Official tourism website of Lorient South Brittany
Ria d'Etel, oysters, beaches and hiking
The Ria d’Etel is also the name of the river Etel that meanders and folds through the land, creating wild creeks and ponds subject to the rhythm of the tides. Around the Ria are seven charming and hospitable towns: Belz, Etel, Landévant, Locoal-Mendon, Nostang, Plouhinec, Sainte-Hélène. Between the bay of Lorient and the Ria, you will also find the communes of Kervignac and Merlevenez.
You will enjoy a stroll along the dunes of the Grand Site de France Dunes Sauvages in Plouhinec, and the landscape at the impressive Barre d’Etel. At Sainte Hélène, at the old chapel, you can choose a paddleboard or a kayak to get up close to the rich nature to be found in the ria d’Etel. In Belz, not far from the Pont-Lorois, don’t miss the tiny island of Saint-Cado and its famous stone house with blue shutters. Here, you must check out the oyster beds and bring back a couple of baskets of oysters from the Etel river!
The Ria d'Etel in Lorient
Plouhinec is a town that deserves to be called a seaside resort. Some of our favourite places are the port du Vieux passage in front of Etel, on the river.
Also, visit Nestadio, with its chapelle Saint Guillaume and the famous Tasting Session of the same name. This oyster farm offers a magnificent view over the Ria and Saint Cado. It’s a gourmet stop not to be missed by lovers of ultra-fresh oysters and other shellfish! Booking essential!
Push on to the plage du Magouëro located on the Grand Site de France Dunes Sauvages de Gâvres à Quiberon.
Sainte-Hélène has 14 kilometres of coastline and offers panoramic views over the heart of the Ria. Stop for a picnic at the pointe de la Vieille Chapelle. This is paradise for birdwatchers.
There are a few oyster farms open for tasting of ultra-fresh products direct from the Ria such as Le Creff for example! Not forgetting the crêperie Ty Forn, one of the few restaurants serving the traditional “kig ha farz” once a month. Don’t forget to book though!
The Ria d'Etel in Auray
Once upon a time, Etel was the leading tuna fishing port on the Atlantic coast. The Tuna Boat Museum commemorates this past, as does the traditional Tuna Festival held every year at the end of July. If you fancy some fish, we recommend a stop at the famous “Bistrot à Thon”!
In recent decades, the municipality has seen the development of boating and seaside activities. For a dose of nature, the emblematic “Barre d’Etel” is a must-see, as is the Grand Site de France Dunes Sauvages de Gâvres à Quiberon.
Low tide is the right time for sand fishing to collect clams, winkles and cockles. At high tide, head to the small beaches of Kerispern, Kerhuen, Saint-Cado and Ninézur for a swim in the Ria d’Etel.
Don’t miss the jewel of the Ria: the famous house with blue shutters on the island of Nichtarguer. Standing alone on its island in the middle of the Ria, it is loved by many a professional or amateur photographer…
Several coastal paths and sunken paths criss-cross the community with many architectural delights.
Located on the banks of the ria d’Etel, Locoal-Mendon is a commune that is both rural and maritime. In Locoal, there are traces of the revolutionary period to be found by following the sunken path and the hideout of the Cadoudal chouan.
Landévant is located at the northern tip of the ria d’Etel. It has many hiking trails and a great collection of historical architectural and religious sights.