La Baule © Jean-Jacques Abalain
Just west of Nantes, La Baule is Brittany's most fashionable and expensive holiday resort. Like most Breton seaside towns, it was the Victorians that first flocked here to play and promenade in the balmy air. Today La Baule is favoured by the French rather than foreigners, a popular holiday destination for the Parisian upper-middle-class when they need to unwind. La Baule's inviting five mile (8km) stretch of white sandy beach provides the perfect place to acquire a summer tan and show off designer beachwear while frolicking in waters warmed by the Gulf Stream. The locals boast that it is the best beach in Europe, but then many locals make that boast. It is a safe, gently sloping beach with lovely, fine sand and is good for children. The town itself provides other holiday necessities: a casino, plenty of shops and boutiques, and some excellent bars and restaurants. There are some impressive old villas in La Baule and it is worth wandering around beyond the promenade; there are also some lovely gardens and parks open to the public. This is the place for a sophisticated, luxurious beach holiday; Brittany's version of the glamorous Cannes.