La Rochelle is also known as La Ville Blanche (the White City), thanks to gleaming limestone facades that pepper the town. Although La Rochelle lost its ancient heart in 1628 when Cardinal Richelieu destroyed it, the lovely old harbour remains intact. The towers of La Chaine and St Nicholas used to guard the harbour using a colossal chain and are particularly fascinating.
Vendée & Île de Ré
Towns and Villages of Vendée & Île de Ré
St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie offers a quainter, more traditional take on a French seaside resort. It still offers boundless beaches, but the fishing port and old town carry an ambience of times gone by. The ancient Church of Saint Gilles is particularly worth a visit.
Les Sables d’Olonne is a bustling seaside resort famed for its seemingly endless beaches and splendid marina. Shake the sand out of your shoes in time for a trip to the stunning 15th century Chateau St Clair or the Vendée War Museum.
Nantes is a city of many contrasts, blending modern, high-rise towers with art nouveau squares and canals. Why not stop for a tipple at one of the fine bars that line the port itself? Or if you fancy stepping into a majestic slice of history, visit the magnificent Château des Ducs de Bretagne, which served as residence for Dukes between the 13th and 16th centuries and is now home to the Nantes History Museum.
This charming island is home to pretty towns and villages, coloured fishermen’s huts and mouth-watering markets. No visit is complete without a trip to Le Marais bird sanctuary and a tour around Château d’Oléron.
The islands chalky cliffs and sand dunes attract a host of birdlife. For those who like life a little less rural, there are charming seaside towns where you can watch the world go by and enjoy a plateful of the famous local oysters.