Saint Nazaire is one of the entry points to the beaches of the Pays de la Loire, from here La Baule, Pornic,and Pornichet especially are easily accessable.
It is ,also, a wonderful shopping area with plenty of shopping center in city center and just outside of town. The transportation that I saw (as I come by car) is very nice, buses were running all over the city, even on a weekend.
First, you have a new nice ferry service by LD from Gijon Asturias Spain to Saint Nazaire,
From the city of Saint NAzaire and the tourist office an innovating project with several trajects in bicycles as shown here in French, on the metropolitan area jurisdiction, http://www.agglo-carene.fr/36395869/0/fiche___pagelibre/&RH=ACCUEIL?RF=TERR_ITIVELOS
see to the right column the different trajects available.
The local bus is the STRAN, webpage here http://www.stran.fr/
and here are all the lines available in French, http://www.stran.fr/-Lignes-regulieres-
you have the lines Helyce that goes from the ocean side to the train/bus station at the entrance of town, passing by all the major points
For the bus transport in the department loire atlantique, you can see the lines of LILA here
You have over 3200 parking places for cars, all paying, very well enforce, and even for me that does the car very easy to come in and out, you come in and try the Bel Air parking off ave de la République parking meter with coins or banking cards. You can print this pdf file and have all the info in French and a map of the parking places, several in town, and around 12h30 to 14h30 is free ::)
You have two taxi companies locally, such as
Coopérative des Taxis
45 rue de la Matte / Tél. 02 40 66 02 62
Les Taxis de l’Estuaire
20 rue Louis Blanqui / Tél. 02 51 76 04 04
More info at the tourist link , I have on a new service to welcome camping cars, and I saw a bunch of them just before getting into city center,
You have the Nantes airport at less than an hour from here
Just entering from my area on the N471 you have the train station and a bus station next door too. Here is the local service TER with a nice map and info on it in French
and from the SNCF a site to show all about the train station in English!
You all the transports needs covered here.
the chateau of course in Angers, the Cathedral and old city center are nice to have a good rest stop and lunch.
for parking I do the Halles as always by car drive here, the entrance is on
here they are all
further help use www.viamichelin.com for getting to parking from the road
hope it helps and happy motoring
I am not a train guy but the station is nice and close to city center,you will enjoy the convenience from Paris Montparnasse, and connections to Brittany. The station is again well stock ,and really nice, if feels a larger town, probably due to the nice interconnection available here.
you can see the nice info on the TER site here
for booking use the www.voyages-sncf.com
but the TER site for the region show more schedules and actual station info in French
well heck, sometimes we want to help so quickly we forgot little details. The bottom line is buses inter department are very rare if none n France. You will get by train to les sables d'Olonne and then bus 150 to jard sur mer, however, the schedules they have are for summer of 2011.
Jard sur mer transport info
and the bus company info
you might need to check the lines a bit down the lines for 2012.Hope it helps
yes you come by train at montparnasse paris station, many on the day. Its about 30 kms from Nantes, I go there often but by car. For public transport it is best to contact the city tourist office at Clisson at this email
the map is here
the area is best by car, but maybe if you inquire at the email above they might be able to direct you on public transport. trains here www.voyages-sncf.com
hope it helps
On a bicycle trip you can camp but you might also check the Logis de France web site. They have bicycle-friendly Logis and they are very reasonable in cost. If you haven't used them before, the Logis de France is a chain of small, family-owned hotels in France that nearly all have excellent restaurants. We use them often when traveling between gites. Look for the bicycle logo.
If you haven't checked The Loire By Bike web site, it is very helpful. http://www.cycling-loire.com/
The web site above is a great help in planning and has links to other information. Enjoy your bicycles in the Loire; it's the perfect spot for them.
If you can drive, the best way to see the chateaux is by car. We have taken such weekends with various grown children. You rent a car (and later return it--leave enough time) at the airport. You book two nights( right away--I hope it is not too late) at the Chateau de Collier (See our Tip under Hotels at Centre) and be sure to also have the table d'hote dinner there each evening). Save the Chambord for Sunday AM. On Saturday go early to Chenonceaux , find a place to drive by for lunch and go to maybe Blois in the afternoon. If you have time stop at Chantilly or Senlis in the afternoon. They are a few miles from the airpot. Get a goood map as you will be returning to the airport (and maybe leaving it) by back roads.
We took a camper, but trains, buses or bicycles are just as fine!
On our way back we were unlucky: on a street under construction a small stone hit our windshield!!!! But we were not injured - just had to spend an extra day to get it fixed!!!!
The chateux are all not accessible by train. A car would be is needed unless you want to tour by bicycle.
We elected to take half-day mini-van tours which can be reserved in Tours at the tourist office across from the train station. The advantages of the van tours is that you can see the lovely scenery of the Loire while someone else is doing the driving and besides that, you don't have to wait in the ticket line as the tours include admission.
As you can see on the map the chateaux are are not far from each other and in a half-day tour you will see at least two and there is plenty of time to see each chateau and catch the tours inside the castles.
nice easy to get off the train and walk the city, a walkers paradise. On the TGV atlantique line from Paris Montparnasse
The easiest and most flexible way to see the Loire Valley is by car.
It is a gorgeous part of France and having a car allows you to easily visit your pick of the numerous Chateaus with ease.