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History of La Baule

The resort town’s rise occurred at the end of the 19th century as seaside tourism grew ever popular. A number of notable Parisians and Nantais thus had villas built amid the dunes of La Bôle.

More than 6000 villas still exist today, the four villas of our hotel being prime examples. Our neighbourhood of the Quartier des Oiseaux is brimming with period villas, each one more original than the other, and bestowing the town with an unequalled architectural wealth.
Although you’ll be able to admire the villas as you move about, the Office du Tourisme de La Baule equally offers guided tours on foot or by bike lasting 90 minutes to 2 hours.

From the salt marshes to the "most beautiful beach in Europe"

As a backdrop, on one side the ocean and on the other, the historic villas hidden in the pine forest, colorful witnesses of the resort's rich history.

Ranked among the "most beautiful bays in the world", a prestigious tourist destination and a privileged place for the crazy evenings of the 1930s, La Baule is no longer to be presented. But what are the origins of this seaside resort which attracts tens of millions of visitors each year?

The history of La Baule is linked to that of Guérande: initially, "la Bôle" was only a locality where customs officials, the only inhabitants, supervised the salt trade. All around them are dunes and salt marshes. The sand, which has already buried the village of Escoublac, continues to progress. To stop its advance, maritime pines were planted throughout the 19th century.

Railway and visionaries

Thanks to its location between Guérande and the tourist town of Le Croisic, "la Bôle" became a strategic location and it was decided to run the railway there. It is therefore as a station that the history of La Baule begins.

The current spelling originated during the 19th century and is probably due to an error by foreign customs officials. Until 1962, when it acquired its final name of La Baule-Escoublac, it was mainly called Escoublac.

One of the investors in the railway line from Paris, Jules Hennecart, clicked when he saw the immense virgin beach stretching out in front of him: he then imagined creating from scratch a chic seaside resort for families, in the opposite of the Pornichet and Croisic stations which already focus on entertainment and casinos. Other visionary investors and architects believe in the region's potential.

With its ideal location, 400 meters from the sea, La Baule station quickly meets with success. Writers like Alfred de Musset and Flaubert follow one another, seeking melancholy inspiration on the peninsula. As early as 1882, holidaymakers who came mainly from Nantes and Paris were seduced by this authentic resort.

The 20th century: the rise of La Baule

Twenty years later, La Baule saw the opening of its first casino, the Hôtel Royal, which was later taken over by François André. The founder of the future Lucien Barrière group sees great potential in this.

With the First World War, the great history mingles with the history of La Baule: the Anglo-Saxons who discovered Saint-Nazaire during the landing return on vacation to the region after the conflict.

Throughout the 20th century, La Baule continues to charm, with its large sandy beach, a vast play area that welcomes families, strollers, runners and cyclists. Clubs are set up along the beach, as well as hotels and restaurants.

Water sports, from sailing to kite-surfing and stand-up paddle boarding. On the land side, the resort has developed a series of events of international scope such as the La Baule Automobile Grand Prix, the La Baule-Dakar race and the International Jumping of France. 

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