The wild rugged coast

Be sure to take the time to discover the towns and resorts along ‘la Côte sauvage’: home to small bays, headlands, cliffs, caves…. Discover the headland of ‘Penchâteau’ at le Pouliguen, the beaches and cliffs of Batz-sur-Mer, the coast of Le Croisic, the fishing ports of La TurballePiriac-sur-Mer or Mesquer...

Enjoy the heady sea breeze !

Le Pouliguen

Promenade - Le Pouliguen

Located between La Baule and ‘la côte sauvage’, come and discover the resort of Le Pouliguen with its port, its lively promenade and its sandy beach.

The authentic charm of the port

The Port of Le Pouliguen and La Baule, is for the greater part by the crafts of pleasure boat owners. There are also a few attractive fishing boats to be seen here which make their entrance into the port with the ebb and flow of the tides.  Glimp a visiting tall ship as it graces the port with its elegance and not forgetting ‘la Chaloupe Sardinière’ (a reconstruction of a vintage boat) which is permanently moored here.  As from the spring ‘La chaloupe’ and her captain are just waiting to take you out to sea for an unforgettable trip of 1h30!  See the coastline from a whole new angle! Want to find out more ?  Then just click on this link

The promenade… THE place for a stroll !

In the shade of the plane trees, just long from the quai Jules Sandeau, the Promenade is really the place to go for a relaxing stroll.  An ideal view point from which you can watch the comings and goings of the boats in and out of the port set to the calling of the seagulls. The far end of the jetty offers an excellent view across the impressive bay of Le Pouliguen.  At the end of a day spent at the beach the children can enjoy a ride on the merry-go-rounds or have fun sailing their model boats on the pool.  Why not give into temptation of a ‘sweet-treat’? The local ice-cream makers and confectioners are just waiting to delight you with their goodies!

Le Pouliguen is so much more…

Discover the pleasures of time spent at the beach: the summer holidays are when children like to go back to their favourite beach clubs, have the opportunity to make new mates during a volley ball tournament.  Their older peers share their time between going for a swim or just simply relaxing, taking a calm stroll along the sandy beach or sharing some light refreshment with friends on the terrace of a café.  But the Le Pouliguen has so much more to offer…explore its old narrow streets lined with low houses dating back to another time…take in the convivial atmosphere of its wooded park venue for many a festive event to be shared with friends and family. 
Just around the corner you’ll discover ‘la place des Halles’ or the area around the church.  From the headland of ‘Penchâteau’ to the ‘Bay of Le Scall’, ‘la Grande Côte’ – the rugged coastline – stretches out before you all the treasures of this natural and protected area where you can explore the bays, caves and wild coves carved out of the rocky coast.   

Batz-sur-Mer, nestled between the sea and the salt marshes

Batz sur Mer, Plage Valentin
Come and discover the perfect harmony which exists between the beaches and heritage of this quaint seaside resort.  Located between the Atlantic ocean and salt marshes Batz-sur-Mer will charm you with its granite houses, home to the local salt workers, the bell tower of the church of Saint-Guénolé, ‘La Chapelle du Mûrier’…not forgetting  facinating museum ‘le Musée des Marais Salants’...

Architectural heritage and the villages of ‘les paludiers’
The town was constructed with at its heart ‘la place du Garnal’ (former word used for ‘cemetery’) which is dominated by the church. There are a few low row houses here but the majority have a first floor if not two stories. The slate roofs are often decorated with dormer windows. Take a stroll and discover the many alleys (extremely narrow streets or ‘venelles’) which are typical in this town. The architecture of the houses in the surrounding villages displays certain variation. In the Paludiers’ villages a certain cohesion and solidarity reigns: the houses are built very much closer together, forming a block. The roofs are interlocking and even at times inter-tangled  

The surrounding villages of Batz-sur-Mer : 

