Two days after posh La Baule, Mark and I took another train for a beach trip to Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie.
Funny enough, even though Saint-Gilles is a place I “discovered” fairly recently and where I have no childhood memories, it’s becoming my favourite easy day-trip destination from Nantes.
Saint-Gilles is picturesque, big enough for long walks and always lively. Unlike many other summer holidays classic destinations, locals don’t seem to find tourists super annoying—none of this “you’re invading my territory” vibe here.
This is a place I’d recommend to anyone looking for an “oh-so-French” experience. Once you get off the train station you can walk through the market, then take the lovely, quiet streets around the church or walk through the main avenue packed with ice cream shops, outlets stores and boutiques selling local products (I hope you like sardines). It takes about twenty minutes to reach Grande Plage which is… well, a long, long beach.
If sunbathing isn’t your thing, just order the classic moules-frites (mussels and fries) in one of the many restaurants along the waterfront or walk all the way to end of the jetée de la Garenne, the long pier.
And this is pretty much a perfect day at the beach.