Explore the Jade Coast, with Pornic and Les Moutiers-en-Retz
The Jade Coast (Côte de Jade) is the attractive name given to the coast in the western Loire-Atlantique department of western France, to the south of the Loire estuary and north of Bourgneuf Bay - that is, the coast to the west of Nantes.
The Jade coast can also be reached from Saint-Nazaire to the north by crossing the Loire Estuary on the longest bridge in France, 3.3 kilometres long.
Exploring the Jade Coast
The principal towns and beach resorts are at Saint-Brévin-les-Pins to the north (near Saint-Nazaire), Pornic (in the central part of the region) and Les Moutiers-en-Retz (at the southern end of the Jade Coast).
Many of the beaches here have received the 'Blue Flag' award for cleanliness and facilities, and the whole Jade coast is very popular with several very busy seaside resorts along the coast, as well as more traditional fishing harbours and smaller resorts.
The most westerly part of the Jade coast is the Pointe Saint-Gildas near Préfailles, the main headland along this section of coast and officially listed as a 'site of natural beauty'. This is also the scenic highlight of your visit with views across the Loire Estuary and Bourgneuf Bay, as well as a museum dedicated to semaphore
- the coast north of Pointe Saint-Gildas between Saint-Brévin-les-Pins and La Plaine-sur-Mer and including Saint-Michel-Chef-Chef and Tharon Plage consists largely of long, gently sloping sandy beaches
- the coast to the south of the Pointe Saint-Gildas between La Plaine-sur-Mer and Les Moutiers-en-Retz, with Préfailles, Sainte-Marie-sur-Mer, Pornic and La Bernerie-en-Retz is more rugged with smaller beaches separated by rocky coves.
Pornic is our favourite destination on the Jade coast, with a castle and an attractive harbour to explore.
The Jade coast attracts many holidaymakers, both French and from abroad, and parts of the coast have been rather over-developed - but be persistent, there is plenty of coastline here and much of it is attractive. If time and energy permit the customs footpath along the coast is a pleasant way to explore the region.
Note that the coast north of the Loire estuary towards Brittany is referred to as the Cote d'Amour, and also has several popular seaside resorts and fishing villages.