From the Bay of Biscay in the south to the Celtic Sea off the northern coast of France, there are so many beautiful and best places in the west of France to explore. For starters, there is a huge mix of little towns and cities that’ll have you leaping to book a train or flight to this beautiful region.
That being said, if you’re not too sure you can reach the best places in the west of France, you’ve also got a treasure trove of other things to do in France. For instance, the secret spots in Paris or the charming villages of Dordogne are just two of my favourites. France even has its fair share of stunning national parks and hikes in France that are beautiful to explore.
Okay, I’m starting to ramble now, but I really wanted to show you some of my favourite and best places in the west of France to visit. There really is so much to see.
Take a look, below, at the very best places in the west of France to explore. Have the best time. 🇫🇷
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. I mean, if it’s good enough for royalty, it’s good enough for us, right? 😉
Thankfully, you don’t just have to be royal or in line to a throne to visit, though I’m sure it would help. Once you’re here, make sure to explore; Rocher de la Vierge, stroll across Port Vieux Beach and explore Port des Pecheurs. It really is one of the best places in the west of France to explore.
Unique Spot: Oh, and if you’re a cheese lover (like me) make sure you don’t miss La Grappe a Fromages. You will be sufficiently stuffed with the best French cheeses.
Easily up there as one of the best places in the west of France, 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.
Once here, make sure to explore; Cours Dajot, visit the Oceanopolis and stroll through the Musee national de la Marine. Alternatively, if you’ve not managed to gain your sea legs, take a wander through its harbour and enjoy some of the freshest seafood in all of Brittany.
Unique Spot: Its seafront (to learn to sail of course).
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.
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 its delicious oysters.
Take a wander across its shores and delve into its many shorefront restaurants and drink your weight in delicious French wine. It really is one of the best places in the west of France to explore, especially on a road trip.
Unique Spot: Anywhere that serves those delicious oysters.
Visit the island of Oléron to explore some of its beautiful architecture and island life that time has seemed to have 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. You can certainly hop on one of the boat trips that head across, but remember that it’ll take a hefty chunk of your time and might be a little disappointing if you’re not interested in the history of this building.
6.) La Rochelle
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.
Once here, make sure to explore; Vieux Port, explore the Towers of La Rochelle and see the Lighthouse of L’ile de Re. Also, if you’re looking for a little break from city life, check into the gorgeous Hotel de Toiras that’s around 10-miles from the city.
Unique spots: Pop into the Restaurant of Christopher Coutanceau. It’s so delicious and they serve up the best local dishes.
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.
Once here, make sure to wander through the seafront (Front de Mer), see the Submarine l’Espadon and explore the Escal’Atlantic.
Unique spot: It’s beautiful coastline just outside the town limits.
Barbâtre is a little district, perched on the eastern side of a little island. Attached by its very own road, this area is the perfect place to visit in summer to enjoy one of France’s most spectacular beach fronts. It really is one of the best places in the west of France to explore.
Unique spot: It’s pristine coastal terrain.
Famous for its salt marshes, Guerande 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!
This little commune is based right on the tip of land that juts into the Atlantic Sea. With its rugged coast and small little coves, Quiberon is a geographer (and photographer)’s dream.
Unique spot: It’s dramatic coastline.
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: Its seafront restaurants chock-filled with fresh seafood from its harbour.