Gavin May report 2022
The marina is a little out of the town, with a dozen or so bars etc for evening meals. It’s a 10-plus minute stroll into the town which has a pretty, drying harbour and plenty of bars etc for the tourists. A medium supermarket is 25 mins out past the train station, though there is a small shop by the church and baker and Poissonerie by the old harbour. The marina in season can pre-order bread for you. Sanitaires are ok, but not the smartest. Fine walks, better heading south, but you can walk for as long as you can manage!
It’s a bustling, pretty harbour, and the marina is popular.
There is a huge shopping centre out of town but that is a taxi ride if you really need it as it is several km.
Friendly HM staff that even have a small welcome pack.
Pornic doesn’t have everything its own way – the inner harbours (not the marina) dry to mud and not sand and a larger supermarket, if you need one is a good 30 mins walk and the retail park with massive supermarkets, is 10 plus mins drive by car.
The upsides? Well, when the tide is in, it is a very pretty old harbour with wooden sailing vessels etc.
The marina will have your bread for you in the morning if you pre-order. A small castle, turrets, lively market twice a week, a small and expensive mini supermarket in town, along with fishmonger, bakers, small epicerie and a very small veg shop. Some of these are in the small streets near the white stone church by the Hotel de Ville, but not that obvious and a bit tricky to find.
Although the town is 10+ mins walk, it is a very nice walk along the footpath or the wooden promenade hugging the rocks. A small beach at the north end of the marina. A good cliff top walk out of the town, heading both North and south. Cafes etc (only) along the marina front, though Jardin D Olivier (book for sure) is huge fun and great value and it is worth leaving the Solent just for an evening here! Pornic is also a bit of a milestone; here you have granite harbours; south from now on you have sand, sand and a lot more sand.
Gavin May kindly provided the above report – 2021
Pornic is on the mainland and about 9Nm ESE of the 5Nm wide mouth of the River Loire estuary. Crossing the mouth of the Loire is interesting as there are nearly always many large cargo boats at anchor either waiting to proceed up the Loire to ports such as St. Nazaire or Nantes or maybe awaiting orders. We’ve even seen the strange sight of BAC airbus wings being shipped out to sea on specialist vessels from the airbus factory near St. Nazaire.
The approaches to Pornic are usually readily visible and access is reasonably straightforward above half-tide after passing between the port and starboard buoys just outside the eastern end of the harbour breakwater. However, don’t be wrong-footed into heading up towards the castle and the town, because that whole channel dries out! Entry into the marina involves making a sharp turn to port immediately after passing the breakwater.
Once inside, the marina is sheltered. On our last visit there in 2018, we felt the pontoons were in bad repair and the harbour’s wi-fi was almost non-existent. Within the marina curtilage are several good bars, cafes, and restaurants. The rather short fuel pontoon is close to the marina entrance. At the western end of the marina, there’s a sandy cove from which one can easily swim (and have a recovery drink afterwards at the bar overlooking the beach!).
The 15-minute walk into the town is along an attractive coastal footpath passing ‘Blue Beard’s Chateau’, which was built in the 12 century as a fortification against invasion. It is privately owned and not open to the public. The lower part of Pornic is situated at the head of the inlet and has most facilities with lots of touristy shops, a good choice of cafes and restaurants and a station with regular links to Nantes. As is so often the case, we ‘ve found it well worthwhile looking in the back streets for a lunch stop which usually results in a cheaper and better lunch stop than on the busier main promenades.
After a steep uphill walk from the lower town, is the attractive ‘old town’ of Pornic which has been well-preserved with cobbled streets, narrow passageways and medieval buildings.
With thanks to Nick Fletcher 2021