Guerande travel guide

Photo of Guerande

Visit Guerande (Pays de la Loire, France)

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Guérande is a historical walled town near the sea, at the western edge of the Pays de la Loire region, on the edge of the marshes of Grande-Brière. It formed part of Brittany until 1941 but now falls within the Pays de la Loire region of France.

Guerande is a very attractive walled town, on a peninsula known as the Guerande peninsula. Although not strictly a peninsula, the town is surrounded by the Atlantic to the west, and the marshlands to the east, with the Loire River to the south and the Vilaine River to the North.

Explore Guerande

In Guérande town centre you will discover a medieval city that is completely enclosed by ramparts: it is this 'intra-muros' (within the walls) part of Guerande that is of interest to visitors.

Enter the town through the ramparts in Guérande

The ramparts around Guérande date from the 15th century, are over one kilometre long and include six towers and four entrances. You will see them whichever direction you approach the town!

The historical centre of Guerande is still accessed through the fortified gateways in the defensive walls. There are two large elaborately decorated stone gateways in the walls and two smaller side doors, added more recently.

The grandest entrance is the Porte Saint-Michel, which also includes luxury accommodation for the governor of the town and is now used as Guérande Town Hall.

Inside the walls a number of ancient cobbled streets and lots of attractive buildings radiate around the centre of the town eventually leading to the more open areas around the impressive Collegiate Church of Saint Aubin. You will also find several bars and restaurants with outdoor eating areas here in the centre of Guerande.


The collegiale church that you see dominating the town centre is largely a 14th century rebuilding of the church in the gothic style, although some parts of the earlier roman style church that previously stood here can still be seen, such as some columns and capital stones in the nave.

Inside the church there are some elaborately carved altars in the chapels, and some very richly coloured stained glass windows added around the 16th century.

Elsewhere in Guerande you can see the Chapel Notre-Dame-la-Blanche: this is the oldest building in the town, having been built in the 13th century in the gothic style.

There are some grand 16th century townhouses, and lots of small 'gift' shops. There are also a few cafes near the centre.

There are two museums in Guerande - the castle museum (in one of the fortified gateways) and a doll museum. Be sure to find the doll museum even if you don't plan to go in, it is in the 16th century Chapelle Saint Jean, a building with an interesting history that functioned as a hospital for almost 350 years through the late medieval period.

Cafes in the historic centre of Guerande

Attractions nearby

The area around Guerande is best known for the salt flats which have provided the town with several centuries of wealth. The salt drying pans can be seen on many of the river inlets in the region, where the salt is dried and harvested using traditional methods.

There is a 'salt museum' to visit if you are interested in learning more about the importance of this industry to the history of Guerande.

To the east of Guerande you can explore the canals and waterways, marshes and cottages, of the Briere Natural Regional Parc.

If you would like to spend the afternoon at the beach after exploring the history of Guerande we suggest the resort of La Baule, an attractive beach and upmarket resort just a few kilometres from Guerande and part of the Cote d'Amour.

You can find more travel ideas in the Loire-Atlantique guide and the Pays de la Loire guide.

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Map of Guerande and places nearby


Visit near Guerande with France This Way reviews

La Baule

La Baule

La Baule-Escoblac is a very pleasant and popular resort with a long sandy beach - a toch of the French riviera in the north-west!

La Baule guide
Le Pouliguen

Le Pouliguen

If you visit the beach resort of Le Pouligueun be sure to follow the path that leads to the coastal caves

Le Pouliguen guide
La Turballe

La Turballe

Less developed than some resorts here, the centre of activity in La Turballe is the long sandy beach

La Turballe guide


The resort at Batz-sur-Mer is much quiter and smaller than many nearby, ideal if you prefer to avoid excessive crowds!

Batz-sur-Mer guide
Le Croisic

Le Croisic

One of the nicest fishing harbour towns in the region, Le Croisic is a lovely place to stroll around

Le Croisic guide


The emphasis in Pornichet, immediately south of La Baule, is most certainly based around the long and sandy beach

Pornichet guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Loire-Atlantique

Tourist classifications for Guerande

Guerande has received the following tourist classifications: recommended detour town (plus beau detour); historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé); listed town of Art and History

Address: Guérande, Saint-Nazaire, Pays de la Loire, 44350, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 47.327, longitude -2.429

Plan your visit to Guerande, Loire-Atlantique

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • La Baule: ville fleurie 4* (5 km)
  • Pornichet: ville fleurie 4* (9 km)
  • Marais Salants de Guérande: site of natural beauty (9 km)
  • Briere: regional natural parc (14 km)
  • Loire Estuaire: site of natural beauty (23 km)
  • Pointe Sainte-Gildas: site of natural beauty (26 km)
  • Parc zoologique du château de Branféré: zoo or wildlife park (30 km)
  • Presqu'île de Rhuys: site of natural beauty (34 km)
  • Marais de Vilaine: site of natural beauty (36 km)
  • Passage Saint-Armel: site of natural beauty (36 km)
  • Embouchure - Rivière de Noyalo: site of natural beauty (36 km)
  • Presqu'île de la Villeneuve: site of natural beauty (37 km)

Market days in Guerande, France

Regular market(s) are held in Guerande each Wednesday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Guerande (Francais)