  • Kervalet : is very much the typical ‘paludiers’ village’ with its characteristic stone houses. At its very heart lies a magnificent flamboyant gothic styled chapel dedicated to the Evangelist Saint Marc.
  •  Roffiat : its narrow small streets and its closely knit houses make up the charm of this tiny village which is located the furthest from the main town of Batz sur Mer. Take the time to admire its unusual wooden cross decorated with 13 hearts in memory of the 12 apostles and Christ and its statuette of ‘Notre Dame du Bonheur’ which was formerly a place of pilgrimage for young engaged couples.
  • Trégaté : is well worth stopping off to see its; bread-oven, its fountain, its granite calvery and the superb dormer windows dating back to the XVIIIth century.
  •  Kermoisan : follow ‘la rue du Vieux Moulin’ into the heart of the village and discover the pretty small houses which will spread out before you. Beyond lies a lush green wild landscape devided up by dry stone walls and dominated by the mill tower overseeing the area and landmark for the sailors.

Le Croisic a ‘cité de caractère’ bursting with charm !

le Croisic - petite cité de caractère

A the very end of the peninsula which bears its name, Le Croisic was the very first seaside resort to be established along this coastline with the arrival of the railway line. Famous for its fishing port this ‘Petite Cité de Caractère’ is a stop off point not to be missed in your journey of discovery of the area…

This port dating back to the XVIIth century is today the number one port for prawn fishing known locally as ‘le bouquet du Croisic’. Its geography was indeed fashioned by the salt trade. The boats loaded with ballast left their cargos of stones here before taking on board their precious load of ‘white gold’.  This process gave rise to Le Mont Lénigo’ and  ‘Le Mont Esprit’ and the birth inlets of the port. The town of Le Croisic is flanked by ‘Le traict’ sea inlet which is the point of entry for the trawlers and other potters...

Follow the coast along the former customs officers’ path and breathe in the fresh sea breeze of ‘La côte sauvage’. Stop-off at ‘Le parc de Penn Avel’.  This seaside park offers the opportunity to marvel at the exceptional scenery.  The town today has been credited with the quality label of ‘Petite Cité de Caractère’. Be sure not to miss out on any aspect of this fascinating little town by following a guided tour in the company of a historian who will reveal to you the inner secrets of this wonderful coast treasure.

Le Croisic, a shipowners’ town !

Not to be missed along the wharf-quays of Port Ciguet and Lénigo, are the many shipowners’ houses with their perrons and wine cellars (n° 5, 14, 15, 1, 3). On the quay of ‘la Petite Chambre’, opposite ‘la petite jonchère’, stand the majestic town houses with their carved doors, stone facades and dormer windows.  On the square of the former town hall, l'Hôtel d'Aiguillon stands tall.  Built at the end of the XVIIth century, this impressive building with its imperial style roof complete with pinnacles housed until quite recently the town hall of Le Croisic.  Just beyond the grand entrance gates inside lies a beautiful stair case with balustrade.  Take a stroll down la rue du Pilori or la rue de Saint-Christophe and discover the magnificent half-timbered houses dating back to the XVIth century, some of which are listed (as historical monuments).  Every which way you look you can feast your eyes on the many architectural gems just waiting to be discovered here!

Cockles, prawns and many other shellfish…

The Guérande Peninsula is an area which is extensively involved in shellfish farming.  Typical of this local industry is the diversity and originality of the cockle farms of the Le Croisic.  ‘Les Traicts du Croisic’ – seawater inlets – form a semi-closed bay between the peninsula of Le Croisic and the long strip of sandy bay of Pen Bron.  Le Croisic is home to the France’s number one farm for cockle production.  
‘Le Grand Traict’ is dedicated to cockle breeding as opposed to ‘Le Petit Traict’ which is the site for polyculture.  Here the shellfish farmers also breed oysters and clams.
Here’s a ‘fishy fact’ to astound your friends!  Did you know that locally the cockle is known as ‘le rigadeau’.?  Which ever way you choose to serve this little bivalve be it ‘à la nantaise’ or ‘à la provençale’ best way to get to know them is in the tasting!

‘Le Bouquet du Croisic’

This is the pretty name we call the famous prawns around here!  The life of the town is very much linked to the presence of the port the primary activity of which is prawn fishing, ‘le bouquet du Croisic’ -  making of this port the number one in France for this type of fishing.  The town still has today its own dedicated fish market.  

