Although one might think that a name like “the beautiful island in the sea” might be a little too poetic, artists and painters have come to love the nature of this largest of the Brittany islands. “Les Aiguilles de Port Coton”, a famous painting by Claude Monet, depicts the wild southern coast and rocks exposed to wind and waves. The island has a ‘soft’ side too. Its northern shore has two ports and long sandy beaches. At the port of Le Palais is one of the historical gems of the island. Mentioned by Alexandre Dumas in his second book about the Three Musketeers, the Citadelle de Belle Ile had great strategic importance as access to the south of Brittany was controlled by Belle Ile and its smaller neighbours Houat and Hoed. The beautifully maintained fort is now a museum. There are other spectacular and unique fortifications along the island’s shore.