Exploring the North Atlantic
Excursion : Nantes > Pornic* > Saint-Jean-de-Monts > Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie
Total traveling distance: 152 km (94 miles)
Trip duration: 3.08
*Surroundings: Noirmoutier Island
--> Pornic > Noirmoutier: 61 km (37 miles) by the D758, 1.15 by car
--> Normoutier Island > Saint-Jean-de-Monts: 36 km (22 miles) by the D82, 45 min by car
Set your watch to nautical time for a memorable getaway along the North Atlantic Ocean. The resorts and tidal islands of the Côte de Lumière (or the Light Coast) are urbane, cultural, active and festive... Get underway and let yourself be charmed!
Acclaimed for its quality of life, the capital of the Great West is a surprising, inspiring city of art and history. Plan your tour of Nantes around these four stops...
- Château des ducs de Bretagne, or Castle of the Dukes of Brittany
From the outside, the château flaunts its military fortress and, from the courtyard, its refined ducal residence awaits. Extend your journey of this estuarine city with a visit to the Nantes History Museum on site.
- Tour de Bretagne, or Brittany Tower
Admire the spectacular 360° panoramic view of the city from the tower's 144-metre summit.
- Machines de l’Ile, or Machines of the Isle
Combine Jules Verne's audacity with Leonardo da Vinci mechanical genius, add a good dose of Nantes' naval history and voilà, the Marine World's Carousel! A one-of-a-kind fairground where timeless giant creatures roam...
- Lieu Unique
Enjoy a drink at this innovative arts and events venue in the former LU biscuit factory, famous for its Petits-Beurre.
Nantes > Pornic: 50 km (31 miles) via the D751, 50 min by car
Pornic is only 50 km from Nantes via the D751.This medieval town in the Bay of Bourgneuf enchants, with its cliff-top residences and picturesque harbour below...
Admire the whimsical villas along the Douaniers coastal trail near Bluebeard's Castle.
Around the bay on a traditional tall ship before visiting the Faïencerie de Pornic, an earthenware factory that creates small Breton bowls with your name on them.
After enjoying a seafood platter at a restaurant in the Old Town, indulge in a strawberry ice cream or sherbet by famous local artisans at La Fraiserie.
Treat yourself to a thalassotherapy session at Alliance Pornic, which offers a spectacular view of the beach, or play a relaxing 18-hole round at the century-old golf course.
- Surroundings: Noirmoutier Island
Excursion to Noirmoutier Island: but a short hour from Pornic on the D758, do like the Tour de France cyclists and cross the Gois Passage, the submersible route that connects the 18 km long Vendée island to the mainland. Once on the island, hire bicycles to breeze through dunes and forests, past the pretty whitewashed villas.
Pornic > Saint-Jean-de-Monts: 50 km (31 miles) via the D758, 50 min by car
Take the D38 30 km towards Saint-Jean-de-Mont, where nature is monumental. Set your watch to nautical time and go! Simply follow our lead...
- Bike paths along the coast
With 26 km of trails through marshlands and maritime pine forests, you might even spot a heron or wild orchids!
- Water sports
Are you and your family rather schooner, trimaran or paddle types? After setting foot back on land, have a drink at the Nautical Base bar and watch the sand yachts sail.
- Tree-top adventures
With different circuits for all age groups, get a new perspective on nature, unleash your inner animal and swing from the branches at Exploraparc, five minutes from the city centre.
Saint-Jean-de-Monts > Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie: 18 km (11 miles) via the D38, 28 min by car
From Saint-Jean-de-Monts, go south 18 km to Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, a coastal town with fishing port and marina. Go from one shore to the other, crossing the Vie River via the André Bénéteau bicycle and pedestrian bridge. Just remember the key word: sardine!
- Observe the flotilla and its catch of blue fish
Sardines, mackerel and horse mackerel, take a lesson in marine fishing, or head to the Label Rouge cannery.
- Île d'Yeu
Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie also organises one-hour sea connections to Île d'Yeu. On foot or by bike, take a break at a beautiful sandy inlet, and follow a seabird mid-flight!
Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie > Sables d'Olonne: 34 km (21 miles) via the D80, 1.00 by car
From Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, go another 30 km to Sables d’Olonne. This city, emblematic of Vendée, is teeming with ways to help you relax:
- Take a bath
Opt for the Grande Plage and its 3 km crescent of soft sand, or for a heated seawater thalassotherapy treatment.
- Have a drink
Hit the "Remblai" for its typical waterfront villas and seaside entertainment.
- Embrace local culture
Explore the fishermen's district with its low houses, lighthouse and other marine mementos, and try to pick up on the Sablois dialect. The nearby saltmarshes, a favourite for birds, also make for an enlightening visit.
- Savour the sea
The Gustave Eiffel-style Halles Centrales Market has fresh fish, an oyster bar, homemade pastries and pretty bags of local sea salt...