A stunning coastline, charming towns and villages, varied natural landscapes, and the Loire River running from east to west across the region to the Atlantic Ocean are just some of the major attractions of the Pays de la Loire.
Invigorating, elegant and unspoilt, the Pays de la Loire’s 450km of coastline is varied and diverse, boasting long sandy beaches, secluded creeks, lively fishing ports and attractive seaside resorts. Choose between La Baule, officially recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful bays, with its Belle Époque villas and the long sandy beaches which it shares with Le Pouliguen and Pornichet; the delightful family resort of St-Jean-de-Monts; Les Sables-d’Olonne, the starting-point for the Vendée Globe yacht race; and the pretty little port of Pornic on the Jade Coast. If you have a soft spot for islands, then why not head to Yeu or Noirmoutier, two charming islands lapped by the waves of the Atlantic which are very different in feel.
Come enjoy the revitalizing effects of the ocean in the thalassotherapy centres (in Sables d’Olonne, Pornic, La Boule…)
Gentle and inviting yet also broad and imposing, the regal Loire River is closely linked to the history of France and gives its name to the Pays de la Loire region, which it crosses from Montsoreau to St-Nazaire, where it flows into the Atlantic. Between these two towns, almost 200km of stunning landscapes boasting majestic castles, tufa-stone villages and famous vineyards await discovery. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes-sur-Loire offers a whole host of natural and cultural sites for visitors.
Why not explore the region by bike? Our “La Loire à Vélo” itinerary is an easy, family-friendly route which allows visitors to discover this charming region with its vibrant culture and delightful scenery in a unique way. The route crosses the Loire region, passing charming towns and villages, impressive castles and monuments, vineyards and nature reserves. A total of 800km in length, the “La Loire à Vélo” itinerary runs from Cuffy in the Cher département to Saint-Brevin-les-Pins in the Loire-Atlantique.
Delve deep into the rich art, culture and history of towns and cities such as Nantes, Angers, Le Mans, Laval and Saumur, the latter famous for its Cadre Noir equestrian school. Stroll along paved narrow streets, admire the castles, cathedrals and half-timbered houses which act as a scenic backdrop, and perhaps stop for a rest or a snack in one of their many restaurants, outdoor cafés or shops. Each of these towns has its own charming character which every visitor will find delight in discovering.
Creativity is also a trademark here, as demonstrated by the giant elephant and “fantastic machines” exhibited on the Ile de Nantes, the urban “Voyage à Nantes” art route, the Terra Botanica park in Angers (the first amusement park in Europe to be dedicated to plants), and the Nuit des Chimères light show in Le Mans.
The vineyards of the Pays de la Loire offer myriad choices for visitors, whatever your favourite tipple! Whether your preference is for dry, sweet or sparkling wine, white, red or rosé, our famous AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) wines offer plentiful choice for wine enthusiasts! Home to prestigious names such as Saumur Brut, Savennières, Coteaux du Layon, Saumur-Champigny, Anjou Villages, Muscadet, Jasnières etc, the wines of the Loire will appeal to everyone!
Why not discover our “grands crus” and the splendid landscapes which have created them along the wine-themed “Route Touristique des Vignobles en Val de Loire”? In addition, five of the Pays de la Loire’s wine areas have been awarded the “Vignobles et Découvertes” (Vineyards & Discoveries) label – from Nantes, where the regal Muscadet has reigned supreme since the 16th century, to the Saumur region, unanimously recognised as the “king of sparkling wines” and the home of the renowned Champigny, you’ll soon see how the cellars of our wine-producers are overflowing with liquid treasures awaiting discovery!
With rivers such as the Mayenne, Sarthe and Erdre to choose from, the Pays de la Loire is overflowing with waterways for boating, fishing and canoeing enthusiasts.
For those who prefer more energetic outdoor pursuits, our three “Parcs Naturels Régionaux”, the Parc du Marais Poitevin and our delightful forests all offer scenic opportunities of a different kind.
Located close to Guérande and its salt marshes, the Brière boasts a landscape of marshland and thatched cottages. With the Loire itself the main attraction, the Parc Naturel Régional Loire-Anjou-Touraine highlights the river’s wilder aspect, alongside its natural and historical heritage. The Parc Normandie-Maine, meanwhile, offers visitors a delightful mosaic of scenery ranging from moors and forests (Sillé, Perseigne) to bocages (hedged farmland) and the steeper landscapes of the Alpes Mancelles.
The Marais Poitevin also provides the perfect setting in which to explore nature at its best, either on foot or by bike, or even better by small boat or canoe, enabling visitors to experience a close-up encounter with France’s “Green Venice”, as the area is affectionately known.
In the Pays de la Loire, we’ve stopped counting the châteaux which have left their own special imprint on French history. Emblematic monuments from the Middle Ages include the Château d’Angers, home to the famous Apocalypse Tapestry, the Château des Ducs de Bretagne in Nantes, and the Château de Saumur; the splendours of the Renaissance encompass castles such as the Château de Brissac and Château de Montsoreau; some properties have even been inhabited by the same families for centuries, such as the châteaux in Le Lude, Le Plessis-Bourré and .
A masterpiece of religious architecture, the Abbey of Fontevraud always surprises first-time visitors who are amazed by the incredible diversity of its architecture, shaped between the 12th and 20th centuries. Today, the abbey hosts concerts, conferences and exhibitions.
Unique in Europe, the Escal'Atlantic tourist attraction, covering an area of 3,500m², recreates the rooms and atmosphere of the country’s legendary cruise liners which were built in Saint-Nazaire, such as the Normandie and the France.
Enjoy a unique array of extraordinary sights and a huge breath of fresh air in the Grand Parc du Puy du Fou theme park, where you can take advantage of dozens of daytime activities across 45 hectares of nature.