The French often refer to continental France as L’Hexagon – obviously because of the shape of the country. Knowing how big and how geographically and culturally diverse the country really is I got to thinking about the most extreme cardinal points of continental France. Each of the four locations has something of unique interest that not surprisingly reflects the diversity of this great country.
North – Bray-Dunes
Bray-Dunes is the northern most commune in France, with a small, seaside town of the same name, located on France’s border with Belgium. The town figures significantly in both World War I and World War II history – and the German’s concrete bunkers from WWII can still be visited in the dunes. It was here that French and Belgium troops took their periods of rest during WWI, and, later, where Allied troops suffered many casualties during the Dunkirk Evacuation in 1940. Today the town has monuments to fallen soldiers from both World Wars.
East – Lauterbourg
Moving around the compass, the eastern most point of France is to be found at the confluence of the Lauter and Rhine rivers, and the alluvial land that fronts the Rhine is the commune of Lauterbourg. From this point in France one enters two major regions of Germany: Baden-WÃ¼rttemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz. Being located on a major river and land route this area has been the focus of cultural and commercial traffic since Roman times; as well as the movement of various armies during times of war.
South – Le Puig de Coma Negra
The southern most point of continental France is a mountain peak, on the border with Spain in the mountain range that makes up the PyrÃ©nÃ©es. In historic times the area was well known for its iron mines. Le Puig de Coma Negra, as the peak is known, is 1553 meters above sea level, and is the highlight of a mountain-walking route that is popular for walking associations from around France. The stunning view into both France and Spain from Le Puig can be seen in this 360 degree panoramic image.
West – Pointe de Corsen
In keeping with the natural theme of the previous extremity La Pointe de Corsen (in the Department of FinistÃ¨re, Brittany), the western extremity of continental France, is a rocky promontory that reaches out into the sea. It is here that the Atlantic Ocean is said to meet the Manche – the English Channel.
Of course, these locations do not take into account islands and overseas territories that fall under France’s administration, such as Corsica (Mediterranean), Gaudelope (West Indies) and the island of RÃ©union in the Indian Ocean, or even any of the smaller islands in Australasia and Antarctica.