Discovering the most beautiful beaches of the Pays de la Loire, by Natigana

When I am asked what is most important to me in life, I always say that it is the little things. For example, a walk on the beach, a breath of fresh air by the sea or a picnic at sunset.

And when it comes to picturesque beaches and stunning sunsets, the Pays de la Loire region has a lot to offer, but not only that: there are also beautiful hiking trails, breathtaking landscapes, fantastic restaurants and numerous cultural destinations. In the Pays de la Loire, there is something for everyone. The diversity of the landscape in this region of western France is absolutely worth a visit.

The coastline along La Baule and the long-distance footpath GR34 (External link) is among the most beautiful in the region. We strongly recommend a walk along the Côte sauvage. The path, which crosses countless small bays and natural landscapes, makes you want to become the owner of one of those lovely beach houses...

Sports enthusiasts are not left out either. The Govelle beach in Batz-sur-Mer is particularly popular for surfing: early in the morning or late at night, you can see many surfers.

The thousands of salt marshes that seem to stretch on forever make up a unique and unmissable landscape in La Baule. The fleur de sel harvested here is the perfect souvenir gift to take home to spoil your loved ones.

The charming port city of Saint-Nazaire (External link) is located a little south of La Baule, on the Loire estuary. Here, almost everything revolves around boats, as the city is home to the largest port on the French Atlantic coast. A discovery of Saint-Nazaire from the sea is therefore well worth the diversions. On a catamaran along the coast, you can not only admire the port and the city of Saint-Nazaire, but also numerous idyllic coves and various lighthouses.

And that's not all: if you explore the coast on foot, you can discover the little houses on stilts called "pêcheries". The Pays de la Loire coastline is still full of places where you can find these fishermen's huts connected to the mainland by a small jetty. Some locals still use them for fishing: with the large net hung in front of the door of their hut, they can catch fish, but also shellfish in mostly shallow waters.

In Saint-Nazaire too, a walk along the GR34 long-distance footpath along the coast, also known as the Sentier des douaniers (External link) , is recommended. Start from the beach at Saint-Marc-sur-Mer towards Pornichet as the route offers some of the most spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean in the region. Small steps lead down into the lovely coves along the way.

By taking the famous Saint-Nazaire bridge (External link) , you can head south to the coast of Saint-Brevin. There, everything revolves around water sports, whether kitesurfing, windsurfing or sand yachting, which is great for young and old alike, whatever their level. For example, you can book a one-hour sand yacht lesson at the Saint-Brevin water sports centre. You don't need to be an experienced sailor: it's child's play and you'll have a great time. The one kilometre wide beach is ideal for this sport.

A little further south of Saint-Brevin is the charming little port town of Pornic. Ideally, hire an electric bike and take the Vélodyssée trail (External link) which runs along the coast from Pornic to Les Moutiers-en-Retz. This route is part of EuroVelo 1. The Vélodyssée stretches over 1,200 kilometres along the Atlantic coast. It passes through charming little villages and past magnificent beaches, notably those of La Bernerie-en-Retz and Les Moutiers-en-Retz, which are well worth a stop by bike. There are superb bays surrounded by huge rocks. Don't miss the old salt marshes located in the heart of a nature reserve that is home to a wide variety of birds. There are also a few rare fishermen's huts in the area, which make for a magnificent setting, especially at sunset.