Major city: Angers, Nantes
Chateaux and manor houses
Atlantic coastline, with quaint bays and islands
Loire river which flows through lush countryside
This region includes 300 kilometers of Atlantic coastline, long sandy beaches, enchanting bays and little islands like Yeu and Noirmoutier contrasting with the lush, green, countryside through which flows the magnificent Loire River.
This part of France has always been popular with kings and nobles, who built their elegant châteaux throughout the region. Many châteaux have been restored and are inhabited by their owners who open them to the public. Other châteaux open their homes and gardens to the production of "Sound and Light" shows. Exploring beyond the busy valley, tourists can drive deeper into a quiet hinterland where châteaux, abbeys and mansions reveal the testimony of a rich past.
At Le Mans, the annual 24-Hour Car Race attracts visitors from all over the world. Traditional cities such as Angers, Saumur and Nantes provide castles, museums and picturesque winding, narrow streets where vacationers can lose themselves amid provincial markets and busy shops. The Western Loire Valley is also a good place for cycling, hiring house-boats on the Loire tributaries or enjoying a typical candle-lit dinner on a comfortable modern excursion boat.
Places of interest
Art town, medieval castle and its tapestries, cathedral, Pince Museum
15th century castle
Vendée War Museum
Little fishing-port, Naval Museum
11th century Royal Abbey
15th-16th century castle with beautiful furnished apartments
Lovely beach on the Atlantic
Castle, "Douanier Rousseau" Art Gallery, boat trip on the Mayenne
Medieval fortress, Sound and Light show
Known for its 24-Hour Car Race, Car Museum, old town, cathedral, Tesse Museum
Le Puy du Fou
15th-16th century castle, sound and light representations involving over 700 participants
Les Sables d'Olonne
Fishing port and seaside resort
Castle of the Dukes of Brittany, Jules Verne Museum, Naval Museum on the frigate "Maille Breze"
Linked to the mainland by a 3-mile bridge, Musée du Chateau
Maison de la Mariée (Bride Museum), "chaumière Brieronne"
Espadon Submarine Museum, port view from the panoramic terrace
13th century castle, Cadre Noir National School of Horse riding, wine cellars, Mushroom Museum
(Island) - visit on foot or bike, old castle.
In the Western Loire region one can sample such specialties as rillettes, andouillettes, tripes, mushrooms and the regional cheeses of Trappiste d'Entrammes and Cremets d'Angers, Petit Sable & Ardoises d'Angers cookies.
The white and red wines of Anjou and Saumur are of infinite variety. The white wines may be dry or sweet. There are also fruity rosés, both dry and sweet, produced mainly from the Cabernet grape which has given its name to Cabernet d'Anjou and Cabernet de Saumur. Among the whites, Coteaux de Saumur are lighter and drier and preserve their quality well, Coteaux du Layon and Coteaux de l'Aubance, very fine and sweet, are richer and age very well. A large proportion of the production from the Saumur region is made by the Champagne method.