Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct,.mw-parser-output .geo-inline-hidden{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}48°27′29″N 5°05′44″W / 48.4581°N 5.0956°W / 48.4581; -5.0956
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Commune in Brittany, France

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Satellite image of Ushant in 2003

Satellite image of Ushant in 2003
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Flag of Ushant

Coat of arms of Ushant

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Location of Ushant
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Ushant is located in France


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Ushant is located in Brittany


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Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct,.mw-parser-output .geo-inline-hidden{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}48°27′29″N 5°05′44″W / 48.4581°N 5.0956°W / 48.4581; -5.0956
Country France
Region Brittany
Department Finistère
Arrondissement Brest
Canton Saint-Renan

 • Mayor .mw-parser-output .nobold{font-weight:normal}(2020–2026) Denis Palluel[1]

15.58 km2 (6.02 sq mi)

 • Density 54/km2 (140/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
29155 /29242
Elevation 0–61 m (0–200 ft)
(avg. 30 m or 98 ft)
Website Official website
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Ushant (/ˈʌʃənt/;[3] Breton: Eusa, .mw-parser-output .IPA-label-small{font-size:85%}.mw-parser-output .references .IPA-label-small,.mw-parser-output .infobox .IPA-label-small,.mw-parser-output .navbox .IPA-label-small{font-size:100%}pronounced [ˈøsa]; French: Ouessant, pronounced [wɛsɑ̃]) is a French island at the southwestern end of the English Channel which marks the westernmost point of metropolitan France. It belongs to Brittany and in medieval times, Léon. In lower tiers of government, it is a commune in the Finistère department. It is the only place in Brittany, save for Brittany itself, with a separate name in English.


Neighbouring islets include Keller Island (Île de Keller) and Kadoran (Île Cadoran) to the north. The 200-meter (660 ft) channel between Ushant and Keller is called the Toull C’heller.

Ushant marks a southern limit of the Celtic Sea[4] and the southern end to the western English Channel, the northern end being the Isles of Scilly, southwest of Land’s End in Cornwall, England. According to definitions of the International Hydrographic Organization the island lies outside the English Channel and is in the Celtic Sea.[5]

The island is a rocky landmass at most eight by three kilometres (five by two miles), covering .mw-parser-output .frac{white-space:nowrap}.mw-parser-output .frac .num,.mw-parser-output .frac .den{font-size:80%;line-height:0;vertical-align:super}.mw-parser-output .frac .den{vertical-align:sub}.mw-parser-output .sr-only{border:0;clip:rect(0,0,0,0);clip-path:polygon(0px 0px,0px 0px,0px 0px);height:1px;margin:-1px;overflow:hidden;padding:0;position:absolute;width:1px}15 km2 (5+34 sq mi).


Ushant is famous for its maritime past, both as a fishing community and as a key landmark in the Channel approaches. It is named in the refrain of the sea shantySpanish Ladies“:

.mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 32px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}

We’ll rant and we’ll roar like true British sailors,
We’ll rant and we’ll roar across the salt seas,
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England,
From Ushant to Scilly ’tis thirty-five leagues.

Several naval battles have been fought near Ushant between the British and French navies.

On 23 July 1815 the captive Emperor Napoleon – aboard HMS Bellerophon towards his final exile – spent several hours on deck watching Ushant, the last part of France he would see.[6]

During World War II, a force of British Commandos and US Army Rangers of the 29th Provisional Rangers successfully attacked a German radar installation on the island.[7]

In March 1978, the oil tanker Amoco Cadiz ran aground at Portsall about 19 miles (31 km) from the island, leading to major pollution of the Brittany coast.

According to a repetitive old Breton proverb, “Qui voit Molène voit sa peine / Qui voit Ouessant voit son sang / Qui voit Sein voit sa fin / Qui voit Groix voit sa croix.” (“Who sees Molène sees his pains (or penalty) / who sees Ushant sees his blood / who sees Sein sees his end / who sees Groix sees his cross”). This proverb underlines local points being often deadly to navigate with many rocks, and tidal streams of more than ten knots.