La Turballe, home to the fishermen…

Le port de La Turballe
Fishing is one of the key activities of the Guérande Peninsula…the fishermen of La Turballe and Le Croisic are amongst its best ambassadors.
Today there are some 48 mid-water trawlers which operate out of the Port of La Turballe – it ranks in 11th place in terms of turnover and 8th place in terms of tonnage amongst French fishing ports.

The fishermen of La Turballe specialize in the fishing of anchovy with catches which can reach more than 2 000 tonnes (per season).  Other types of fish caught include seabass, tuna and hake.
For the ‘early birds’ amongst you the spectacle of the trawlers returning to port at dawn and the sale at the fish auction are something not to be missed! 
At the very heart of this activity, ‘Le centre marée du port de La Turballe’, come and experience the excitement of the auction sale with its state of the art electronic system and marvel at the day’s catch on display.

To find out more about fishing in La Turballe why not visit :
The sardine fishing boat ‘Le Sardinier Au Gré des Vents’ (in the port of La Turballe) and the museum ‘le musée La Maison de la Pêche’ (1st floor terrace of ‘Le Centre de Marée’).

For those of you who would like some real ‘hands-on-experience’ why not join some of the local fishermen on board to have a go at fishing !  They are just waiting to share their passion for their trade with you out on the ocean’s waves !

Anchovies and sardines from La Turballe

The port of La Turballe is the number one port in La Loire-Atlantique terms of tonnage caught and annual turnover. It was formerly the leading French port along the Atlantic coast for anchovy fishing but focuses more specifically today on the fishing of other species such as seabass, mackerel or squid. In 2009, the fishermen of the port of La Turballe landed some 4 300 tonnes representing a monetary value in excess of 14.5 million €.
All year round the trawlers bring in their precious catches. Sardines and anchovies are fished from the spring to the autumn. Over the rest of the year the catch includes seabass, hake, sea bream, cuttlefish and occasionally tuna. For the ‘early-risers’ the arrival first thing in the morning of boats loaded with fish and the subsequent auction sale at ‘la criée’ are moments not to be missed !  Well worth setting your alarm-clock for even when on holiday!!!! 
Experience this moment first hand by clicking on this link.

Welcome to the charming resort of Piriac-sur-Mer...

Piriac-sur-Mer, petite cité de caractère

Proud of its title of  ‘Petite Cité de Caractère de Loire-Atlantique’, the seaside town of Piriac-sur-Mer is just waiting to be discovered. Take a stroll along its narrow cobbled streets lined with granite town houses displaying their Breton style. Or take a wander around the charming marina: down ‘la ruelle des mouettes’, passed the former house of Chateaubriand, the guard house and the beach of Saint-Michel.

From the times of the salt trade, the fishing of cod or the heyday of the sardine canneries the little town of Piriac has been able to preserve its granite house some of which date back more 300 years. In the XIXth  century the resort was frequented by authors such as Daudet or Zola - the town was a rich source of inspiration for many including those who took pleasure in bathing in the sea who were able to gain easy access to the resort with the arrival of the railway line as far as Le Croisic.  

Allow yourself to be taken in by the relaxing atmosphere of a gentle stroll around the port brightly decorated by the coloured sails of the boats moored here. Wander along the narrow streets, their pavements in full bloom with the rich colours of the hydrangeas or stroll along the sands of la plage Saint-Michel
The VIth century saw the arrival on the coast of a Breton leader called Waroch who named this place ‘Pen Kiriak’ - ‘the wicked headland’. It is a fact that ‘La pointe du Castelli’ is indeed the most prominent headland of the entire department of La Loire Atlantique. This makes it a serious danger for those navigating in the area. 
It is for this very reason that Piriac’s semaphore is located here. The Breton origins of Piriac-sur-Mer are still very much present today not only in the architectural style of the village but also the names given to the streets and the houses.

Did you know that the one and only island off of the coast of La Loire-Atlantique is situated near to Piriac-sur-Mer? Land ahoy! ‘l’île Dumet !’

