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Your stay in Pays de Retz

La côte rocheuse à Préfailles
Pays de Retz is the name of a beautiful natural region beginning just south of Brittany's Atlantic atlantic port at St. Nazaire, stretching East to the Loire estuary town of Nantes and South to the Vendée.
It is an area whose coast line is dotted with fishing villages separated by rocky coves and sandy beaches.
Inland, the Pays de Retz is truffled with rivers, canals and marshland.
Nature reserves abound in this unspoilt environment with its gentle climate, fascinating heritage sites, wildlife habitats and dozens of typical French villages and towns.
This is a land of lasting beauty, ideal for holidays for all the family, all year round.

Pays de Retz

  • Coastline capers
    The Jade Coast winds south from the Loire seaside resort of St.Brevin (from the Kentish word for 'brewing') named after an 8th century archbishop of Canterbury.
    Long sandy beaches give way to rocky coves around the picturesque rocky spur of ST.Gildas Point to Pornic, a harbour town built in amphitheatre form above a creek, dominated by a 13/14th century chateau.

    Sail-boating, speed-sailing and boat trips along the coast are popular with everyone, while more sporting activities also abound.

    The way-marked Customs Footpath (Sentiers des Douaniers) offers fine views over the bays and provides excellent walking terrain.

    Reaching skywards on their stilts just off the coast, you'll see the curious but very effective traditionnal fishing huts perched high above the waves.

    A stop in any of the pleasant fishing towns is a must for trying a selection ot the best fresh produce the ocean can offer.

  • Rivers to inland magic
    Heading off eastwards from St.Brevin along the Loire estuary brings you first to Paimboeuf, a jewel of a port, for many years a major dockyard, now an unspoilt entrance to one of France's four major waterways, the river Loire.
    A parallel 19th century canal takes you off to the inland rivers and the great lake at Grand Lieu with its vast nature reserve. The excellent sunshine record of Pays de Retz explains the Muscadet vineyards, while the abundance of well irrigated fertile soil provides a wide variety of delicious local produce all year round.

    Add to this an unspoilt, multifaceted countryside just waiting to the explored on foot, horseback, bike or car ; a variety of delightful country towns and villages with history as rich as their cuisine ; plus a wide range of cultural and leisure activities throughout the year, and you'll understand why a first visit to The Pays de Retz generally leads to a return !

  • A clear and cryptic past
    Clearly visible from sea and shore is Pornic'chateau, the seat of the 13th c. Duke of Rais. A faithful follower of Joan of Arc, Gilles (supposedly the model for 'Bluebeard') went on to become Marshal of France before committing rather gruesome murders and other acts of villainy which earned him both the death sentence…and a lasting reputation.

    A more saintly building is the XIth c. Prigny chapel at Les Moutiers. An important stop on the pilgrims route to Compostella, the rich interiors belie the sombre 'Black Friars cowl' look of the slated belltower. Many other churches and chapels that pepper the region are also well worth the visit.

    Less complex but more cryptic forms are those of the Celtic standing stones (menhirs) to the found in the Chauvé region, on the coast and at St.Père en Retz, Pornic, St.Brévin… An English Cemetery at Pornic recalls the tragedy of the Lancastria troop ship sunk by the Luthwaffe in 1940.

  • A good countryside cure
    On land, water, and in the air, sport and leisure activities abound here. From gentle walks to competition hanggliding ; a lazy day's fishing (coast, sea, river) to horseriding over the dunes and on through the polders to the backwoods and beyond.

    Club-swingers will find golf courses, while Animal Park fans will discover the most unusual inhabitants of Retz.

    Of course, there's a lot of sailing to be had, sea excursions aroud the bays and boat trips up the river.

    Well-planned, thematic waymarked walking paths cover much of the finest countryside of Pays de Retz and bring you into closer contact with the life and customs of the region.

    Bikers, backpackers and horseriders will delight in the wide choice of activities and routes available. Whether following the coast or trotting off inland, these treks will lead you to botanical gardens.

    Bird-watches, naturalists and wildlife lovers will enjoy the Marais Breton area with its 200 nesting or migrating bird species.

  • A harvest of festivals

    The arts and crafts scene flourishes here, from local enamelwork, through wood sculpture, to potteries, artist's studios and brass sculptors. For those who favour the fine French custom of colourful fetes in villages and towns, the calendar lasts frim April to October.

    In all, about 1,000 events, from annual village fetes to airshows and the splendid fireworks displays, bring the people and visitors together in a warmly welcoming atmosphere where the tall traditional local head-dresses stand out clearly above the costumed crowds.

    With all the colourful local markets, everyday is an Event somewhere in the area ! Behind their stalls and trestle tables groaning under the abundance of succulent local produce, the vendors and producers provide a joyfully animated natural ambiance whatever the weather.

    Take a tour of the local brewery ans taste traditional beer ; design your own porcelain plate at the Pornic pottery ; learn how salt is produced on the marshes ; but don't forget to try the delicious local strawberries with their assorted sorbets and liqueurs.

    All events concerned with sea and ships, fishing and sea-food abound, but the varietygoes much further : musical festivals and traditionnal 'Fest Noz' run alongside Wine fairs, Harvest festivals, Theatre, street festivals and numerous gastronomically inclined excuses to roll out the wine barrels.

    Mussels and sea-food mingle with the muscles and sea-wise on the menus of so many regattas, to the delight of booth participants and spectators.

'Aux délices de Retz' à Pornic

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Bed and Breakfast 3 stars GITES DE FRANCE
Coralie et Bertrand FARGET
8 La Caillerie - 44320 CHAUVE - FRANCE
T :+33 - +33 608.78.35.93
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