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Guérande - a salty taste

Guérande, the beautiful old walled town that sits on the aptly (if not imaginatively) named Guérande Peninsula in western France, is a town with a distinctly salty taste. For generations the people of Guérande have gained their wealth from the collecting and drying of the superb sea salt from the salt flats of their land, and today this salt is still recognised as perhaps the finest in France. Close to the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the picturesque Guérande is also a neighbour to La Baule Escoublac, said to possess the most beautiful bay in Europe.

Character and charm

Guérande has a rich history and is full of character and charm as only such an ancient French town can be. The huge ramparts dating back to the 15th century completely enclose the old city, so if mediaeval ambience is something you enjoy then this is one of the best places in the region to find it. There are also two museums in Guérande to explore, as well as a church in the centre of the town.

Market days

Guérande has two weekly markets (Saturdays and Wednesdays) as well as special craft fairs and traditional festivals held throughout the season. There are all the usual amenities on hand too, so you can do your shopping in a supermarket if you prefer the modern convenience over the traditionalism of the street market. Or better still, combine the two for the best of both worlds.

Guérande's cafés

Guérande has some delightful eateries too, with some of the most highly recommended being unassuming café type places serving traditional specialities such as galettes and crêpes, many with highly creative fillings and flavourings.

Salt of the sea...

The sea salt industry, which has been of such importance to the town for centuries, is fascinating. Not only can you see this activity unfolding before your eyes as you watch the salt drying in the traditional pans on the salt fields around the town, but also you can visit the salt museum and learn all about this ancient industry. The town's name of Guérande is also connected to salt, as it mean literally "white land", a direct reference to the crystalline whiteness of the salt flats. These days, we know that we are advised to keep our salt intake low, for health reasons, but there is one little salty treat that you really must try in Guérande. This is the local butter, made with whole crystals of local sea salt in it. It's the ultimate indulgence and utterly delicious!

Out and about

The department of the Loire-Atlantique is known as the gateway to Brittany, to which, historically, Guérande used to belong. So if you want to discover this famous part of France for yourself, then Guérande, just to the south of Brittany, is a good place to start. The Loire-Atlantique has plenty of its own delights to show you though, and don't miss the most beautiful bay in Europe, that of La Baule Escoublac, which is right next door to Guérande. There's also the great city of Nantes, which is definitely worth a day of two of your time.

Fresh air and fun

Spending time in the great outdoors is clearly the way to go in this region of fresh sea air and wonderful natural resources, and as you would expect there are lots of outdoor activities to pursue. You can play golf, ride a horse, take to the roads on the two wheels of a bicycle, play tennis, or take up the very French pursuit of boules or petanque.

How to get there

To reach Guérande from the UK you can fly to Nantes or Rennes, both served by budget airlines. Nantes is served by Ryanair and Aer Arann, while Rennes is served by flybe and Aer Lingus. Or if you prefer the train, you could take the TGV to nearby La Baule Escoublac. If driving, take the A11 to Nantes, then follow the N171, known as the "blue route", to Guérande.

Property availability and prices in and around Guérande

Guérande and its environs are popular with property seekers for obvious reasons. The town is one of immense charm, great history and is beside the sea as well, so don't expect to find the cheapest property in France here! That said, property on the Atlantic coast is always a good investment, and rental values are usually excellent.

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Guérande AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Guérande?

Guérande is found in western France, near the Atlantic coast. It lies in the north-west of the Loire-Atlantique department.

Guérande Property Map

IN THE REGION OF PAYS DE LA LOIRE

Pays de la Loire Guide

Pays de la Loire Property Map

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF LOIRE-ATLANTIQUE

Loire-Atlantique Guide

  Loire-Atlantique Map


Population: 14,296


Access: By air: Fly to Rennes or Nantes. By rail: Nearby La Baule Escoublac has a TGV station for easy rail travel. By road: Take the A11 motorway from Paris in the direction of Nantes, then the N171 (the "Route Bleue") to Guérande.


Economy: The economy is based on sea salt, agriculture, crafts and tourism.


Interesting fact: Guérande belonged to Brittany until 1941. Its name means "white land" and refers to the salt that has been the biggest source of wealth for the town for many years.


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