Population: 1.37 million
Sub-prefectures: Châteaubriant, Saint-Nazaire.
Surface: 6,880 km²
Specialties: white wines (Muscadet, gros plant, coteaux d’Ancenis), salt of Guérande. Biscuits from Nantes (BN, LU). Mache (salad).
Sports clubs: Nantes FC (football), Nantes BH (basketball, ProB), Nantes LAH (women's handball), Corsaires de Nantes (ice hockey), VB Nantes, Nantes-Rezé MV (volleyball),
Competitions: 2018 Women's Handball Euro (November and December), Nantes International Jumping (December), Athletics Indoor Meeting (January), Odyssea (Running), Nantes Marathon (April), Loire-Atlantique Tour (cycling, June), La Balle Mimosa (tennis), Women's International Tennis Open (November).
Festivals: Le Voyage à Nantes, La Folle Journée (The Mad Day), Heures d’été, Three Continents Festival, Sofilm (Nantes), Port Zone in Saint-Nazaire (June), Hellfest in Clisson (June), Megascene (Saint-Colomban), Les Rendez-vous de l’Erdre (jazz)
Economy: shipbuilding in Saint-Nazaire, food industry (BN), aeronautics, computer science (Capgemini, Infotel or Ausy). Tourism
Remarkable sites: castle of the Dukes of Brittany in Nantes, Machines de l’île in Nantes, Thomas Dobrée museum, castles of Châteaubriant and Clisson, beaches and bays of La Baule and Le Pouliguen, Pornic and Le Croisic, medieval city of Guérande, salt marsh of Guérande, Lake Grand-Lieu.
Websites / FB / Twitter: www.loire-atlantique.fr, tourisme-loireatlantique.com, www.loire-atlantique.gouv.fr
Parc Naturel Régional du Golfe du Morbihan (Site Ramsar)
LE POULIGUEN (Pop: 4,450)
In addition to its sandy beach (Nau beach) - hence its name meaning "little white bay" - and its wood, one of the major assets of Pouliguen, there are many coves on the rocky coast, and caves that can be discovered at low tide. The most famous is the cave of the Korrigans which led, according to legend, to Guérande and was guarded by a terrible korrigan (monster).
In 2012, the bay of Le Pouliguen-La Baule-Pornichet joined the Club of the most beautiful Bays of the World (World Bays).
The origin of the Pouliguen quays dates back to the 15th century. Completely restored in 1861, they are made of granite and today extend to the end of the promenade built at the same time. The quays of Le Pouliguen took the name of Quai Jules Sandeau in memory of the writer who frequently visited the city between 1854 and 1870. The located the action of his novel La Roche aux Mouettes (Seagull Rock) in Le Pouliguen. Once lined with beautiful houses, the oldest dating back to the sixteenth century, the port has evolved with time. The granite constructions of the golden era of the salt trade have for the most part given way, either to seaside-type villas or to modern buildings from the 1960s. Today at Le Pouliguen, yachting replaced traditional activities such as salt trading or fishing.
The Pouliguen is also the home port of the Peyron brothers, who grew up there before going on to conquer the world of sailing.
The Guérande region is known for its salt. In the history of the Earth thick salt deposits have accumulated and constitute "rock salt". This salt is used in winter to facilitate traffic on ice-covered roads. Salt is used in cooking and for food preservation, but it is also used to produce our plastics: half of our plastics are not made from petroleum products but from salt!
MNHN – Patrick De Wever, professeur
GUÉRANDE (Pop: 16,000)
A medieval jewel located between the estuaries of the Villaine and the Loire and the Atlantic Ocean, Guérande is known worldwide for its salt. In the centre of a peninsula, the city dominates three markedly contrasted landscapes: the blue territory of the sea; the black countryside of the peat of Brière and the white soils of the salt marshes. The real golden age of the city was in the late Middle Ages. At the end of the 15th century, the town had 4,000 inhabitants. Most of the urban wall preserved today dates from that period. Land of salt and granite, Guérande welcomes around 1.5 million visitors a year. The salt marshes, protected and listed since 1996, attract large crowds and make the international reputation of the city. The Collegiate Church Saint-Aubin, in the heart of the ramparts, is the second most frequented religious monument of the Pays de la Loire region. With nearly 300,000 visits a year, it is placed just behind just Nantes Cathedral. Another asset of Guérande is the Regional Natural Park of Brière with its ponds and its channels.
