Beach hopping, via the embankment and the bridleways
Best of all, without a doubt, is the vast La Baule beach. Its fine sand sweeps round in a semicircle facing the sea. Paddling along the sea’s edge is great fun; children get together in the beach clubs and grown-ups swim in the gently lapping water, while at low tide there’s plenty of space for beach games. You’ll see people in their striped Breton sweaters walking along the promenade, or jogging, plugged in to their smartphones, or cycling along with the wind in their hair.
Look harder and you’ll see a succession of little inlets all the way along the coast beyond the ports of Pouliguen and Pornichet. Along the coastal path are beaches that are favourite haunts of locals, such as the one at Bonne-Source.
New ideas blown in with the yachts
The harbours on either side of La Baule confirm the resort’s sailing credentials. Sails of all colours brighten up the horizon; this bay is an ideal place to be introduced to the pleasures of dinghy sailing, following in the footsteps of famous yachtsmen the Peyron brothers and the Pajot brothers! For board sports, you can try surfing, kitesurfing and stand-up paddle boarding. The clubs along the quaysides and on the beach offer sailing lessons, courses and boat trips, so you can have fun while you’re learning.
Villas in the pines
Away from the sea front, the landscape changes. From the time when the railway came to La Baule almost 150 years ago, there have been villas tucked away in the pine forest. They’re still used to host large gatherings in the summer. The ornate gables, bow windows and mosaic motifs recall the seaside fashions from different eras. A stroll in the shade of the pine trees, or a guided tour of Pornichet, from the Ker Souveraine hotel to Les Farfadets, is a great way to discover the charm and history of the area.
That special ‘art of living’ wherever you go
Whatever the time of day, leisure is done with panache here! You can see it when the horses are taken for a gallop in the morning, on the terraces of the beach restaurants, during sessions at the spa, and at the casino in the evening. You can taste it too, in the indoor market in Pornichet and the outdoor market in La Baule, and when you go to Manuel’s to try his famous Niniches (a type of lollipop). If you feel like doing something a bit less refined, you can start the evening with a drink at LeBidule, before going for a meal in a good restaurant.