©Emmanuel BERTHIER
The Brière Natural Park, Brittany’s marshlandThe majesty of Grande Brière and the tranquillity of the Redon marshes

Excursions in the Brittany Marshes

The Brière Regional Natural Park, which stretches from Guérande’s city walls to the outskirts of Saint-Nazaire, is a unique protected area where man lives in harmony with the preserved natural environment. The same is true of the Redon marshes, with the River Vilaine snaking through them.

From Guérande’s city walls to the slopes of Béganne

The best time to come here is at sunrise or sunset, to see the sun’s rays low on the horizon, to explore the canals by barge, or to cycle from one attractive hamlet of little cottages to another. Keen birdwatchers will be thrilled by the many species who find refuge in the marshes. The little town of Kerhinet, the island of Fédrun and the Saint Lyphard bell tower are places not to be missed. Equally magical and very close by are the Guérande salt marshes, with their kaleidoscope of silvery hues, with barely a ripple to disturb them when a heron takes flight, or a salt worker moves around gathering the ‘Fleur de Sel’, often called the white gold of the Guérande area. Then there’s the medieval city of Guérande, northern France’s answer to Carcassonne.

The Redon marshes, at the confluence of the Oust and Vilaine rivers, have an entirely different feel. Here, the steep slopes plunge down to the rivers and their marshes, which extend along the more open valleys and disappear over the horizon. This landscape, where land and water come together, offers wonderful panoramic views in a well-preserved natural environment. Your walks along the many marked trails are made even more enjoyable by the villages, chapels and little pieces of heritage waiting round the corner. Don’t miss the slopes of Béganne and Rieux which act as superb balconies looking over the River Vilaine. Also visit the 500-hectare Gannedel marshland bird sanctuary, and of course the Glénac marshes, a key area in the ‘Grand Site Naturel de la Basse Vallée de l’Oust’, for a superb canoe ride

Easy walks for extra pleasure

The great advantage of marshland areas is that they’re flat! You can set off over fairly long distances without any worries. In Brière, there are plenty of cycle paths that take you all around the marshes. A bit further north, La Roche-Bernard is well known as a mountain bike hotspot. Coastline, forests or pastureland… choose your scenery from the 20 waymarked routes. In total, there are over 550 km of trails suitable for all abilities. If you’re a keen canoer or kayaker, the Ile aux Pies (Magpie Island) is the place for you. You’ll pass impressive scenery as you paddle along: rocky cliffs with a sheer drop to the River Oust, maritime pines, gorse and bracken… And walkers will enjoy panoramic views once they’ve gaining a little height on the Béganne slopes.

Official website of tourism in Brittany