© Arnaud Dréan

Brière Regional Natural Park

Even if Saint-Nazaire is a town by the sea, it keeps one foot on firm ground… or rather in the peat! Indeed, it is part of the 21 towns and villages which have formed, since 1970, the Brière Regional Natural Park. From the Vilaine Estuary to the one of the Loire river, it is one of the largest wetlands in France. Hikes, boat rides, places to see, ornithology, local cuisine or crafts… there’s plenty to discover in the Brière! Go off to explore this exceptional marsh area.

Brière

Regional Natural Park

Welcome to the Brière Regional Natural Park!

With over 122,000 acres of peaty land, canals and endless horizons, the Brière is one of the largest wetlands in France. Saint-Nazaire does not lie exactly in the heart of the Brière but swamps and canals are part of the town’s natural heritage in its Northeastern corner. Both marshland and bocage cover nearly half of the municipal area.

France’s second largest marshland

How can we describe the Brière? It’s France’s second biggest marshland, containing a wide variety of natural ecosystems, home to 900 different plants and thousands of birds including bluethroats, herons, egrets and ducks… Yes, all this and so much more!

But also… a haven of calm and silence! Just a soft breeze rustling the reeds.

These exceptional man-made natural landscapes are an invitation to come and enjoy the stillness that the Brière offers.

Places to see

in the Brière

Land, sea, endless horizons, rustling reeds, gliding herons: Brière Park is exceptional.
Just outside Saint-Nazaire, another world awaits you, and here’s how to step inside.

Rozé port

At the very heart of Brière Natural Regional Park, Rozé Port nestles like a suspended breath, a bubble of well-being for nature-lovers, for anyone in search of gentle sensations and eco-tourism, as this is where you’ll find a natural bird reserve, boat trips on flat-bottomed boats, and traditional markets. Come and discover – or rediscover – Rozé Port and admire the belvedere, which blends into its green surroundings yet offers a  24-metre-high vantage point, from which you can enjoy an outstanding panoramic view over the Brière wetlands. You can even take the cycle path between Saint-Nazaire and La Chapelle-des-Marais (via Saint-Joachim and Rozé).

For more details, simply ask at the Tourist Office.

The Pierre Constant Regional Nature Reserve in Saint-Malo-de-Guersac

Easily accessed on foot from Rozé Port, the Pierre Constant Reserve is open all year round, offering free entry and guided visits in summer (small fee). A terrace with panoramic views and various observation points bring you right up close to nature. Depending on the season and the time of day, you can see ducks and geese, herons and Eurasian spoonbills, wagtails,  bluethroats and swamp sparrows.

For more details, simply ask at the Tourist Office.

The Bride’s House (Maison de la mariée) in Saint-Joachim

On the island of Île de Fédrun, this tiny thatched cottage takes you right back to the world of weddings as they were in the 1800s and early 1900s Explore the Saint-Joachim workshops where they once made orange blossoms from wax, and astonishing, wonderful bridal globes.
The museum has a collection of these bridal globes, which were originally given at weddings. Originally designed to preserve and protect the bridal headdress under glass, these globes then became showcases for family souvenirs.

For more details, simply ask at the Tourist Office.

The ‘Chaumière briéronne’ Thatched House in Saint-Joachim

Travel through time when you come here, back to a traditional Brière interior as it would have been in the early 1900s. You’ll see documents, furniture, accessories, tools and even a bridal globe: everything has been faithfully reconstructed in this one room.

For more details, simply ask at the Tourist Office.

‘Musée de la Marine en bois’ naval museum in Montoir-de-Bretagne

This museum was created by a group of enthusiasts to share the surprising maritime history of this little Brière town, from transporting salt and peat, to long-distance navigation. Locals, known as ‘Montorins’, were also boat-builders, as is clear from the shipyards all along the Brivet, the final tributary of the Loire. The entire transatlantic history of Saint-Nazaire actually began right here, in Brière !

For more details, simply ask at the Tourist Office.

Kerhinet village in Saint-Lyphard

In this tiny village of thatched cottages you’ll find Brière Park’s visitor centre.

Boating

Boating is one of the top activities in the Brière Regional Natural Park. Water is everywhere, lapping at the traditional flat-bottomed boats, ideal for exploring the marshes. You’ll find below where you can embark for boat rides.

All

in the same boat!

Crafts

in the Brière

The natural park of the Brière is bursting with character, a unique breeding ground for creative talent, particularly arts and crafts. People like to work with their hands in the Brière, making, shaping, polishing, kneading and cutting. Using these ancient methods, traditions are kept alive, sometimes with the added touch of modern know-how.

To begin with, there is an unusual wood called ‘Le morta’: this fossilised oak is highly prized, it is as hard and dark as ebony, shaped by craftspeople into unique objects such as knives, jewellery and sculptures. Thatch is also a fixed feature of the Brière, where you’ll find around 3,000 thatched dwellings and there are still some traditional thatchers who continue to work on local roofs. As for local specialities, you mustn’t forget ‘la langouille’, which is a type of sausage made using pork tongue, ideal for picnics and aperitifs.