The hikes and walks will open your eyes to the countryside around you

Flora and fauna of the marshes

There is rich and unusual wildlife in the marshes: herons, white egrets, marsh harriers and ducks. The egret, medium-sized and perfectly white, is sometimes called a white heron. Its blue-grey beak and yellow-toed black feet make it easy to identify.

Samphire is found along the Atlantic coast. Its crisp, salty stalks can be eaten raw, with or without vinaigrette, on its own or in a salad. Samphire can also be served hot, pan-fried in butter with garlic and parsley to accompany fish, meat or poultry.

Plants in the dunes

Few plants can withstand the salt of the embryo sand dunes close to the sea, but there are searocket, sea purslane and various mosses. Mobile dunes are never submerged, but there’s a lot of sea spray and you find plants that resist silting: couch grass, marram grass, sea holly, bindweed, carnations, wallflowers. Fixed dunes have more diverse flora that trap the sand: bedstraw, alfalfa, ephedra or sea grapes, immortelles, burnet…
There are 150 different plants on the ribbon of dunes at Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, including 10 wild orchids and a very pretty tiny plant with blue-white petals, Omphalodes littoralis, which gives Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie a mention in all botanic works.

Forest flora

Saint Hilaire’s 600 hectares are mostly covered by maritime pines, holm oaks and deciduous trees.

Our parks and gardens

From north to south, visit the Jardin de Grosse Terre at Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez, le Jardin des Olfacties at Coëx, the Parc des Morinières à Brétignolles-sur-Mer and the Parc des Genêts at Brem-sur-Mer.