How about those upscale beaches, La Baule!

Let me tell you about another place very popular with locals but seldom visited from abroad. The thing is you need a car, but is all worth it. This is just south of me and if talking about a beach town why not do it when its 27C or 80F outside and sunny.

Let me tell you about upscale La Baule-Escoublac just south of me here. I have a previous blog post on it and here it is for you: My blog post on La Baule

La Baule-Escoublac is in the dept 44 of Loire Atlantique in the region of Pays de la Loire and part of the coastal Atlantique on the love coast between Le Pouliguen and Pornichet. There was a village of Escoublac from the 10C and twice rebuilt and replace in the 15C and then the 18C. Early in the 19C, investors came here seeking the potential of the bay of Pouliguen and create balls of sand and filled in to create a beach town of 8 km long so La Baule was born. And call La Baule-Escoublac, since 1962 even if can be call Escoublac-La Baule as well. La Baule is integrated into these dunes in the form of stairs that favors massive sand hills or dunes one is 55 meters high, one of the highest in France.

La Baule, for short, is 12 km from Saint Nazaire and 50 km from Vannes (my capital city) and 62 km from Nantes . It is served by the road D213 also known as the blue route or the Route Bleue  ,this road connects Les Moutiers en Retz to Guérande and is a major road on the coastal area of the dept 44 Loire Atlantique. It ends on the extreme west of the road D171; the town is also by passed by the D92 connecting the streets of avenues Maréchal-De-Lattre-de-Tassigny, Bois-d’Amour, l’Étoile, and avenue du Rhuys, allowing to reach Le Pouliguen to Pornichet via the center of La Baule ,and allows reaching the train station. The avenue Charles-De-Gaulle and avenue Lajarrige, are perpendicular to the roads D213 and D92, also, the main shopping streets in La Baule.

La Baule-Escoublac has two train stations one is the La Baule-Escoublac located at La Baule and the other is La Baule les Pins to the east of the town. The line Saint Nazaire to Le Croisic and onwards to Tours takes the local train transport and then there is a TGV service Paris Nantes Le Croisic that takes you to Paris in about 3 hours.

La Baule

train station la Baule Escoublac

The beach is it here, and often call the most beautiful beach of Europe ! Surrounded by the districts of La Baule-les-Pins, La Baule-Centre and Casino-Benoît. From east to west or from Pornichet to Pouliguen you have the beaches of plage de la Grand Jument ,then the plage de la Petit Jument, at Pornichet and the plage de la Baule and after the plage Benoit; there is a foreshore of sand that has great quantity of shells. You can see the island or ile des Evens at 4 km from the beach which a coral island just a bit higher than the sea and has a beach of white sand in a sort of triangle shape. Here is my favorite beach webpage Plage.tv on la Baule beach. La Baule Beach

La Baule

La Baule beach

In 1787, there was a huge storm that damage the littoral and the salt sea marshes west of Escoublac as a consequence the parliament of Brittany ordered a dam of 400 meters long to contained the sea waves, finally finished in 1788 keeps apart the sandy marshes or balls from the dune in the south and still in the 21C serves as support for the avenue de Lattre –de- Tassigny in Pouliguen.  You have three levels of  architecture here, first the grand hotels or mansions, then the villas or castles and then the building and urban houses . You have hotels such as Hotel Mauspha from 1886, and then the Hotel de l’Institut Verneuil in 1896 that becomes the Hotel Royal in 1902 and the Hotel Castel Marie Louise in the belle époque style, the Tennis club build in 1925  as well as the Hotel Hermitage a anglo Norman palace hotel. The villas of  neo gothic and medieval inspiration such as the villa Ker Vary in 1896 , villa des Halles in 1912, and villa Pax. From 1920 the style is Anglo Norman, Basque, and Landais and from the 20C has different styles such as Art Nouveau, Art Déco, rationalism, Expressionists, Futurism, postmodernism, modernism international and from the 21C favoring the environment with natural products. The buildings are  the Le Bellevue Building,  7 floors done in 1928 and then the  Le Constellation (1959), the  Panorama ,and the Les Héliades (1960), and the  Spendid (1962). The  Santa Clara , aka the La Vague on the limits with Pornichet from 1979.

The coastal front  has  200 to 800 meters wide with 6 km long  and includes the sea front area and the neighborhoods of villas . the sea front has a band of 30-80 meters wide by 5 km long . The city center of La Baule has a market, and the avenues of Général-de-Gaulle and Maréchal-de-Lattre-de-Tassigny, the city hall, the train/bus station and the post office. The neighborhood of the beach plage Benoît is on the west of city center and reach the port of La Baule-Escoublac – Le Pouliguen.  The great hotels such as Hermitage Barriere, Royal Thalasso, Castel Marie-Louise, and the Majestic are all here as well as the Casino and the congress center Atlantia.

A bit of history on this beach town is that in June 1917 the coastal air protection squadron 484 known as La Baule-Escaublac was stationed here . The Casino was change into a military hospital . In WWII, the Nazis arrived in June 1940 and infantry division takes permanent residency , the aerodrome was taken as well ; however, the fight is minimal and not much notice.  The city was liberated 3 days after the surrended of the Nazis . The only other major event and much in vogue today by some fanatics, was that here in August 13 , 1940, Lluis Companys, the Catalan Nationalist and President of the Generalitat de Catalunya was arrested by the Gestapo here. He was interrogated in Paris and later transfer to Spain, eventually killed by firing squad in Barcelona on October 15 1940 .

Things to see other than the above beaches are

The lighthouse of Banche or phare de la Banche, the British military cemetery of Escoublac-la-Baule  at avenue de la Ville-Halgand keeping in peace 325 tombs of which 74 are still not identify, and Three Polish soldiers. Many of these soldiers were navy posted on the Lancastria that sank here in 1940 and soldiers that participated in the landing of the port of Saint Nazaire in 1942 on the operation called opération Chariot. There is the Church of  Saint-Pierre d’Escoublac  opened in 1786, at Escoublac, with a medieval style tower. Notre Dame Church built from 1931 to 1935 in the city center of neo roman style, with stained glass in the choir to the Virgin Mary; the Saint Theresa Church built from 1928 and rebuilt in 1972 . You have the Saint Anne Chapel built from 1880 to  1886 and extended by two nave in 1903. The town of La Baule-Escoublac ,also belongs to the regional natural park of the Briére or parc naturel regional de Briére. More on the park here in French: Parc Naturel Régional de la Briére

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to this lovely upscale beach town are

La Baule city tourist page in English : http://www.labaule.fr/en/visits-and-discovery

Tourist office of La Baule : http://en.labaule-guerande.com/la-baule-et-la-baie.html

The department 44 Loire Atlantique tourism in French: https://tourisme-loireatlantique.com/selection/quoi-faire-a-la-baule/

Pays de la Loire region tourist office in English: https://www.paysdelaloire.co.uk/suggestions/la%20baule

Hope it help and time to get some splash around, this is wonderful, the parking if early can be had just on the main boulevard de l’Océan at plage de La Baule. Now all they need is you and me and all. Remember, happy travels, good health and many cheers to all!!

 

 

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