Pornic, Pays de la Loire: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Pornic (Pays de la Loire, France)
Pornic is a coastal harbour town situated in the centre of the Jade Coast, as the Atlantic coast south-west of Nantes is known.
It is the port that forms the heart of Pornic, and this old centre is the most interesting part of a visit as you amble along admiring the boats in the harbour, watching the fishermen, and perhaps spending some time on the beach in the town centre: the small beach can become rather crowded but plenty of other beaches are available along the rocky coast nearby.
There is also a large modern casino and several 'belle epoque' villas to see, and Pornic is a very pleasant town to explore. There are few 'outstanding' monuments but a couple of churches in Pornic (Church of Sainte-Marie and the Church of Saint Gilles) and the 'English cemetery' should feature on your itinerary.
Pornic has also made a great effort with its parks and gardens which provide several opportunities to escape from the crowds around the port. Among our favourites, the gardens at Jardin de Gourmalon provide a shady respite from the crowds and have pretty views across the harbour and the Jardin Renoir has nice views across the beach and port.
Gardeners will also certainly want to take a stroll around the Botanic Park de la Ria, an extensive landscaped area along the Ria river with pretty views along the water.
The Chateau de Pornic stands at one end of the port. The castle dates from the 13th century but was significantly altered in the 19th century. The chateau is also known as Bluebeard's castle because it was owned by Gilles de Rais, the famous bluebeard, in the 15th century. The castle is not open to the public but forms an impressive sight, especially when illuminated at night.
You can enter the courtyard of the castle if you take one of the guided tours of the town organised by Pornic tourist office, or the castle itself if you can visit on one of the 'journées du Patrimoine' organised each September in France.
Another popular attraction here in Pornic is the pottery centre called the 'Faiencerie de Pornic'. It is interesting to see how this popular pottery is made, and of course you have the chance to buy examples of this very traditional Brittany pottery at prices we thought very reasonable. It is even possible to create your own work of 'pottery art' - to reserve a place or for other details see www.faiencerie-pornic.fr/activites/
There is also an adventure park here called 'Pornic Adventure' which your children will enjoy if you like clambering around in tree tops (these centres are known as accrobranche parks in France and are found in many places across the country).
You can explore the coastline by following the old customs path from Pornic.
A particularly enjoyable way to spend an afternoon is to take a trip on one of the sailboats from Pornic harbour, which vary from short trips along the Jade Coast lasting a couple of hours to longer trips including, for example, a few hours at Noirmoutier, the Ile de Yeu, Morbihan...
No visit to this part of France would be complete without visiting some prehistoric megaliths and several are nearby, including the Dolmen de la Joseliere, the dolmen du Predaire and the Tumulus des Mousseaux. The Tumulus des Mousseaux, 5500 years old and in the town just north of the pleasure port, is the most interesting and imposing of these monuments
Map of Pornic and places to visit
Visit near Pornic with France This Way reviews
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Address: Pornic, Saint-Nazaire, Loire-Atlantique, Pays de la Loire, 44210, France || GPS: latitude 47.116667, longitude -2.1
Plan your visit to Pornic, Pays de la Loire
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Pointe Sainte-Gildas: site of natural beauty (11km)
- Loire Estuaire: site of natural beauty (19km)
- Pornichet: ville fleurie 4* (25km)
- Marais de Machecoul: site of natural beauty (25km)
- Planète sauvage (parc): zoo or wildlife park (25km)
- La Baule: ville fleurie 4* (29km)
- Guerande: recommended detour (34km)
Market days in Pornic, France
Regular market(s) are held in Pornic each Wednesday & Thursday & Sunday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Pornic (Francais)