7 KM OF FINE SANDTHE WARMEST WATER FOR SWIMMING ON THE ISLAND
When you arrive on Noirmoutier Island, the west coast unfolds before your eyes. The biggest beach on the island extends along 7 kilometres, straddling the villages of Barbâtre and La Guérinière.
SWIMMING AND INVIGORATING LONG WALKS
Flanked by a remarkable strip of dunes and a beautiful national forest, this large, 7 km long beach is conducive to invigorating long walks and to the joys of swimming and water sports. The preserved coastline has several access ways by car, but above all, multiple pedestrian paths. There is so much space that, even in the high season, you need only walk a few hundred metres to take advantage of the joys of the beach without feeling overcrowded.
The beach is made only of fine sand, sloping gently into the sea. This natural configuration makes the swimming here safer, with very little in the way of a current and gradually increasing depth. The temperature of the water is almost always higher (by about 3°C) than on the east coast of the island...
4,3 miles of fine sandy beach © Alexandre Lamoureux
A FANTASTIC PLAYING GROUND
Facing due west, the beach is buffeted by the dominant winds of the Atlantic Ocean. It makes for a fantastic playing ground for lovers of water-based activities. As soon as the wind picks up, fans of sailing, windsurfing, land yachting and kitesurfing flock to the best spots!
At low tide, on high tidal coefficient days, many amateur shrimpers armed with their nets meet on this beach to share a fun experience together. Enjoy a day of shellfish digging and discover all the best spots. But first, learn some tips and the basic rules for a sustainable catch.
Introduction to kitesurf in Barbâtre © Jean-Sébastien Evrard
Sailing lesson - Barbâtre's windsurf school © Jean-Sébastien Evrard
“Help them to discover the sea and give them a taste for sailing” – CANDICE, SAILING INSTRUCTOR
Up until the mid-1990s, you had to know how to swim before learning to sail. Kids could only take their first Optimist lessons around the age of 7 or 8. But what about the younger ones? In 1995, the sailing school in Barbâtre decided to create a Ship’s Apprentice Club open to children ages 5 and up. “Parents often come with the whole family to enrol their older kids in Optimist sailing classes, but you can see that their little brothers and sisters want to stay too. So the idea is to help them to discover the sea and give them a taste for sailing, but gently, without frightening them”, explains a former sailing instructor. Depending on the weather, classes typically last three hours, alternating between exploring the foreshore, fishing, excursions at sea, ropework, drawing flags, and more. “Each activity has an educational purpose, although the main goal is for the kids to have safe fun.” Candice and Alice, young instructors who themselves went through the Ship’s Apprentice Club, would certainly agree. Now 24 and 21 years old, they have maintained their sense of childhood wonder. “I teach like I was taught. I loved the Ship’s Apprentice Club so much”, explains Candice, an instructor for six seasons now. “I discovered it with my sister and my cousins when I was 5. We came back every year after that. We’ve even been renting the same house in Barbâtre for 17 years.”
BEACHES IN BARBÂTRE AND LA GUÉRINIÈRE
Run along the trip of dunes bordered by a forest of maritime pines. Whether you opt for the Plage des Boucholeurs, the Plage de l’Océan or the Plage du Midi, you will have 7 km of pure, invigorating air to refresh your body and mind! Those beaches are the perfect place for water sports, summer escapades and swimming.
The beaches in La Guérinière boast an amazing view of the southern part of the island. Shaped like a cove, they showcase history and heritage through the mills on the Plage de la Court and the blockhouses of the Plage de la Cantine. A causeway runs alongside the Plage de la Cantine. At the base of the residence Notre-Dame de Bon Secours, the low tide reveals the fish locks.
all the beaches on noirmoutier island
Walk in the pines © Jean-Sébastien Evrard
On Noirmoutier Island, the forests are never far from the ocean, inviting you on beautiful and invigorating walks. In Barbâtre and La Guérinière, the scent of the maritime pines often intermingles with the smell of the sea spray. Barbâtre Forest, planted with large maritime pines, runs along the beach, combining a view of the sea with the pleasant aromas of undergrowth. Beyond La Guérinière, the Bois des Eloux wood also offers a place for a peaceful, restorative ramble. Growing out of the highest point on the island at an elevation of 23 metres, this small wood presents an uneven face of truly rolling dunes.