From the Bay of Biscay in the south to the Celtic Sea off the northern coast of France, there is an impressive collection of French towns and cities that’ll feed your travel hunger faster than chowing down on a creme brûlée or gooey camembert cheese!

There’s some pretty epic towns and cities to explore in France, obviously you’ve got the unique secret spots to visit in Paris or the charming little villages that dot this beautiful country – then again, France even has its fare share of breathtaking caves that’ll have you hopping inside at a moment’s notice.

Take a look at the very best towns and cities that you must explore on the west coast of France.

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1.) Holiday Like Royalty in Biarritz

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Nestled on the coast of the French Basque country, Biarritz is a little gem that’s gained popular attention after European royalty started holidaying here from the 19th Century. Thankfully, you don’t just have to be royal or in line to a throne to visit, though I’m sure it would help! 😉

Unique Spot: That tiny little ‘island’ & bridge!

 

2.) Learn to sail in Brest

Brest is a stunning city in the heart of Brittany. It’s the perfect place to learn how to sail, especially when it hosts the International Festival Of The Sea every four years.

Alternatively, if you’ve not managed to gain your sea legs, take a wander through it’s harbour and enjoy some of the freshest seafood in all of Brittany. Sealicious! 😉

Unique Spot: It’s sea front (to learn to sail of course)!

 

3.) Bayonne

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Bayonne is surprisingly close to Biarritz so you can definitely team up these two towns on a ‘double-date’! I hate to utter that cliche advice of ‘getting lost in its medieval streets’ but honestly, it’s such a little town that you’ll struggle to stay lost for very long!

One great experience is to hire a bike from Bayonne and spend the day cycling the coastline and exploring Biarritz too! Easy peasy!

Unique Spot: It’s little cobbled streets filled with independent shops.

4.) Andernos-les-Bains

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This small commune is oft-overlooked by many visitors to the west coast of France but is actually great to visit as it has one of the country’s loveliest coastlines. Recently, Andernos-les-Bains has also become known for it’s delicious oysters. Take a wander across its shores and delve into its many shorefront restaurants and drink your weight in delicious French wine! 😉

Unique Spot: Anywhere that serves those delicious oysters!

 

5.) Saint-Georges-d’Oléron

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Visit the island of Oléron to explore some of it’s beautiful architecture and island life that time has seemed to forgotten! You can even take a trip to the nearby Fort Boyard which is a one of a kind, French fortress in the sea!

Unique spot: Easily Fort Boyard and its timeless architecture.

 

6.) La Rochelle

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This magical looking coastal city is almost 1,000 years – which can only mean one thing… lots of history and culture to explore! Stroll through the city and try to find some of the cities many 17th century passages and arches that dominate this pretty place.

Unique spots: It’s Game of Thrones-esque walled harbour!

 

7.) Saint-Nazaire

On the banks of the Loire River, Saint-Nazaire is a different type of town in Brittany to explore. Although the town is not as popular as other beautiful towns in Brittany, it’s a great place to start your journey down the coast whilst discovering the natural beauty that surrounds this region.

Unique spot: It’s beautiful coastline just outside the town limits!

 

8.) Barbâtre

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Barbâtre is a little district, perched on the eastern side of a little island. Attached by it’s very own road, this area is the perfect place to visit in summer to enjoy one of France’s most spectacular beach fronts.

Unique spot: It’s pristine coastal terrain.

 

9.) Guérande

11 Timeless Places You'll Want To See On The West Coast Of France (10)Famous for its salt marshes, Guérande is the perfect place to discover a surprise French export (salt)! 😉 Take a tour with one of the many local artisans that still look after these impressive marshes.

Unique spot: Salt. Salt. SALT!

 

10.) Quiberon

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This little commune is based right on the tip of land that juts into the Atlantic Sea. With it’s rugged coast and small little coves, Quiberon is a geographer (and photographer)’s dream!

Unique spot: It’s dramatic coastline.

 

11.) Douarnenez

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Pretty close to Brest, this small commune is a wonderful place to enjoy the unique culture of Brittany. Master your Breton language skills, take your walking shoes and enjoy this most beautiful of communes.

Unique spot: It’s seafront restaurants

chock-filled with fresh seafood from it’s harbour.

 

Image via 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

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  • The Oleron is amazing! I’ve only ever been to Paris and the Alps but would love to explore more of France it’s so close to London too.

    http://abigailalicex.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really is – we actually visited Lille in February and within 80 minutes we’d reached the centre of Lille! It’s so easy to forget how close it is.

      So glad you like it as much as we do Abigail! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Emma

    They all look amazing! Definitly need to go back to France soon!!

    https://dreamingoffithavenue.wordpress.com

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Take us with you Emma! Haha!

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Eleftheria

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! West coast of France is SO SO SO beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I liked more La Rochelle & Saint – Nazaire…..but “that tiny little ‘island’ & bridge!” in Biarritz, left me breathless!!!!!!!!!!! I have to go there….
    My “travel bucket list” is getting bigger and bigger, every time I read your posts 🙂
    xxx

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’re so right, it really is a lovely place to go! If you’re thinking of visiting Biarritz, you should definitely include a trip to the Spanish Basque country too. A very short distance and just as beautiful.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Wow I always thought I wanted to see Paris…but now I want to see the rest of the country too! That castle by the ocean is beautiful!! =)

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really is magical isn’t it Melanie 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • I need to win the lottery! and visit all the places you write about:))

  • sara mcavoy

    Stunning pictures! I wish i could visit all these places!
    http://www.wanderfreeblog.wordpress.com
    x

    • HandLuggageOnly

      They really are beautiful places! So glad you like them as much as we do Sara 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Pip

    OMG I’ve only been to one of those places! I need to get out more…

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Hahaha! That’s another excuse to return, yeah? 😉

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Oui In France

    Absolutely beautiful pics! Great list!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      So glad you like them! France really is a stunning country to explore isn’t it!

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • Those pictures are just absolutely beautiful!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      France is gorgeous isn’t it 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya 🙂

  • Great ideas for some holidays. You should also visit Ile de Re from La Rochelle it is so beautiful and well worth a trip. I spent 5 days there in October. It is gorgeous…

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Thanks so much! Oh, that sounds amazing! I bet we’d love it! Thanks so much for the tip! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • jerry48

    when in Brittany don’t forget to visit the beautiful city of Vannes !

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ohhhh, good call – we will have to check it out on our next trip. Thanks, Jerry 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya ✨