Piriac-sur-Mer, this little listed seaside resort, has really sought and succeeded in preserving and highlighting the aspects of its rich and tumultuous past which still fascinate us all today.  May 2002 saw the high quality architectural heritage of the resort of Piriac-sur-Mer awarded the quality label of ‘Petite Cité de Caractère’.
The centre of the village is indeed home to several old houses some of which date back to more than 300 years ago. They have survived both troubled times and adverse weather conditions.
The 11km of coastline harmoniously carved out by the ocean which edges Piriac will reveal all the splendor and diversity of its landscape: from the spectacular and unusually shaped rock formations to the fine golden sands of the beaches and the view afforded you from the coastal path over caves and secret coves…

We strongly recommend you take one of the guided tours available from the local Tourist Office to make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the wonderful sites this pretty resort has on offer !

Mesquer, salt of the earth… salt from the sea

Life is good in this resort located in ideal setting at the very heart of the the marshland ‘du Mès’. Mesquer-Quimiac, with their headlands and beaches opening out over the Atlantic ocean is home to the second largest basin for the production of salt. 
Mesquer - La pointe de Merquel
Here you will be spoilt for choice!  What to choose?... an afternoon spent splashing about in the sea or just relaxing on La Plage de Lanséria, Sorlock or taking in the breathtaking view from La Pointe de Merquel, or maybe a long walk along the salt marshes stopping only for a gourmet treat at the Port of Kercabellec...

The port of Kercabellec :
The activity of the harbour at Kercabellec saw a marked increase thanks to the salt trade. Salt production developed over the centuries to reach its peak in the XIXth century. Used primarily to preserve fish and meat the salt was loaded on board ships at Kercabellec and then transported along the entire length of the Atlantic coast. At this time between 150 and 200 ships passed through the port (50 of which were registed at the port of Kercabellec in 1841). Trade flourished in Mesquer and brought with it the creation of a network of Cape-horners and customs officers. There were up to 40 customs officers living in the town. The small port office, which was formerly the customs office, bears witness to the level of the salt production and other related commercial trade at that time.

Oyster farming :

It was around 1880, to cope with the depletion of the natural beds, that oyster breeding really began to develop. The port of Kercabellec, abandoned following the decline in maritime transport for the salt trade now had a new lease of life :  the oyster farmers from La Charente arrived around the year 1900 and took over the bay of Kercabellec. This bay, as it turned out, was as suitable for not only the breeding of oysters on the sea bed but also on racks.  The bay has several refining basins. Today 6 farms exist in Mesquer.  They breed mostly true oysters (fr: huitres creuses) .  From the ‘spat’ stage to appearing on your plate ready to eat takes from 18 months to 3 years (initially in the open sea for the ‘maturing phase’ and then in depuration tanks) and to reach the special flavour associated with these famous ‘Oysters from Mesquer’.
Other vantage points along the coast : 
  • Assérac - Pen Bé : a view out over the oyster and mussel farms (‘moules sur bouchots’ – mussels cultivated on pilings/poles)
  • Batz-sur-Mer - La Dilane : a view along ‘la côte sauvage’ (wild rugged coast)
  • La Turballe : ‘La Pointe de Pen Bron’- a view over Le Croisic and ‘Le Traict’ (sea inlet)
  • Le Croisic : ‘La Pointe du Croisic’ – view over ‘la côte sauvage’ and the jetty of ‘LeTréhic’ – view over Pen Bron and the port
  • Mesquer : ‘La Pointe de Merquel’ – view over ‘le traict de Pen Bé’ - Mesquer
  • Pénestin : ‘La Pointe du Bile’ – view over the coast and ‘La Pointe du Halguen’ - view over the estuary of ‘la Vilaine’
  • Piriac-sur-Mer : ‘La Pointe du Castelli’ – view over the ‘l’île Dumet’ and the coast
  • Le Pouliguen : ‘La Pointe de Penchâteau’ – view over the bay of La Baule - 23 caves including the famous ‘grotte des Korrigans’
  • Pornichet : ‘La Pointe de Congrigoux’ - orienteering information point/table. ‘Pointe de la Land’ – view over the coast
  • Océan Atlantique - balade sur la Côte sauvage
  • Plage de la Govelle à Batz-sur-Mer
  • Océan Atlantique agité sur la côte sauvage
  • La Côte sauvage du Pouliguen à Mesquer