©France, Loire-Atlantique (44), Saint-Lyphard, randonneur decouvrant la Briere depuis le port de Breca au petit matin, gelee sur la Briere.|Emmanuel BERTHIER

The Brière Regional Nature Park

Here, time passes differently

On a barge on the water, by bike or on foot, escape is guaranteed in this labyrinth of canals, undulating reeds and water meadows. Close to La Baule, the commotion of the seaside is far away. Discover the nature all around, dotted with thatched cottages, at your pace.

Discover The Brière Regional Nature Park

Listed since 1970, the Regional Nature Park is home to one of the largest marshes in France, the Grande Brière. Behind the dykes formed by the alluvial deposits of the Loire, a vast 40,000-hectare peat bog has developed, with seven islands in its centre. In this landscape, nicknamed the “black country” due to the peat, specific fauna and flora have flourished. Humans have found the materials necessary for their traditional dwellings.

The marsh calls to you

Between land and water, the barge or “blin” (a flat-bottomed boat) will take you through a particular universe where the roads are canals and the horizons the flooded plains, shimmering in the sunlight. The white water lilies and the yellow irises line the side channels (curées) and shallow ponds (piardes).  This silent water outing means that you can get close to numerous bird species which gather on the shores. Herons, Western marsh harriers, common teal, spoonbills, etc. are familiar sights.

Did you know

Will-o’-the-wisps, real or fake?

Will-o’-the-wisps sometimes dance at the water’s surface. In fact it is methane rising from the peaty bottom and igniting in the air. A guide will show you.

Between nature and heritage

The marsh extends right up to the thatched cottages on the islands. Reeds cover the roof. The thick walls are made of stone and earth. The peat can be used as fuel. The geese and ducks raised in the neighbouring meadows are on the menu. You can even find leeches in family medicine cabinets! The flowering hamlet of Kerhinet has around 20 of these traditional houses, most of them restored by the Park. A typical interior has been reconstructed. Fédrun island, connected to the “continent” by a single access, is a characteristic and charming village. Its picturesque, thatched cottages have a garden, with a barge moored at the bottom.

Official website of tourism in Brittany