sunset with cyclist shadow
atlantic coast ocean and loire river
Côte sauvage sur la presqu'île de Guérande
The Saint-Nazaire Bridge (Le pont de Saint-Nazaire)
Vol sur la cote atlantique, estuaire de la Loire et marais salant
Aerial photo of Guerande salt marshes
Fishing huts and nets in St Nazaire, France
Port of Le Croisic in France
Pays de la Loire
From coast to salt marshes by bike
The Côte d’Amour offers many travel experiences but by bike is still best. From Saint-Nazaire to the Guérande peninsula, one coastal path follows another, offering the quiet charm of seaside resorts and the beauty of the tempestuous Côte Sauvage. Riding alone, as a pair or with family, what could better a bike ride to roam the tranquility of the salt marshes, stop for alfresco refreshments and treat yourself to a sumptuous sunset on the beach?
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Saint NazaireSaint nazaire
From St-Nazaire station, head along the old submarine base to reach the coast by the pleasant seafront promenade. The coastal path from Villès-Martin lighthouse leads to Pornichet about fifteen kilometres away. This route offers the chance to discover sandy beaches and steep drops, punctuated with peaks offering beautiful views. From Pointe de Congrigoux ,and via the Bonne-Source trail, you’ll see the villas that give Old Pornichet its charm. Enjoy the terraces of the marina.
Cycle twenty minutes from Pornichet, along the beach in the large bay of La Baule, to reach the l’esplanade Benoît. Book one of the guided cycle tours offered by the Tourist Office to see the best side of this slightly over-urban seaside resort. Discover the evolution of architecture in the pretty neighbourhood of villas de La Baule-les-Pins. Set back from the seafront is the attractive Escoublac forest which can be explored on foot, by bike or on horseback thanks to hiking trails.
From the Baule-Escoublac station, the Vélocéan cycle path takes you to the heart of the medieval city of Guérande in 20 minutes. Via Porte Saint-Michel, access the ramparts and take the main shopping street to discover the beautiful Collégiale Saint-Aubin. Sit down and refresh yourself in a creperie before venturing on to the magical salt marshes, possibly for a guided tour with a ‘paludier’ salt worker. The more athletic have the option of a detour to the busy port of La Turballe and Pointe de Pen-Bron. From Pradel, you’re less than one hour from Pornichet.
Via the large bay of La Baule you can reach the popular village of Pouliguen, a starting point for an exquisite hike on the Côte Sauvage. Don’t miss the little Chapelle Ste-Anne amidst the elegant residences. From Pointe de Penchâteau, you can admire the rocky coast dotted with caves and coves. Cross Batz, whose church tower offers a beautiful view, before travelling to Le Croisic. The beauty of the town’s landscape and architecture demands a complete tour of the peninsula. The Océarium will delight young ones before you reach Pornichet along the salt marshes.
For the return, head to Saint-Nazaire via the inland route. Alternating between cycle paths and shared lanes, the Vélocéan takes you to the Etang du Bois Joalland, a peaceful nautical base popular with fishermen and sportsmen. Arriving in the city, get on foot and take some time to browse the impressive submarine base that offers striking panoramic views of the port. A visit to Escal’Atlantic will give you an insight into the gigantic universe of cruise ships while dreaming of a mythical cruise …
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