Pornichet’s Eiffel Tower(s)
‘So, what is there to see in Pornichet?’
If you’ve asked yourself this question, you’re not alone.
Nearly every visitor who comes through the doors to our Tourist Office asks the same thing, so here are some of our suggestions. But do bear in mind that it’s far from an exhaustive list, this is just the beginning!
Remember to bring your camera or mobile phone so you can take a few selfies as you explore. Share them on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or other social networks, maybe frame a copy for your desk to keep the holiday spirit all year.
And don’t forget the hashtag #pornichouette: it’s a mixture of Pornichet and the French word ‘chouette’, which means ‘great’!
If there’s one place that made Pornichet famous, it has to be Le Bidule. This legendary wine cellar opened in 1946, and the name comes from the ‘Bidule’ or Muscat that is served here by the glass. Naturally, we should remind you that alcohol can be dangerous for the health so please drink in moderation, but even without drinking, you should pop in to experience the atmosphere here and to understand why it’s so popular. It brings together all generations and all types of people. Holiday-makers in their flip-flops sip alongside the locals who have finished work. It’s an informal, sociable atmosphere. People smile at each other, chat easily, and you can even pick up a few insider tips on the best places to go.
The Château des Tourelles
Who on earth dreamt up a château among the rocks? That’s the Château des Tourelles, one of the town’s iconic buildings. Built in the 1800s for a Belgian Baron, this immaculate white structure looks rather out of place amidst the rocks of the Pointe du Bé. Nowadays, it is home to a 4-star hotel and Thalasso Spa.
We’re at the seaside and when you think of the sea, you think of the beaches!
In Pornichet, we have three beaches, each with its own distinct character.
The ‘Plage des Libraires’ is also known as the big beach. It’s the one in the town centre with all the beach accessories from seafront restaurants to kids’ clubs and sailing schools.
Then there’s the ‘Plage de Bonne Source’, which is the longest and a favourite spot for shellfish-gatherers.
Finally, further east, you’ll find the little beach of Sainte-Marguerite, a modest yet charming gem!
The Pointe du Bé
A short walk from the town centre and the market place, this little neighbourhood seems to take you back in time! Stroll through the little avenues, past the 19th-century villas, enjoy the panoramic views across the ocean and over the marina and imagine yourself back in the day when ‘taking the waters’ was all the rage.
Pedestrian zones and urban wooden furniture invite you to linger for a while.
Pornichet can boast not one but two ports!
You can see our tidal port from the seaside boulevard, where visitors love to see the boats bobbing then coming to rest gently on the sand with each rising and falling tide.
As for the marina, its deep waters might just start you dreaming of setting sail for great nautical adventures! Give yourself some time to sit in a harbourside café and drink in the wonderful atmosphere.
The Coastal Path
There are 13km of coastal paths here, following the line of the ocean from the Pointe du Bé up to Saint-Nazaire. Gaze towards the horizon and you’ll spot the islands of Evens, Baguenaud and the Pierre Percée (now a Bird Reserve). In the distance you will also see the Grand Charpentier Lighthouse, rising up almost 24 metres into the sky, marking the entry of the Loire Estuary.
Whether you prefer strolling, jogging or just breathing in the fresh sea air, the coastal path is the place to be!
Ask anyone from Pornichet where to find the dolphin and you’ll be sent towards the train station!
Despite what you might have thought, the Pornichet dolphin is not in the sea but overlooks the Avenue du Général De Gaulle. It’s an impressive bronze statue, an icon of the town and one of which we are very proud.
So be sure to pop by and say hello to Mr Dolphin – and why not take a selfie with him?
The casino is over a hundred years old, having first opened its doors in 1911. It continues to be a legendary spot for local nightlife. So of course, you simply have to go and take a look!
Slot machines, roulette, black jack and more – the Casino is a place to enjoy yourself, try your luck and maybe even hit the jackpot!
If gambling isn’t your style, the Casino also has a lovely restaurant with views across the bay and offers a year-round programme of events and concerts.
This is certainly an institution, as horse-racing began here back in 1907!
The current racetrack dates from 2011, boasting metallic architecture soaring into the skies, wooden decks and a panoramic restaurant that overlooks the track, all in the heart of a wonderful green space.
There’s nothing like the thrill of seeing the horses racing and getting carried away by the supercharged atmosphere in the crowd.
It’s also about more than horse-racing, as it’s where you’ll find the Conference Centre that hosts major events throughout the year including wedding shows, classic car rallies and prestigious corporate conventions.
Le square Hervo
Depuis son réaménagement en 2019, le square Hervo est devenu un lieu fortement plébiscité par les locaux et les touristes.
Les enfants prennent d'assaut le carrousel et ses étranges créatures quand ils ne sont pas occupés à jouer au Capitaine au long cours en faisant naviguer leur petit bateau sur le bassin. Plus loin, leurs camarades s'égaient sur les balançoires ou le bateau renversé sous l'oeil admiratif de leurs parents qui eux investissent le mobilier en bois. Transat ou banc, peu importe, leur emplacement permet de contempler l'océan.
Le Square Hervo est également apprécié à la tombée de la nuit : c'est l'endroit idéal pour admirer le coucher de soleil sur la baie.
Le nouveau boulevard de mer
Pas encore terminé (les travaux s'achèveront en 2025), le boulevard de mer (ou remblai, comme on dit ici) fait le bonheur des marcheurs, joggeurs, cyclistes... Des voies larges réservées aux piétons et aux cyclistes pour se promener en contemplant l'océan, des bancs pour admirer l'horizon et des végétaux adaptés au bord de mer... des aménagements grandement appréciés. Vous aussi arpentez le remblai !