With a well planned itinerary it’s real easy to zip from Nantes to Mont-Saint-Michel without a thought to the things you might be missing between them.
Here are few places you should consider along the way!
Saint-Nazaire has several nice beaches and an interesting museum on transatlantic ocean liners, known as the (1) Escal’Atlantic experience.
- You might also enjoy visiting the submarine (2) Espadon and the (3) Ecomusée, but you will need to arrange ahead of time if you plan to tour the (4) Shipyard STX, (5) the Airbus Factory, or the (6) harbor terminals.
- I was personally surprised to see several enlarged pictures of (7) The Adventures of Tintin comic on our wanderings. I learned that the inspiration for the port and docks in The Seven Crystal Balls series were from Saint-Nazaire, which English readers might not even realize because it was changed to Westermouth! So you can imagine how neat it was to make the connection between the comic panel and the real life location!
- Saint-Nazaire has an interesting history, especially in regards to WWI and WWII. Along the coast are (8) monuments remembering the sinking of the Lancastria, the French and American lives lost by both wars, and celebrating the arrival of the Americans in WWI with a Doughboy statue.
- Interested in understanding more about why these monuments are here? Read this book review; Into the Jaws of Death:The True Story of the Legendary Raid on Saint-Nazaire.
- (9) Les remparts et la Porte Saint-Michel is a walled medieval Breton city you can walk. If you don’t have time for a tour, you will find this is a good place to grab something to eat or drink in view of the cathedral. This is also the best place to pick up your ‘Flower of the Sea’ salt and cider bowls.
- Here the highlight of your day is a (10) guided tour of the salt marshes, or you can head out to (11) Musee des Marais Salants, a neat Salt Marsh museum near the center of Batz-sur-Mer! If you didn’t grab any salt at the castle markets, there is a grocery story near the parking lot for the museum where you can buy some to take home. My only regret is that I didn’t buy more. Really, it’s that good!
- From apples to cider the (12) Maison du Cidre is a place where you can learn about the traditional craft and modern techniques for making cider.
- (13) Château de Dinan, also known as the Tower of Duchess Anne, is an impressive museum inside of a walled city and less touristy than the Port of Saint Michel in Guérande. Tickets can be purchased at the castle or the tourist office.
- You can download a (14) free audio tour from Official Brittany Tourism site that covers the Château and will walk you through the old town, the Jardin Anglais (the English Garden), the 130 foot viaduct, and the ramparts.
- (15) The EcoMuseum La Ferme d’Antan, in Saint Esprit des Bois, is a 1920s working farm 25 minutes to the west of Dinan where you can develop and test your skills.
- Checkout the history and production of tidal power and energy with the (16) Discovery Center at EDF Rance.
- Château de la Roche Goyon or (17) Fort La Latte is another castled steeped in Breton history, and second only to the castle in Nantes!
Continue your Breton journey to Mont-Saint-Michel