in the midst of a storm and praised when a boat is back home safely.
The Romanesque Church, ruling over the village of Saint Sauveur - the first town built on the Island - is one of the numerous religious monuments which flowered a bit everywhere as a result of a spiritual movement in year One Thousand. It dates from the 12th century and was erected on the site of an 11th century basilica. This granite stoned building appears in a chart for the 1st time in year 1040. Its 17 meters pyramidal belfry, topped before with a long arrow, used to be used as a navigation landmark. In November 1953, lightening struck the tower. The present nave was built in 1857 in neo-gothic style, the older roman nave being totally destroyed.
The Church is situated at the end of Guisth’au street, upper Port Joinville. It is one of the 2 churches of the Parish of St Amand. It was built around 1827/1828, and enlarged in 1887. It included the present nave. This spheric bell tower has an eastern aspect, a taste of long trips abroad... The nave is made with a wooden ceilling where hang 3 scale-model frigates, ex-votos from the 19th century. The transept choir , on your left, is occupied by a large organ made with 1500 pipes made in 1996.
Middle Ages heritage
Le Vieux Château - The Old castle
Shelter for the islanders against the numerous attacks of invaders. A guided visit of the castle will uncover the story of military architecture and the way of life of the islanders from the 14th to the 17th century
Classified monument in 1890.
Lighthouses on the harbour
Lighthouse on the northwest breakwater. It was built by the Foundry Fonderies Bauquin Frères from Nantes and the engineer Dingler. A metallic octogonal tower based on a white pedestal, shelters an occulting light (every 4 seconds, white and red colour). Since 1932, it works with a group occulting light (every 15 seconds, white and green colour).
Grand Quai light (now quai du Canada), located at the end of the breakwater, on the right, built by the engineer Plantier. Green fixed light on a cylindric tower 5.35 m.
Lighthouse des Mariés (meaning newly wed !) built in the 19th century by the engineer Decharme. White fixed light on a square tower used as a house. 12 meters high. Not in use. A sailing club has its office there. One can visit this cute lighthouse in September (during French Heritage weekend)
Le phare des Corbeaux - lighthouse des Corbeaux
(corbeau meaning crow)
First operational in 1868, this lighthouse is located at the south east end of the island. It was destroyed by the Germans at the end of World War 2. A new lighthouse was built in the 1950's in an Art Deco style. The lighthouse stands 19.20 meter high. Revolving red light beam, every 15 seconds. Power of the halogen bulb : 650 watts. Nautical range : 18.5 miles (around 34 km).
Automatic and controlled from the Great Lighthouse (see below). No visit
Le phare de la Petite Foule or Grand Phare "The Great Lighthouse"
Towards the Aerodrome
After many seawrecks, the 1828 seawreck of a Royal vessel triggered public authorities in setting up around the island an appropriate maritime safety system: a 29 meters lighthouse was built on a megalithic site named la Petite Foule.
Unfortunately the system was sometimes obscured. In 1895, an electric revolving light was added. Destroyed in August 1944, navigation then became difficult south of the Loire. A new modern lighthouse was erected in 1951.
41 meters tall, the lighthouse stands 56 meters above sea level and ranges 28 nautical miles
Fort de Pierre Levée
Port Joinville 15 min. walk from the Tourist Office
A high menhir used to stand up on top of the hill where the present stronghold was built (or Fort de Pierre Levée). During the 19th century (1858-1866), a fortress was built. After being used as a state prison, the stronghold was used as barracks. Head of state and Marshal of France, Philippe Pétain was then imprisoned there from 1945 to 1951. Free admission.
Abri du Marin - Maritime Museum - Life Saving
Association le Corsaire et la SNSM – Quai de la Chapelle – Email :
Tel. +33(0)2 51 59 57 21
The island, the islanders and the sea... how they live together, a fishing way of life, life saving and sea rescuing. In these two museums, discover how the islanders have lived of the sea, with the sea and against the sea.
Opening : April 20th to September 30th : open every morning from 10 am to 12:30 am (open in the afternoon on rainy days from 3 pm to 6 pm)
Adult : 4€50 / Child : 3€ / - 5 years old : free