Holiday in Southern Brittany on the Loire-Atlantique Coast

You know you reached southern Brittany once you have arrived in Loire-Altantique. This is a land flatter than other parts of Brittany with a coastline stretching from La Roche-Bernard to the south of the pretty seaside resort of Pornic. A land of canals and rivers with its large estuary of the Loire river, a Nature Regional Park in Grande Brière, a stunning coastline of beautiful beaches with the glamorous seaside resort of La Baule, and a dominant city, Nantes, Brittany's former capital. Its coast situated north of the estuary is also known as the Love Coast (Côte d'Amour).

From an administrative point of view, this is actually the "Pays de la Loire" region. People should not get confused with the Bretagne region and "La Bretagne". For all Breton people, Loire-Altantique remains an integral part of Bretagne despite its separate governmental infrastructure.

Top Seaside Resorts

  • La Baule
  • Le Croisic
  • Saint-Brévin
  • Pornic

Top Tourist Attractions


Recommended Itinerary

La Baule, famous seaside resort, in Brittany France
The glamorous seaside resort of La Baule

Take a day to explore Nantes, a bustling major city of rich historical past from a duchy to a strategic slave trading harbour turned into industrial dockyards, all combined with excellent gastronomy in this land of Muscadet vineyards.
From there, if you drive towards the coast, you will meet with Saint-Nazaire, a city built around the estuary of the Loire river and well known for its shipyards where its latest prestigious cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2, was built. Like Lorient and Brest, Saint-Nazaire became a strategic navy harbour for the Germans during World War II which resulted into the city being totally destroyed. Sadly, the town itself has nothing left attractive but its Discovery Centre, "Escal' Atlantic", based in the restored naval bonkers, is definetively worth a visit. It will allow you to visit the French submarine "Espadon" mourned in the ex-Uboat covered lock, to enjoy an Ocean Liner discovery experience and if you plan ahead with your passport, you can book a visit of the A380 Airbus shipyards where the mid body is being built.

The Salt Marshes near La Baule in Brittany France
The Salt Marshes of Guérande

Drive then to the Brière Park, a protected ancient bogs environment of wildlife best to explore on a barge, and visit the medieval small city of Guérande, a complete encircled 15th century fortified town with towers, ramparts and four gateways. Drive in is limited and it is recommended to park by the defensive walls. Today, it boosts a number of hand-crafted shops of local painters and pottery.
As you leave the town to go towards the picturesque fishing port of Le Croisic, we recommend a visit of Les Marais Salants, Salt Marshes, one of Brittany's salt production areas, well renown for producing the famous Sel de Guérande used by Michelin star restaurants. If you are visiting in summer times, you will have a good chance of spotting the salt being harvested the old fashion way. In the surrounding areas, you will also find people along the road selling the same sea salt from small to large bags (up to 5kg) at a very good value price along with caramels au beurre (soft salted butter toffees).
Only 2km away, lies the fashionable and rich seaside resort of La Baule, with its 7km of fine sandy beach, it is an immediate attraction for sunbedders and families with plenty of watersports facilities including children beach clubs. Other entertainments are well cared for including a tennis club, an equestrian club, a golf, a casino, a thalassotherapy spa and a leisure harbour. La Baule also offers a diverse architecture with a modern buildings seafront and beautiful 1930's villas among pine trees in the east part namely La Baule-les-pins.


Where to stay


How to Keep Active and Relax

  • Sailing Clubs in La Baule, Pornichet, La Turballe, Pornic
  • Golf Clubs in La Baule, Saveney, Le Croisic and Pornic
  • Fantastic Walking and Cycling along "La Côte Sauvage", the coastline between Pouliguen and Le Croisic.
  • Indulge and relax at one of the Spa Centres in La Baule, Pornichet, Pornic and Nantes

How to keep the kids happy

You need a change from the beach and you have done plenty of sightseeing. To keep your children happy, why not try a few our recommended places:

  • Aquarium - Ocearium du Croisic
  • Animal Park - Planète Sauvage in Port-Saint-Père
  • Water Leisure Park - Parc d'attractions des Naudières in Sautron
  • Escal'Atlantic in Saint-Nazaire, Visit the International Ocean Liner Museum, the submarine Espadon, take a guided tour of the Saint-Nazaire shipyard, and of the A380 Airbus factory.
  • Forest Adventure Park - Piriac Aventure, in Piriac-sur-mer
View full details of all our recommended activities for children

How to get there

  • By plane - Fly direct to the nearest international airport of Nantes.
  • By ferry with direct arrivals to St Malo and Roscoff. Alternative ferry terminals to consider include Cherbourg.
  • By train - The nearest highspeed train station (TGV) is Nantes where you change to the local train network to reach your final destination.
  • By car - drive your own or hire a car - Check our driving guide before you set off.

Don't miss ...

  • Les Celtiques de Guérande, festival of traditional Celtic and Breton music and dance running for several days during August
  • Les Celtomania Festival, festival celebrating breton culture with various events throughout the department during October
  • La Mi-Carême in Nantes, a major carnaval running in the day and night in March
  • Pardon de la Baule, religious procession in La Baule towards the end of August

View our full calendar of festivals, religious processions and other major events

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Brittany Best Beaches
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