A standard start and finish line for traditional all-oceans circumnavigations is between Ushant and Lizard Point.[8]

There is a single school situated on the island; L’École D’Ouessant situated south-east of the main town. It was founded in 1865 by Scottish refugees fleeing English persecution and the majority of the island’s youth attend the school. It is also a major employer on the island as it is only large workplace. Notable alumni include Jean-Philippe Moteur, Gerard Alineuz, Claude Simbiote and the now mayor of the island, Denis Palleul.[citation needed]


Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1968 1,814 —    
1975 1,450 −3.15%
1982 1,221 −2.43%
1990 1,062 −1.73%
1999 932 −1.44%
2009 863 −0.77%
2014 862 −0.02%
2020 832 −0.59%
Source: INSEE[9]

The sole village on the island is Lambaol (Lampaul), which has the mayoral office, school and post office. People also live in the outlying hamlets of Feuteun Vélen, Frugullou, Pen ar Lan, and Porsguen.


Under the Köppen climate classification, Ushant features an oceanic climate : temperate, fully humid, temperate summer (Cfb), with generally cool, rainy winters and temperate, drier summers.

Town Sunshine





National average 1,973 770 14 22 40
Ushant N/A 761.5 3.4 5.1 49.3[11]
Paris 1,661 637 12 18 10
Nice 2,724 767 1 29 1
Strasbourg 1,693 665 29 29 56
Brest 1,605 1,211 7 12 75

Climate data for Ushant (1991–2020 averages, extremes 1995–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.1
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 10.4
Daily mean °C (°F) 8.6
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 6.8
Record low °C (°F) −2.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 92.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 15.6 12.4 11.8 10.1 8.0 8.2 8.3 9.5 8.9 12.7 16.0 16.0 137.6
Average snowy days 1.2 1.6 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.9 4.3
Source: Meteo France[12]


The Creac’h lighthouse (Phare du Creach) is reputedly the most powerful in Europe.[citation needed] Ouessant is the French system name for Plymouth in the British system of the Shipping Forecast.

Cultural ties to Scotland[edit]

In 2007, Ushant hosted a Scottish book festival and subsequently created their own tartan registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans;[13] and in August 2010, the islanders were reported to be seeking to establish cultural links with a Scottish island. Rob Gibson, Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Highlands and Islands welcomed the suggestion.[14]


Ushant, nearby islands, and the NW coast of France

Ushant is connected to the French mainland by air and sea. Passenger ferries of the Penn Ar Bed company operate from Brest and Le Conquet year-round, and also from Camaret in summer, stopping at the island of Molène en route.[15] The airline Finistair operates flights on Cessna 208 planes from Brest Bretagne Airport.[16]


Ouessant sheep

Ouessant sheep form a rare breed, originating here. These are northern European short-tailed sheep, ubiquitous in northern Europe up to Roman times, but which now survives only in a few places. Apart from Ushant, these are in remote islands and mountains of Britain and Scandinavia and some places around the Baltic Sea. It is one of the smallest breeds of domestic sheep. It is usually black or dark brown (a few are white), and it is now kept elsewhere in the world as a heritage breed[where?].

The isolation of the island has helped the conservation of the European dark bee (Apis mellifera mellifera), unaffected by pollution, pesticides and Varroa parasites.[17] In the rest of France, it has been substituted by Apis mellifera ligustica. As a side effect, populations of the bee louse, Braula coeca,[18] that has elsewhere perished through pesticides can still be found among the island’s bee population. The association Conservatoire de l’Abeille Noire Bretonne[19] is attempting to conserve and increase the numbers of the European dark bee, intending to reintroduce it in Western France.[20]

Ushant and the Molène archipelago support Europe’s southernmost colony of grey seals. They are mostly at Point Cadoran, on Ushant’s north coast, where the strong currents keep the water temperature below 15 degrees Celsius (59 °F), the warmest that the seals can tolerate.

Media and art references[edit]

Ferry approaching Ushant

Ushant is a minor character of Herman Melville‘s White-Jacket (1850). Ushant is highly admired for his beard.[21]

