Lighthouses on the Pointe de Penmarc'h

Coat of arms

Coordinates: 47°48′46″N 4°20′12″W / 47.8127°N 4.3366°W / 47.8127; -4.3366Coordinates: 47°48′46″N 4°20′12″W / 47.8127°N 4.3366°W / 47.8127; -4.3366
Country France
Region Brittany
Department Finistère
Arrondissement Quimper
Canton Le Guilvinec
Intercommunality Pays Bigouden Sud
  Mayor (20142020) Raynald Tanter
Area1 16.39 km2 (6.33 sq mi)
Population (2008)2 5,633
  Density 340/km2 (890/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 29158 / 29760
Elevation −1–23 m (−3.3–75.5 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Penmarc'h or Penmarch is a commune in the Finistère department of Brittany in north-western France. It lies 18 km south-west of Quimper by road.


Penmarch is the southwest most township of Pays Bigouden, at the southern end of the Bay of Audierne. It is the most populous township of the Guilvinec's canton, with a population of 5,889 inhabitants in 1999 (21,813 for the entire township).

The territory of the town is particularly flat and a very low altitude. There are many marshy lagoons, some of which have been drained and filled, especially in St. Guénolé to save space or habitat for the installation of local handicrafts.

The municipality consists of four villages:

Many islands or reefs of very variable dimensions punctuate the coast of Penmarch; the most important are the Etocs south of Kerity, and the island St. Nonna west of Saint-Pierre.

The port of Saint-Guénolé has a pass opening due west, thought to be dangerous in rough weather. It is protected by two granite peninsulas: Krugen in the South, and Conq in the northwest. Krugen is connected to the mainland by a sandy isthmus. Conq is connected to shore by an artificial embankment itself protected by concrete blocks to better break the flood wave.

The rocky granite coast (called "savage coast" in St. Guénolé) is interspersed with several beaches:


On the extremity of the peninsula on which it is situated are fortified remains of a town which was of considerable importance from the 14th to the 16th centuries and included, besides Penmarc'h, Saint-Guénolé and Kerity. It owed its prosperity to its cod-banks, the disappearance of which, together with the discovery of the Newfoundland cod-banks and the pillage of the place by the bandit La Fontenelle in 1595, contributed to its decline.

The church of Saint Nouna, a Gothic building of the early 16th century at Penmarc'h, and the church of St. Guénolé, an unfinished tower, and the church of Kerity are of interest. The coast is very dangerous. On the Pointe de Penmarc'h stands the Phare d'Eckmühl, with a light visible for 60 miles. There are numerous megalithic monuments in the vicinity.


Average Temperature for Penmarch, France

January- 6°C. February- 7°C. March- 8°C. April- 10°C. May- 13°C. June 15°C. July- 17°C. August- 17°C. September- 15°C. October- 12°C. November- 9°C. December- 6°C.


Inhabitants of Penmarc'h are called in French Penmarchais. The commune has a greater population than Guilvinec.

Historical population
1793 1,134    
1800 1,166+2.8%
1806 885−24.1%
1821 1,462+65.2%
1831 1,727+18.1%
1836 1,781+3.1%
1841 1,783+0.1%
1846 1,867+4.7%
1851 1,964+5.2%
1856 1,987+1.2%
1861 2,029+2.1%
1866 2,227+9.8%
1872 2,431+9.2%
1876 2,641+8.6%
1881 2,871+8.7%
1886 3,238+12.8%
1891 3,600+11.2%
1896 4,298+19.4%
1901 5,068+17.9%
1906 5,702+12.5%
1911 6,051+6.1%
1921 6,735+11.3%
1926 6,877+2.1%
1931 7,037+2.3%
1936 6,956−1.2%
1946 7,077+1.7%
1954 7,204+1.8%
1962 7,652+6.2%
1968 7,320−4.3%
1975 6,921−5.5%
1982 6,463−6.6%
1990 6,272−3.0%
1999 5,889−6.1%
2008 5,633−4.3%


Penmarch is also home to the 'Droguen' rock.

Literary references

Dorigen, the female protagonist in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Franklin's Tale, has a name similar to this, which may symbolise her obduracy..

See also


    Further reading

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