Things to do in Brière Regional Nature Park
Brière Regional Nature Park is France’s second largest wetlands after the Camargue. To the north of the Loire estuary, this natural gem of the Atlantic Loire Valley offers a variety of activities for a successful stay near Saint-Nazaire. On foot, by bike, boat or horse-drawn carriage, get away from it all and explore an unspoilt natural environment.
Saint-Nazaire or La Baule will be your main entrance to Brière Regional Nature Park. In the Grande Brière Mottière, you will experience life in a wetland area. And you will see just how different your perception of time is on foot, in a boat or while bird watching.
What is Brière Regional Nature Park?
Welcome to this maze of canals! Here, water and land merge into one. In France’s second largest wetlands, reed beds, grasslands, expanses of water and canals form a unique 54,800-hectare landscape. Brière Regional Nature Park was founded in 1970 to preserve the beauty of these landscapes and fauna. Amongst others, it provides refuge for the largest concentration of harriers and grey herons in France!
Visit Marais de Brière Regional Nature Reserve - Pierre Constant site
If you’re interested in learning about Brière’s ecosystem, come to Rozé. Park near the lock, then walk 800 m with the Canal de Rozé on your right and the water meadows on your left. When you arrive at the observatory, you can begin your visit of the reserve. Access is free; only the guided tours need to be paid for.
Good to know: for your convenience, a panoramic terrace and several birdwatching stations are available for all visitors. And if you forget your binoculars, the Reserve’s visitors’ centre can lend you a pair for the duration of your visit.
New: the Belvedere of Rozé
In Saint-Malo de Guersac, a few hundred metres from the Pierre Constant nature reserve, stands the new feature of the year: the Rozé lookout! 24 metres high, this observatory allows you to immerse yourself in the Brière area, offering an exceptional panorama of the marshes.
Particular care has been taken to ensure that this structure blends in perfectly with its surroundings. You will have to climb the 128 steps to reach the top and enjoy an impressive 360° view.
Pure magic: birdwatching at twilight
Although you can birdwatch at any time of day, doing so as the sun sets is a sight to behold. Surrounded by nature, the total silence punctuated only by bird calls... If you are patient, you can see numerous species of dabbling ducks, large wading birds (herons, sacred ibis and Eurasian spoonbill) and palustrine passerine birds.
Our tip: a dusk storytelling walk is organised in July each summer. Be ready to encounter the legendary beings of hidden Brière! Don’t forget to bring your torch.
Barge ride: a must for your to-do list
To uncover the secrets of this incredible natural world that is Brière Regional Nature Park, a barge ride is a must. Barges are flat-bottomed boats. They can easily navigate the maze of canals and water meadows. From your position just above the water level, you will notice cows grazing, still birds, reeds as far as the eye can see, well-concealed hides, and more.
With his pole as the only oar to steer the boat, your guide will share the secrets of this extensive peatbog with you. He will also teach you to recognise a few of the park’s emblematic animals.
There are several places where you can start your barge ride, including Port de la Chaussée-Neuve, Port de Tréhé (Saint-André-des-Eaux), Fédrun (Saint-Joachim), Port de Rozé (Saint-Malo-de-Guersac) and Bréca ports in Saint-Lyphard. These facilities have received the regional nature park ‘Valeur Parc’ quality stamp of approval.
Good to know: in summer, introductory boating with a push pole sessions are offered at Port de Rozé.
Spellbound by the thatched cottages in the hamlet of Kerhinet in Saint-Lyphard
Kerhinet exudes incredible charm! With its thatched roofs typical of Brière, the village of Kerhinet has been fully restored as an example of a traditional early 20th century hamlet. Follow one of the two interpretive trails to discover the magnificent thatched cottages, wash houses and its bread oven. In the summertime, local produce markets are held in Kerhinet every Thursday.
Good to know: the whole of Kerhinet is a pedestrian zone. A guided tour is available through the Brière tourist information office at the park’s visitor’s centre. If you like this idyllic atmosphere, you can continue exploring Brière Regional Nature Park, from village to village.
Traditional: the Brivet museum of wooden shipbuilding in Montoir-de-Bretagne
This modest museum run by volunteers documents the history of Brière’s sailors, coastal trade and the shipbuilders of the Montoir parish, from the 16th to late 19th centuries.
Château de Ranrouët
Marvel at the ruins of the Château de Ranrouët in Herbignac in the northern part of Brière Park. This 12th-century château was strategically built midway between Guérande and La Roche Bernard, thus controlling access to the Guérande peninsula.
NB: the young ones will receive an activity booklet (ages 4 and over) for a fun visit.