Center of Roscoff from Sainte Barbe chapel
Center of Roscoff from Sainte Barbe chapel
Flag of Roscoff
Coat of arms of Roscoff
Location of Roscoff
Roscoff is located in France
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Roscoff is located in Brittany
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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
Country France
Region Brittany
Department Finistère
Arrondissement Morlaix
Canton Saint-Pol-de-Léon
Intercommunality Haut-Léon Communauté
 • Mayor (2020–2026) Odile Thubert Montagne
6.19 km2 (2.39 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2018)[1]
 • Density 560/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
29239 /29680
Elevation 0–58 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 (French pronunciation: ​[ʁɔskɔf]; Breton: Rosko) is a commune in the Finistère département of Brittany in northwestern France.

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.

Owing to the richness of iodine in the surrounding waters and the mild climate maintained by a sea current that varies only 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 by 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.


  • Roscoff parish church Our Lady of Croaz Batz (Notre Dame de Croaz Batz): Renaissance and Gothic church from the 16th century
  • The house known as "that of Mary, Queen of Scots"
  • The Station Biologique de ''Roscoff'', a research laboratory in oceanography and marine biology
  • The Jardin Exotique de Roscoff


Inhabitants of Roscoff are called in French Roscovites.

Breton language

The municipality launched a language 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, to Cork twice a week (Friday and Tuesday service) from March to November and to Rosslare Europort once a week (Tuesdays) from May to October.

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 events

  • In 1375 the harbour was destroyed by English forces under the Earl of Arundel. It would later be rebuilt at its current location, 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 then 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 for the rest of their lives.

International relations

Roscoff is twinned with:

Image gallery

See also


  1. ^ "Populations légales 2018". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 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 links