Explore the Loire estuary!
Whether on land or on water, travel the 60 km of the Loire estuary, thought to be one of the most beautiful on the planet. Located in a unique landscape, it is home to heritage sites, natural areas, traces of industry... and a quite a few surprises.
From April to October, boat rides by the company Marine et Loire take you sailing on the estuary. They offer various different options, including a departure from Nantes to Saint-Nazaire. Through the commentary from the tour guide, you'll learn the secrets of the flora and fauna, the waterside villages, aspects of industrial heritage and the amazing artworks on the Estuary circuit that are scattered along the route. Once you have arrived, explore the port city and its shipyards before returning by train, coach or – better yet – aboard the boat you took to get there. As the tide rises, you'll discover a different side to the river!
Here, you can choose to leave from Nantes for Saint-Nazaire along north side of the estuary, or from Rezé to drive along the south bank. The best option is to do the circuit over a day. The route allows you to discover the works in the Estuary collection, such as the giant clock tower in the fishing village of Trentemoult, the Constellation garden in Paimbœuf, the "Villa Cheminée" perched high in Cordemais, the Sea Snake in Saint-Brévin-les-Pins, and more. You will also come across heritage-based and natural points of interest such as the unusual Bethlehem Chapel in Saint-Jean-de-Boiseau, the Maison du Port in Lavau and the Audubon marsh and shot tower in Couëron!
From Nantes, the Vélodyssée and La Loire à Vélo paths intermingle as they border the estuary right to the ocean. Before heading for Saint-Brévin-les-Pins, take the time to look at the works of contemporary art by the river in the City of the Ducs de Bretagne, including Les Anneaux (The Rings) by Daniel Buren, the amazing Lunar Tree or the visionary Station Prouvé (Prouvé Station). Then take the dedicated cycle path and delight in the landscapes offered by the wet zones, the canal de la Martinière and the villages of Indre, Pellerin and Paimbœuf. Arriving at the long fine sandy beaches really is a magical moment.