Just to the South West of Chateubriant is a curiously English establishment - a maize maze. Each year the design by Adrian Fisher is changed and poses a new challenge. The theme for 2007 was 'magic' and the maze was set around the picture of a wizzard (not that you could tell this from inside the maze). The kids absolutely loved this and it really is a good way of burning off some energy as there's 5km of paths to explore. There's even a bar in there to provide a welcome break!
It's worth checking the website as there are themed days throguhout the opening period from the beginning of July to the end of August.
The Parc D'Attractions les Naudieres is situated North West of Nantes and is an exceptional day out for the kids (including the four 30-something parents in our group). For 8.50 Euros you get entrance to the park which has over 80 activties including slides, ball-pits, roudabouts, pedaloes, bouncy castles, bikes, a maze, swings, assault courses, ball games. The only activity for which there is an extra charge is the go-karting. There is so much to do that you won't be able to fit everything in in just one day and for the kids it was the highlight of their trip (the mayhem on the adults only bouncy castle was a highlight of mine as well).
Picnics are the done thing here (although there is a small fast-food joint) and there are tables everywhere. The local custom is to bag your own with your cool-box.
The park is open from 10am until 7pm and from April until September
Situated in a quiet village about 15mins from Chateaubriant this family run restaurant is a real gem. They serve a 'menu presbytere' which means you have a choice of four or five starters, main courses and deserts plus a cheese course for 21 Euros (extremely good value). The food is simple and unpretentious and varies according to season - it's also delicious!
Madame Petitjean runs the kitchen whilst her husband is in charge of the front of house. He's over-the-top and as mad as a hatter, but once you're over the shock, he's excellent fun.
Whilst we were there (Aug 2007) it was raining so we sta inside, but the terrace garden is an amazing setting for a meal if the weather is fine.
Favorite Dish: The menu is constantly changing, so it's not guaranteed that the same things will be on offer. The snails hit the spot for starters (huge amounts of garlic), the lamb main course was fantastic and all the deserts could be recommended. Basically, you can't go wrong. There weren't any vegetarian options when we were there though.
The sky above Loire Atlantique is clear and, being virtually devoid of major light polution from cities, provides an excellent opportunity for star-gazing. Take a bottle of chilled rose (the local stuff is far superior to the sickly equivalents sold in the UK) and head into the cpuntryside on a clear night. You'll be greated by a truly awesome sight which just gets better and better as you eyes become accustomed to the dark. This isn't a lively nightime activity, but it is very rewarding.
For just over a Euro you can avoid all the cost and hassles of parking in Nantes. Sites around the city just off the ring road connect with the automatic tram system (no drivers!) which then whisks you straight into the heart of the city.
With a bank holiday on the Aug 15th, quite a lot of the Chateaubriant area was shut for the week in 2007. Many of the resteraunts and shops shut for pretty much all of August which can make finding a meal a bit tricky and prove very frustrating.