The major event of the year in Guérande is undoubtedly the Medieval Festival, which attracts more than 45,000 visitors each year in May.
HERBIGNAC (Pop: 6,600)
The town is located at the crossroads of the main lines of communication between Nantes and Vannes, Guérande and Redon. It explains the strategic importance of the Château de Ranrouët, a beautiful vestige of medieval times (13th to 17th century), locking the Guérande peninsula, and regulating the salt trade, as well as the production of pottery, since Herbignac was a Breton pottery center of prime importance since the Gallo-Roman era. This activity ended in 1945. Fortunately, in recent years, several potters have settled back in Herbignac where they exercise their talents and exhibit their works. The Château de Ranrouët is being restored and hosts visits and several events.
LA CHAPELLE-DES-MARAIS (Pop: 4,000)
La Chapelle-des-Marais is known for its “Mayun” baskets, rounded chestnut and buckthorn baskets traditionally used by salt workers. The "mayuns", because of their original production, are listed as cultural heritage in France.
LANDSCAPE OF THE DAY
The heart of this region is home to vast wetlands bordered by woods. This entanglement of brackish and freshwater marshes extends as far as the saltmarshes, bordering both the Atlantic Ocean and the Loire estuary. This transitional landscape between land and sea plays a key role in maintaining our biodiversity. Its ecological wealth is also the result of interactions between this environment and the humans who have learned to live in, and live off, these marshy landscapes.
PONTCHÂTEAU (Pop: 10,600)
Pontchâteau can claim the title of cyclo-cross capital in France. The city has indeed hosted in the Coët-Rotz woods two world championships of the discipline (1989 and 2004), two European championships (2005 and 2016), five French championships (1978, 1999, 2008, 2009 and 2015) and four rounds of the World Cup.
The city also hosted the grand start of the 1988 Tour de France and the start of the first half-stage to Machecoul won by Steve Bauer, who then became the second Canadian after Alex Stieda to wear the Yellow Jersey.
BLAIN (Pop: 9,640)
On the Nantes to Brest Canal, near the Gavre forest, Blain stands out with its 13th-century medieval castle, the castle of Groulaie, rebuilt in the 16th century, and part of a defensive system of the borders of Brittany along with the chateaux of Vitré, Fougères, Ancenis, Châteaubriant and Clisson. Built by order of the Duke of Brittany Alan IV around 1108, it became in 1407 the property of the Rohan family, who modified it considerably. In 1918, it was acquired by Marie Bonaparte, a pioneer of psychoanalysis and the princess of Greece, before becoming the property of the town for its protected parts. The castle now hosts many events, the most popular of which is The Archers Jousts, and a museum of ancient printing.
REGIONAL NATURAL PARKS
There’s no big gate here to come in no ris there an entrance free… This “parc” fits the classic description of a “Parc naturel regional” a listed area dedicated to the conservation and “enhancement” of its remarkable natural and cultural heritage. But, here in La Brière, you can go for an outing aboard a flat bottomed boat (or “chalands” as the locals like to call them)! In other words La Brière is above all a green open space, open to nature lovers. Fans of the concret jungle and traffic noise would do best to keep away… it can be visited on foot, by bike or even on horse either in the marsh either in its cottage villages or at the coast.
VAY (Pop: 2,100)
This small town, which is home to the beautiful pond of Clégreuc, is also the birthplace of Eloi Tassin, French road champion in 1945 and winner of two stages of the Tour de France, in 1939 in Rennes and in 1947 in La Baule, where he died in 1977. This solid rouleur, winner of the Grand Prix des Nations in 1945 and team-mate of Jean Robic, also won Grand Prix de Plouay twice in 1945 and 1948. Before this stage ,Vay will hold the seventh edition of the Eloi Tassin Gran Fondo, dedicated to the memory of the local champion.
REGIONAL NATURAL PARKS
Golfe du Morbihan
50th natural Park created in France, the Parc naturel régional du Golfe du Morbihan is a territory recognized for the exceptional character of its natural, cultural, landscape and human resources. Created in October 2014, it includes 33 municipalities.
