Sightseeings 2 h from Nantes

The Val de Loire

The Val de Loire
The Val de Loire has been included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites since 30 November 2000. The listing specifically covers the Val de Loire and the area situated between the two hillsides that border the river between Sully-sur-Loire (Loiret) and Chalonnes-sur-Loire (Maine-et-Loire), a distance of 280 km.
This site is the perfect place to recharge your batteries. Here, you’ll find a beautiful and fascinating cultural landscape, bordered by the free-flowing waters of the Loire. Enjoy the panoramic views from the region’s hillsides overlooking a natural landscape stretching as far as the eye can see.
The Val de Loire owes its elegance and originality to its stone. If you travel to the heart of the Loire region, you will pass châteaux and abbeys, historic cities and picturesque villages, where all around you the Loire stone colours the landscape, with the white of the tufa stone and the black of the slate.
Don’t miss the famous châteaux: Chambord, Chenonceaux, Saumur, Montsoreau, the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud and many more. The quaysides of the towns and villages, built in the shelter of the embankments, offer some fabulous walks along the river’s edge. The major towns along the Loire are also great historic centres, and their names resonate with familiar echoes: Orléans, Blois, Tours and Saumur.

 

For more information : www.loirevalley-worldheritage.org


Atlantic coasts and beaches in Pays de la Loire

Atlantic coasts and beaches in Pays de la Loire
The shores of the Pays de la Loire span the divide between the North and South of France. Between Brittany and Aquitaine, the long coastline is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The Pays de la Loire makes up 383km of the French coast and boasts 208km of sandy beaches. From Mesquer to L’Aiguillon-sur-Mer passing through La Baule, Le Pouliguen, Pornic, Saint-Jean-de-Monts or Les Sables-d’Olonne, there are almost 30 different beachside resorts to choose from.

The Vendée coast offers a sun-kissed holiday in harmony with nature. Savour a well-deserved rest on its vast beaches or in the shade of the pines, and discover Yeu and Noirmoutier, two islands full of charm. Pretty little houses, whitewashed walls and quaint blue shutters evoke memories of ancient mariners. Yeu and Noirmoutier are welcoming for the whole family.

 

For more information : www.paysdelaloire.co.uk


La Loire à Vélo, a unique cycling route

La Loire à Vélo, a unique cycling route
June 2012 saw the completion of the entire route ‘La Loire à Vélo’: a continuous cycle track which starts at Cuffy in the Cher and finishes at Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, at the edge of the ocean in Loire-Atlantique.
It is the longest and most ambitious ‘sustainable’ tourism project of this decade. ‘La Loire à Vélo’ is a major gateway to the Loire Valley. This exceptional circuit places all the heritage, food & wine of the ‘Valley of Wonders’ at your feet (or more appropriately wheels).
The route, which is well marked and safe, takes you through the Loire Valley revealing all its treasures – exceptional surroundings, châteaux, gourmet restaurants and vineyards. You have unrestricted views of magnificent Loire landscapes which make up this UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are more than 800km to explore.
The landscapes reveal a rich heritage of 2000 years of history. To help you with your plans, ‘La Loire à Vélo’ puts a whole range of exclusive services at your disposal, designed to ensure your safety and well-being as a ‘cyclotourist’.

 

For more information : www.cycling-loire.com


Many chateaux to discover

Many chateaux to discover
The Val de Loire boasts many chateaux and monuments that majestically rise from the beautiful tableau of land and water. Emblematic Middle Ages figures or splendours of the Renaissance visit the chateaux of Angers, Nantes, Saumur, Brézé, Brissac or Montsoreau. But, wherever you travel in the Pays de La Loire region, you’ll discover other châteaux, small and large, some privately owned and many open to the public – there are so many to discover!

Don’t miss: the Château du Lude, one of the finest examples of French Première Renaissance architecture, the château at Laval, one of the world’s finest museums of naïve art or Tiffauges, the biggest medieval site in Vendée.

 

For more information : www.paysdelaloire.co.uk


The Val de Loire vineyards

The Val de Loire vineyards
The art of winemaking is also one of the finest treasures in the Loire Valley. The area’s wine producers have created the Wine Route. Along the way discover an extensive bouquet of flavours, colours and landscapes stretching from the Nantes region to Montsoreau. The richness of its heritage and flavour of its terroir can be explored and enjoyed by car, bicycle or on foot along the vineyard paths.
Pays de la Loire is France’s third largest wine producing region, with its sweet (Coteaux du Layon), dry (Savennières, Muscadet) and sparkling (Saumur Brut) white, red (Saumur-Champigny, Anjou-Villages, Mareuil) and rosé wines with nearly 70 prestigious AOC accreditations.

 

For more information : www.paysdelaloire.co.uk


The Puy du Fou theme park

The Puy du Fou theme park
If you like extravaganzas, head over to Puy du Fou. Puy du Fou brings the history of the region to life: chariot races in a near full-sized Roman amphitheatre, soldiers storming a castle, Vikings and gladiators.

Language is no barrier for English youngsters, who love the non-stop action from magicians to minstrels. This outstanding theme park has been awarded an Oscar (the ‘Thea Classic’ award) in Los Angeles for ‘most beautiful park in the world’. The Equestrian Academy showcases dressage performed by 160 horses trained in all disciplines. The spectacles involve jousting, musketeers and chariot racing. Man and horse work together to perform the most intricate of manoeuvres and displays. Puy du Fou is not just for children – it’s for everyone who is young at heart!

