Roscoff (Breton: Rosko) is a commune in the Finistère département of Brittany in northwestern France.


Center of Roscoff from Sainte Barbe chapel
Center of Roscoff from Sainte Barbe chapel
Flag of Roscoff
Coat of arms of Roscoff
Coat of arms
Location of Roscoff
Roscoff is located in France
Roscoff is located in Brittany
Coordinates: 48°44′00″N 3°59′00″W / 48.733333°N 3.983333°W / 48.733333; -3.983333Coordinates: 48°44′00″N 3°59′00″W / 48.733333°N 3.983333°W / 48.733333; -3.983333
IntercommunalityPays Léonard
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Joseph Séïté
6.19 km2 (2.39 sq mi)
 • Density550/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
29239 /29680
Elevation0–58 m (0–190 ft)
(avg. 6 m or 20 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Roscoff is renowned for its picturesque architecture, labelled "petite cité de caractère de Bretagne" (small town of character)[2] since 2009. Roscoff is also a traditional departure point for Onion Johnnies.

After lobbying by local economic leaders headed by Alexis Gourvennec, the French government agreed in 1968 to provide a deep-water port at Roscoff. Existing ferry operators were reluctant to take on the relatively long Plymouth/Roscoff crossing, so Gourvennec and colleagues founded Brittany Ferries. Since the early 1970s, Roscoff has been developed as a ferry port for the transport of Breton agricultural produce, and for motor tourism. Brittany Ferries and Irish Ferries link Roscoff with both Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Due to the richness of iodine in the surrounding waters and the mild climate maintained by a sea current that only varies between 8 and 18 °C (46 and 64 °F), Roscoff is also a centre of post-cure which gave rise to the concept of thalassotherapy in the latter half of the 19th century. A French doctor, Louis-Eugène Bagot, opened the Institut marin in Roscoff in 1899, the first centre for thalassotherapy in Europe. Since then many important centres of thalassotherapy such as the Institut de Rockroum (originally Institut marin), the clinic Kerléna, and a heliomarin hospital founded in 1900, the Perharidy Centre, can be found on the edges of the sea at Roscoff.

The nearby Île de Batz, called Enez Vaz in Breton, is a small island that can be reached by launch from the harbour.



Inhabitants of Roscoff are called in French Roscovites.

Breton languageEdit

The municipality launched a linguistic plan through Ya d'ar brezhoneg on 14 November 2008.

In 2008, 18.44% of primary-school children attended bilingual schools.[3]


Brittany Ferries operate ferry services from Roscoff to Plymouth daily from February to November with occasional Christmas sailings and to Cork twice a week (Friday and Tuesday service) from March to November.

Irish Ferries used to operate a ferry service from Roscoff to Rosslare from May to September but now sail to Cherbourg instead.

Preceding station   Ferry   Following station
Terminus   Brittany Ferries

Historic eventsEdit

  • In 1375, the harbour was destroyed by English forces under the Earl of Arundel. It would later be rebuilt at its current location, at Kroas Batz.
  • From 1522 to 1545–1550, the construction the Church of Our Lady of Kroas Batz (see Monuments above).
  • In 1548, the six-year-old Mary, Queen of Scots, having been betrothed to the Dauphin François, disembarked at Roscoff en route from Scotland.
  • In 1790, Roscoff was raised to independent commune. Until this time, the town had effectively depended on Saint-Pol-de-Léon.
  • The illustrator Henry Gerbault and his wife moved to Roscoff in 1919 and lived there the rest of their lives.

International relationsEdit

Twin towns – Sister citiesEdit

Roscoff is twinned with:

Image galleryEdit

Roscoff from the pier [1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Populations légales 2017". INSEE. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  2. ^ City of Roscoff: Roscoff awarded "Petite cité de caractère de Bretagne" (small town of character) (in French)
  3. ^ (in French) Ofis ar Brezhoneg: Enseignement bilingue
  4. ^ "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 11 July 2013.

External linksEdit