Visit Loire-Atlantique, France
The Loire-Atlantique department, facing the Atlantic Ocean, is best known for its coast, including the Cote d'Amour and with modern coastal resorts such as La Baule and quainter harbour towns like Le Croisic to explore and enjoy
Selected places to visit in Loire-Atlantique
The Loire-Atlantique department is situated in north-west France, along the Atlantic coast and around the lower reaches of the Loire River.
Loire-Atlantique: the coast
The main attractions for tourists in Loire-Atlantique are centred along the coast to both the north and south of the Loire estuary. There and numerous small ports and resorts along its coast. popular with French and overseas visitors alike. The resorts also vary in 'sophistication' from rather upmarket La Baule to a number of more budget focussed and camping dominated resorts.
The Loire River divides the department to the west of Nantes, reaching more than 2km across by the time it reaches the coast at Saint-Nazaire (there is a modern bridge across the broad estuary between Saint-Nazaire and Saint Brevin les Pins.
To the north of the Loire you are on the the Cote d'Amour, a strip of coast that historically was reputed for oyster production but is know better known as a tourist destination. There are a series of picturesque villages and harbour towns along the coast which include lively Le Croisic (many fish restaurants) and Batz-sur-Mer.
The resort at La Baule has a very long (8km+) fine sandy beach, backed by upmarket hotels, shops and cafes and is perhaps the Loire-Atlantique coast that is closest to having the feel of the 'French riviera'. La Baule is situated between Pornichet and Le Pouliguen, while to the east is the beach and small town at La Turballe.
Crossing the bridge and heading south of the loire you reach the so-called Jade Coast. A couple of the towns and resorts here include the popular town at Pornic (be sure to walk along the coastal path from here) and the family-friendly beaches around Saint Brevin les Pins.
The department has the active and popular town of Nantes as 'capital' - be sure to visit Nantes itself, it is one of the most bustling and enjoyable cities in France, with a great deal to see and enjoy. The towns of Clisson and Chateau briant are also in central Loire-Atlantique.
A particular personal favourite is the walled town of Guerande, in the west of the department and a lovely town to discover with plenty of quiet streets of ancient houses, and cafes to relax in.
The Briere Natural Regional Parc also covers a substantial area north of the Loire estuary. An area of marshes, canals and waterways the 'Grande briere' is the second largest area of marshes in France (the Camargue is larger) and has numerous opportunities for walking and nature watching in this unusual, peaceful and beautiful environment. the region is also well known for the local architecture, with many thatched cottages in the region.
Apart from the Loire river itself several waterways traverse the department, such as the Sevre and Erdre rivers and several canals - including part of the important Nantes-Brest canal and many smaller canals. Each has its own appeal and charm, and provides various leisure options when exploring.
Towards the north of the loire-Atlantique there are numerous possibilities to explore the woodland of the region in the extensive forest called the 'Foret du Gavre'. Mostly oak and pine trees, the forest is also another chance to enjoy the birdlife of the department.
See a list of all Loire-Atlantique communes
Map of Loire-Atlantique
French version: Loire-Atlantique (Francais)