The Atlantic Express
Updated: Jul 23
At only 3 1/2 hours by TGV from Paris, the last-stop old port town of Le Croisic is an ideal three-day getaway
The Atlantic Express is my own name for what the French call the TGV Atlantique. Departing from Paris-Montparnasse, its final stop is Le Croisic, which is also the land's end. Keep going on the same latitude and you'll end up in Montréal. Let's linger instead in Le Croisic. You get off the train, round the bend, and are greeted by the swaying masts of sailboats and a cool waft of sea smells. It will have taken you a mere 3:22 to cross 500km, only an hour more than it would have taken you to cover the 200km from Paris to Deauville in Normandy. Unlike the bourgeois beachfront of Deauville, where well-to-do Parisians can spend a weekend, Le Croisic is a town rich with seafaring history and regional charms. Time to pull out your map? For administrative purposes, Le Croisic and its famous neighboring beach town resort, La Baule, are part of the Pays de la Loire region.
Get your blast of ocean air in a town rich with seafaring history and charm.
Culturally and historically, Le Croisic is unwaveringly breton: the best galettes you'll find anywhere can be had at the crêperie Tante Germaine at 31 rue de l'Eglise. If you have come to the sea for seafood, head directly to the fishmongers at the la Criée (the docks where the fishermen deliver their daily catch). Last I was there, I tried the queues de lotte and found them so tender and tasty that I returned for more the next day. If you'd prefer the fish or seafood finely prepared for you, cross the street and enjoy the restaurant L'Estacade. Before the ocean is emptied of its fish, we'll all be better off getting used to an algae diet.
The coast around Le Croisic boasts hundreds of species of algae, about twenty of which are now used in cooking.
A local marine farm will introduce you (in English) to algae-based culinary innovations. In the same spirit, you can visit a salt farm on the road to Guérande.
The salt trade was an immense source of local wealth in the 17th century. Le Croisic is a tiny peninsula that you can walk around in an hour's time, enjoying both the wild and windy ocean side and the protected port side.
Wondering where to stay? The farthest point offers an elegant hotel with spectacular views: Le Fort de l'Océan.
Maybe you'll linger and not want to leave. Let's find you a happy home there! Contact me at email@example.com