 

For more information : www.puydufou.com


Le Mans

Le Mans
There is more to Le Mans than cars and speed. In the impressive and often overlooked Cité Plantagenêt (Old City) you’ll experience a change of pace. The name hints at its British connection with the mention of the Plantagenêt kings, who ruled England as far back as the 12th century. The quarter reflects the different periods of its construction from 11th through to the 15th century. This is one visit that no Brit should miss. In this beautifully restored area you will find the region’s largest number of half-timbered houses, and the St-Julien Cathedral, a Romanesque and Gothic masterpiece. An urban jewel, the town’s historic heart features magnificent mansions and is circled by a remarkable 3rd century Roman wall, the best preserved in Europe. A visit to the Carré Plantagenêt Museum is a good way to learn more about the city and the region. The building itself is a marvel of contemporary architecture that boldly incorporates an old print works into its design.

As well as Jacobean houses and Roman walls, the old city has great examples of Renaissance architecture such as the bishop’s residence: an imposing 16th century structure.
The old city is also a celebrity ‘hotspot’. The authentic streetscapes are in great demand with movie and TV producers. So don’t be surprised if you encounter a film crew or see a familiar face. Leonardo di Caprio was here for the making of the film ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ and Gérard Depardieu made the classic’ Cyrano de Bergerac in the streets of Cité Plantagenêt.

 

For more information : www.lemanstourisme.com


The Royal Abbey of Fontevraud – outstanding religious heritage

The Royal Abbey of Fontevraud
Founded in the 12th century, the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud is the largest monastic complex in Europe. Triumphant witness to a rich past, it offers visitors a stunning assortment of architectural styles. A burial place for Plantagenet monarchs, it houses the gisants (funerary sculptures) of Henry II, Richard the Lionheart, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Isabelle of Angoulême. In addition to visiting an exceptional site, you also have the opportunity to experience a varied cultural programme: exhibitions, concerts, conferences, meetings, film screenings, etc. Large periodic events punctuate the year, blending shows and creations by artists in residence, debates and animated film shows.

 

For more information : www.abbayedefontevraud.com


Angers

Angers
Charming architecture, refined cuisine, renowned vineyards, festivals and monuments, superb parks and gardens Angers surprises visitors with its wealth of heritage and the quality of its lifestyle. Take a walk through time in its historic centre. Much of it is now pedestrianised and cobbled. Many of the sites of interest are near each other, so it is an easy stroll to visit the main tourist and cultural highlights.

The castle is a focal point from which you can admire the magnificent view of the Maine River. This imposing fortress, flanked by 17 towers, conceals a magnificent château and gardens. The château is famous for its 14th century religious artwork, in particular the ‘Tapestry of the Apocalypse’ which stretches an impressive 103 metres.

There are other notable buildings to add to your itinerary: the Beaux-Arts Museum, housing paintings from some of France’s most popular classical artists; the Jean Lurçat and Cointreau museums; the Galerie David Angers showing the renowned local artist’s sculptures; the Collegiate Church of Saint-Martin, the oldest church in Angers… and don’t miss the ‘Maison d’Adam’, a stylish timber framed house adorned with carvings.

The popular university ensures a large number of young inhabitants and contributes to the lively café scene.

 

For more information : www.angersloiretourisme.com


River tourism – all hands on deck!

River tourism - all hands on deck!
Take some time this summer to enjoy the water; a cool river is the perfect tonic when the weather turns hot! You can pilot your way through a network of 375 km of navigable rivers to satiate your desire for aquatic adventure. It’s easy to hire a boat for two, for a family or a group of friends. You don’t even need a license.
There are 5 boat-hire companies who offer their services so that you can explore the various Pays de la Loire waterways (Mayenne, Sarthe, Maine, Erdre and the Nantes to Brest Canal). A team of professionals will take you through the essentials of river navigation. They’ll teach you how to navigate, go through the locks with the help of the lock-keepers and how to moor overnight at your chosen riverside villages.

Make yourself at home! You’re the captain of a handsome boat with all the amenities of a holiday home: spacious cabins; sheets and duvets provided; bathroom with toilet and shower; fully equipped kitchenette and much more. Everything is designed for your comfort on board – not to mention the sun deck and sliding sunroof so you can enjoy the scenery whilst topping up your tan!

 

For more information : www.paysdelaloire.co.uk


Golfer’s paradise

Golfer’s paradise
Pays de la Loire is a typical golfer’s paradise.
The region is home to 30 golf courses (14 in Loire- Atlantique, 9 in Anjou, 6 in Vendée, 4 in the Sarthe and 1 in Mayenne). Some of the best 18 holes in France can be counted amongst them, such as La Bretesche in Missillac, which surrounds the ruins of the castle. A stone’s throw away is Saint-André-des-Eaux is France’s largest golf course on some 220 ha, with 3, 9 and 18 hole courses. There are also some more rural courses like St-Jean-des-Mauvrets or Solesmes, so there’s something for everyone.

 

For more information : www.ligue-golf-paysdelaloire.asso.fr