09 April 2021 by Jessica Boston
Beyond Brittany… Why Loire Atlantique is the perfect destination for your next holiday!
If you’ve enjoyed holidays in Brittany and are looking for a new adventure the perfect destination could be closer than you’d think! Loire Atlantique in the Western Loire is a department neighbouring Brittany just a little further down the west coast of France. It’s easily reached from the Brittany ports and offers a whole range of exciting places to visit, sights to see, and attractions and activities to suit anyone and everyone!
Here are 10 reasons you should choose Loire Atlantique for your next holiday…
This gorgeous port town is a centre of culture and art and a wonderful place to spend the day. Enjoy beautiful town squares lined with cafes and restaurants, explore museums, galleries and walking trails, and don’t miss the incredible Ile des Machines with it’s fantastical steampunk carousel of sea creatures and enormous automated mechanical elephant created by Jules Verne.
2. La Baule
The seaside resort of La Baule has always been a favourite with French tourists, it boasts one of the longest and most beautiful sandy beaches in Europe stretching 9km around the azure bay. Chic restaurants, yacht marinas, thalassotherapy spas and casinos make this stylish destination the perfect place to see and be seen as you stroll the promenade and enjoy drinks or a seafood feast overlooking the sea.
3. Saint Nazaire
The harbour at Saint Nazaire is the place to go if you are interested in maritime history and want a unique insight into life on, and under, the ocean waves! Visit Sous-Marin l’Espadon to go inside a 78m submarine dating from the 1950s and don’t miss Escal’Atlantic, an immersive museum experience of the history of ocean liners with reconstructions and interactive displays that show what it was really like aboard these majestic boats.
This medieval walled city combines history and gastronomy with a pretty village hidden within the ancient walls where you can walk pedestrianised streets filled with chocolatiers, creperies, patisseries and cafes. The star of the culinary show here is delicious salted caramel made with locally produced salt – it’s a wonderful place to buy souvenirs and enjoy a delicious treat in charming surroundings.
5. St Brevin les Pins
Thrill seekers will love the range of watersports on offer all along the Atlantic Coast, St Brevin les Pins is a great place to start with surfing, kite surfing, windsurfing, paddle boarding and more all available with lessons for beginners and equipment hire for more experienced riders. There is also an incredible sculpture in the sea here in the form of Serpent d’Ocean; an enormous prehistoric looking skeleton of a giant sea snake!
The Melon de Bourgogne grapes used to make Muscadet wine have been grown here since the 17th
century with the official ‘Muscadet’ appellation coming in to protect the production of this distinctive wine in 1937. There are only very specific vineyards allowed to contribute grapes to the Muscadet brand and most of the villages within the designated areas fall within the Loire Atlantique region. Seek out a vineyard tour and wine tasting session to enjoy this crisp, light white wine that’s a perfect partner to the local seafood.
7. Parc Naturel Regional de Briere
Covering over 40,000 hectares of wetlands, marshes, reed beds and unique habitats this protected area is home to a huge variety of wildlife including an impressive array of bird species. The best way to explore is aboard a ‘chaland’ which is a flat bottomed boat similar to a punt with a guide who can point out the flora and fauna and explain some of the fascinating history of the area.
Famous for the beef tenderloin steaks created by Escoffier that bear its name, Chateaubriant is an
interesting choice for a day (and lunch!) out. The Chateaubriant fortress dates from the 11th century with
updates, renovations and repurposing shaping the largely Renaissance style castle that you see today. Take a tour to find out the rich history of the chateau and the people who lived here through the ages including the tragic Francoise du Foix who haunts the building with her ghostly procession at midnight each 6th October.
9. Le Croisic
Ideal for families this pretty resort on the Croisic Penisula offers five beaches including sandy options for
making sandcastles and paddling in the sea as well as rocky shorelines for nature lovers to peer into
rockpools and catch crabs with lines baited with ham. There is also a wonderful aquarium to visit here where you can see a whole variety of fish and marine animals from around the world.
10. The Nantes-Brest canal
With a stretch between Nantes and Redon falling within the Loire Atlantique region it wouldn’t be right to leave this wonderful opportunity for keen cyclists off the list! The towpath lining the banks of the canal is ideal for cyclists of all ages and abilities and you can enjoy nature spotting and take in the stunning scenery as you ride past villages and open countryside. Take a picnic or plan a strategic lunch stop at a picturesque town en route such as Blain or Les Chevallerais.
Holiday France Direct offer over 50 self-catering holiday homes in the Loire Atlantique region so there is sure to be a perfect place for you to stay! Plan your next French adventure and get up to 20% off your Brittany Ferries crossings when you book accommodation with us.