The Loire-Atlantique (department number 44) is located in the region of Pays de la Loire and has an estimated population of 1,219,497 (est 2006).
Situated in north-west of France, Nantes, located on the Loire river, is the capital of the department. Other cities and towns of note are St Nazaire, Chateaubriant, Le Croisic, La Baule and Pornic.
Why you should visit Loire-Atlantique for your next holiday in France
The Loire-Atlantique has vast vineyards which produce the famous Muscadet wines. With sweeping beaches and forests there is something for everyone.
What to see in Loire-Atlantique
Nantes stands where the Loire and Erde rivers meet and was once intersected by the Loire in seven different places, but this has now been reduced to five, most of the old intersections now being roads through the city. Gathered around the cathedral is the old, medieval city with the Château to the south-east. The modern 19th century part of the town is to the west. The city boasts many impressive gardens to please those looking for greenery!
Set on the Loire river estuary by the Atlantic ocean, St Nazaire has a long standing tradition of shipbuilding and fishing and it has gone down in history as the place of the greatest war-time raid (during WWII).
Moving inland, Châteaubriant is a fortress town with a towering castle, half of is feudal and half dates from the Renaissance period. An air of mystery surrounds the castle as it is situated amongst old dark woods and lakes.
Le Croisic is an attractive resort with a relaxed and laid back feel to it. The town is a hive of activity surrounding tourism and fishing. Each day next to the Trehic jetty is a fish market where the catch for that day is offered for sale.
There are many reasons why La Baule has been hailed as the French Riviera of the Loire-Atlantique. La Baule is also considered to have one of the best beaches on the Atlantic coast and the affluent houses are one of the reasons it has French Riviera status.
Pornic is a lovely, small, sleepy harbour town. A lazy place by the sea to enjoy sea food restaurants and historical buildings. The port is overlooked by the medieval city and the Gilles de Rais chateau. Near the port and chateau is the Casino du Môle, a different place to relax!
How to get to Loire Atlantique
Fly to Nantes or Rennes.
The Loire-Atlantique is served by the port at St Malo and is a short car journey from there across Brittany.
The TGV has direct links from Paris to Nantes and Angers.