The Tour de France city-stage of Sarzeau is located on the Rhuys Peninsula which is the subject of a bicycle plan for both locals and tourists. Beyond this, the Park has an Advisory Council which includes about forty independent associations. One of them, Bicyrhuys, based in St Gildas de Rhuys, acts to increase the share of cycling in the means of transport, promotes a safe, fast and comfortable use of the bike through appropriate cycling routes, improves the safety of cyclists via training and information and promote respect for the environment in the transport sector. Bicyrhuys will be the relay of the Regional Natural Park during the stage.
Population: 1,042,884 inhabitants
Sub-prefectures: Fougeres / Vitré, Redon, Saint-Malo
Surface: 6,775 km²
Specialties: Cancale oysters, AOP mussels from the Mont-Saint-Michel bay, pre- salted lamb from the Mont-Saint-Michel bay, Coucou de Rennes chicken, Janzé chickens, Cherrueix garlic, Bordier butter, craquelin from Saint-Malo Sports clubs: Stade Rennais (football), Rennes Métropole Handball, Rennes Volley 35
Competitions: Route du Rhum, Mont Saint-Michel Bay Marathon, Breton Athletic Sports Championships.
Festivals: Etonnants Voyageurs in Saint-Malo, Dinard British Film Festival, Transmusicales de Rennes, Fougères Youth Book Festival, Route du Rock in Saint- Malo.
Economy: Tourism (Saint-Malo, Dinard, Cancale, Bécherel, Fougères, Redon, Paimpont, Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel, Zoo Bourbansais ...), Agriculture (1st Dairy Department in France), Fishing, Digital Innovation (Rennes Atalante), Automotive (PSA Rennes).
Remarkable sites: Mont-Saint-Michel bay listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Broceliande forest; medieval fortresses of Vitré and Fougères; spectacular staircase of the eleven locks on the Ille-et-Rance canal in Hédé-Bazouges ...
Websites / FB / Twitter: www.ille-et-vilaine.fr / www.facebook.com/illeetvilaine / www.facebook.com/tourismehautebretagne / twitter.com/illeetvilaine
REDON (Pop: 10,400)
In the city, the harbor district is like an island, with small bridges, locks and footbridges. The salt granaries of the 17th century, the shipowners' houses, the chateau du Mail and the Richelieu tower testify today to the importance of this district in the growth of the city. Water is everywhere. On the left, the Vilaine and its old quays. On the right, the canal from Nantes to Brest, which crosses the Vilaine with a double set of locks. At the bottom, the large basin with a stream dug with the canal. Formerly filled by bricks-schooners and barges, the port has yielded its commercial vocation to boating and yachting.
In 2011, Redon, which also organizes in early April the oldest Breton classic, Redon- Redon, hosted a stage of the Tour de France won by American Tyler Farrar. Among the riders linked to Redon, we can mention Jacques Renaud, who rode for seven professional seasons - especially at Mercier - and took part four times in the Tour de France between 1950 and 1953 before becoming president of the local cycling club. Charles Danielou, Louison Bobet's team-mate in the Stella Dunlop team in the 1950s and a solid specialist in day racing, was born in Redon.
Museum of inland navigation
Located at the edge of the basin, signalled by two real lock gates, the museum invites to discover the boatmen, which, with the seaport of Redon, contributed to the economic development of the region. A documentary film serves as an introduction to the visit and provides a better understanding of objects, photographs, period documents and models presenting themes such as the daily life of mariners, the operation of canals, the means of propulsion, the river park or Redon seaport.
Department of Morbihan (56)
Sub-prefectures: Lorient and Pontivy
Population: 738,000 inhabitants
Surface: 6,823 km²
Sports Clubs / Major events: Vannes Club Olympique, FC Lorient. Interceltic Festival of Lorient.
Main tourist sites: Houat Islands, Hoëdic, Belle-Ile-en-Mer, Groix. Sainte-Jeanne d'Auray. Castles of Suscino and Trécesson. Carnac alignments. Fortress of Largoët. St. Peter's Cathedral and old town of Vannes. Lake Guerlédan.
Economy: tourism (Carnac, La Trinité-sur-Mer), thalassotherapy (Quiberon, Gulf of Morbihan), fishing, canning, mechanical engineering, early crop cultivation.
QUESTEMBERT (Pop: 7,400)
This small town of Morbihan is worth visiting for its beautiful market of the sixteenth century, the Belmont hotel facing them and an important religious heritage (chapels, Calvary, cross).
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