Pornic: five not-to-be-missed trails

Circuit les Pêcheries - Pornic
Circuit les Pêcheries - Pornic
Circuit de la Pointe Saint-Gildas - La Roche Percée
Circuit de la Pointe Saint-Gildas
Circuit Les Sources et Menhirs - St Michel-Chef-Chef
Circuit Les Sources et Menhirs - St Michel-Chef-Chef

In dire need of a change of scenery? Of getting some exercise in the fresh air? Destination Pornic has more than thirty marked trails offering a variety of styles and scenery. From land to sea, with marshland and woods, you will love exploring the Loire-Atlantique paths and tracks in Pornic and surrounds. If you would like to know more about the history, heritage, flora and fauna of the Pays de Retz, its guided tours are for you.

Pornic's fisheries trail

This walk starts in the Gourmalon gardens, opposite Pornic marina. The Malmy spring, chapel and gorgeous 19th century residences are the highlights of this charming walk incorporating nature, villas and fishing huts. Opposite the old port, you will find a stunning view of the heights of Pornic, the church and château. Continue your exploration along the waterfront by following the coastal path (GR®8).

Keep your eyes peeled for the delightful wooden fisheries still standing on their incredible stilts. With a bit of luck, you might even get an introduction to square net fishing, a technique typical of the Jade Coast.

11 km – 2h45 walking

Pointe Saint-Gildas trail

Préfailles is a small family-run seaside resort that boasts a delightful hiking trail punctuated with small beaches, coves, cliffs and sea caves all along the coastal path. Magnificent villas are just waiting to be discovered on this coastal walk.

Formerly a fortified camp, the Pointe Saint-Gildas formed part of the Atlantic Wall during World War II: several blockhouses remain to remind us of this military past. You can enjoy this walk on your own, with family or friends. Good to know: there is a two-kilometre loop around the point that is designed to be accessible to everyone, so we can all enjoy the spot and take in some sea air!

7.2 km – 1h45 walking

Trembling stone trail

Halfway between Nantes and the Atlantic coast, the historical and natural heritage of the commune of Cheix-en-Retz will be revealed along its hiking paths. During your walk through this peaceful place in the Atlantic Loire Valley, you will come across the Trembling Stone. Legend has it that this mysterious rock trembles when anyone reaches a particular spot. This 11 km trail can be either hiked or cycled. And don’t forget your camera to immortalise the local fauna (including herons, coypus, ibis, frogs and ducks) on the edge of the marshes or the banks of the Acheneau.

11.2 km – 2h45 walking ; 1h cycling

The grand highway in Rouans

Highlights: marshes, marsh meadows and waterways of the Acheneau, the Tenu and the Blanche… as well as the Buzay Canal that was built in the 18th century to facilitate the transport of goods between the Loire and the Lac de Grand Lieu. This trail stretching out over 20 or so kilometres can be hiked, cycled… or ridden on horseback. A great way to keep things interesting if you want to do it several times! Country lanes, hamlets and paths along the marsh edge... The idyllic setting is sure to delight nature lovers!

Good to know: you will begin this Loire-Atlantique walk in central Rouans, where Le Grand Chemin, aka ‘The Grand Highway’, by Jean-Loup Hubert was filmed.

21.4 km – 5h15 walking ; 1h45 cycling ; 3h horse riding

Springs & menhirs trail in St Michel

Fine sandy beaches, shale cliffs and proximity to the Pierre Attelée dune forest… Saint-Michel-Chef-Chef is a family-run seaside resort that also has plenty to delight board sports enthusiasts. All along this trail, you will see some magnificent windmills whose sails unfortunately did not survive past the early 20th century. Follow the delicious scent of galettes wafting through the town centre and go into the famous Biscuiterie Saint-Michel, founded in 1905 and whose biscuit-making reputation is firmly established.

Not far from there is the Etang des Gâtineaux, a 48-hectare expanse of water for fishing, walking, relaxation and reveries.

7.9 km – 2h walking ; 40 minutes cycling

Slip a pair of trainers or hiking shoes into your bag for a great outdoors getaway in the Atlantic Loire Valley near Pornic! !

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