  • The island figures in Le Sang de la sirène (The Blood of the Siren, 1901) by Anatole Le Braz.
  • It is mentioned in the chorus of the sea shanty Spanish Ladies (“From Ushant to Scilly is thirty-five leagues”).
  • Rudyard Kipling mentions it in his poem Anchor Song.
  • Charles Tournemire‘s Symphony No. 2, completed in 1909, was inspired by and named for the island.
  • The 1910 novel Das Meer by German author Bernhard Kellermann takes place on the island. Features such as Phare du Creach and Port du Stiff are highly defined. The main character stays at the la Villa des tempêtes, in ruins today.
  • The secret of the seas (Le Secret des Eaux: Ouessant), is a 1923 novel by André Savignon set on Ushant.
  • “Lord Ushant” is the title given the heir to the Duchy of Tintagel (Cornwall) in Edith Wharton’s The Buccaneers (1938).
  • Ushant is mentioned in George Orwell‘s diaries, in passing.[22]
  • A ship from Ushant is mentioned in the WWII Brest destruction commemorative ode Barbara by French poet Jacques Prévert.
  • Ushant is the autobiography of the American poet and novelist Conrad Aiken, published in 1952.
  • Ushant is one of the many French islands referenced in Laurent Voulzy‘s Belle-Île-en-Mer, Marie-Galante, a major hit in France since its release in 1986.
  • Ushant appears over and over in works of Patrick O’Brian as to the whereabouts and course of ships in his book series.
  • Ushant occasionally appears as a landfall in C. S. Forester‘s novels about Horatio Hornblower.
  • Mystery book Act of Mercy by Peter Tremayne is set in 666 AD Ushant and elsewhere.
  • Ushant is the setting of the 2004 French film L’Équipier (English title: The Light) directed by Philippe Lioret.
  • Father Truitard, a character in Bruce Chatwin’s The Viceroy of Ouidah, spent “years communing with the waves and petrels on the island of Ushant”.
  • It is mentioned in Dmitry Lukhmanov‘s narrative 20000 miles under sail.[23]
  • Yann Tiersen made the album Eusa in 2016. Each track is named after a location on the island.
  • A trip to the island forms an important plot point in Éric Rohmer‘s 1996 film A Summer’s Tale.
  • Ushant was featured in some of the scenes of the 1929 film Finis Terræ.

Book awards[edit]

The island awards annual literary prizes to worldwide writers.[24]

See also[edit]


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  1. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a,.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F} .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){ .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}“Répertoire national des élus: les maires” (in French)., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises. 13 September 2022.
  2. ^ “Populations légales 2021”. The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ “Definition of ‘Ushant’. Collins English Dictionary. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  4. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2011. Celtic Sea. eds. P.saundry & C.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the /environment. Washington DC.
  5. ^ “Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition + corrections” (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1971. pp. 42 [corrections to page 13]. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  6. ^ Cordingly, David (2003). The Billy Ruffian. New York: Bloomsbury. pp. 256–7. ISBN 9781582341934.
  7. ^ Slaughter, John Robert (8 November 2009). Omaha Beach and Beyond: The Long March of Sergeant Bob Slaughter. Zenith Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN 9780760337349.
  8. ^ “Jules Verne Trophy – Rules”. Jules Verne Trophy. Retrieved 30 June 2023.
  9. ^ Population en historique depuis 1968, INSEE
  10. ^ Paris, Nice, Strasbourg, Brest
  11. ^ “Normales climatiques 1981-2010 : Ouessant”. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  12. ^
    “Ouessant–Stiff (29)” (PDF). Fiche Climatologique: Statistiques 1991–2020 et records (in French). Meteo France. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  13. ^ “French island of Ouessant adopts local tartan”. BBC News. 10 August 2010.
  14. ^ “Islanders Seek Scots Friends”. The Herald. Glasgow. 16 August 2010.
  15. ^ “Bateau vers les iles Ouessant, Molène et Sein – Penn Ar Bed”. (in French). Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  16. ^ “Bienvenue sur – Compagnie Finist’air”. (in French). Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  17. ^ Alle, Gérard; Le Moigne, Jean-Louis (2011). Abeille et miel en Bretagne (in French). Coop Breizh. ISBN 9782843465222. Archived from the original on 2013-07-31. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  18. ^ Martin, Jean-Pierr. “Braula cœca” (in French).
  19. ^ Dominique Raizon (4 April 2012). “L’Abeille Noire d’Ouessant est en pleine forme” (in French). Radio France Internationale. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  20. ^ “L’abeille noire réintègre le continent”. (in French). Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  21. ^ White-Jacket, chapter 84
  22. ^ “September 3, 1938”. Orwell Diaries 1938-1942. 3 September 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  23. ^ “Жизнь моряка (fb2)”. (in Russian). Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  24. ^ Bloom, Dan (13 May 2015). “Translation of eco-fantasy book wins French island prize”. Taipei Times. Retrieved 29 November 2015.

External links[edit]

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