The islands are located in about 4 kilometres from the Corsican mainland, 7 km from Cape Pertusato, and 10 km southeast of Bonifacio. The archipelago covers 5,123 ha in area and the highest point is 50 metres. They include the southernmost point of Metropolitan France.
The two main islands are Cavallo, the only inhabited island in the archipelago, and Lavezzu, just on the south of Cavallo. The other islands or islets are, from left to right: Piana, Ratino, Porraggia and Sperduto.
The archipelago was the site of the shipwreck of the French frigate Sémillante on February 15, 1855. On the island of Lavezzu there are two memorial cemeteries with the remains of the victims of the shipwreck.
These islands were also the locale for Brigitte Bardot's 1952 film Manina, la fille sans voiles.