The region of France known as the Pays de La Loire stretches inland from the Atlantic Coast above La Rochelle as far as Le Mans and the neighbouring region of the Loire Valley. It is between southern Brittany and the Poitou Charentes and has many cultural similarities between both Brittany and the Loire Valley.
The main cities in the region are Saumur, Le Mans, Angers, Laval and Nantes which is known as the home of Muscadet wine. Walled towns such as Guerande offer a step back in time with their charming half-timbered houses. The area includes vineyards, farmland and many historic abbeys and castles. The troglodyte cave dwellings at Rochemenier near Saumur are some of the largest in the area and tours include a cave farm and an underground chapel.
The coast is divided by the Loire estuary into the Jade Coast to the south with excellent coastal walks, and the Cote d’Amour to the north with its charming harbour towns of Le Croisic and Batz-sur-Mer.
The Pays de Loire offers a wide range of activities, from the Grand Prix motor racing events at Le Mans to the fairytale chateaux along the Loire. The forests and river valleys around your Pays de la Loire holiday rental are ideal for exploring on foot, by bicycle, on horseback or by canoe.
Visit the beaches and resorts in the Vendée area, the island of Noirmoutier reached by a bridge, or take a boat trip along the Loire to admire the small towns, churches, castles and gardens.
Most visitors will want to visit some of the grand chateaux such as the impressive Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne in Nantes, near the Fine Arts Museum. The Chateau d’Angers is a huge fortress dating back to the 9th century with 17 towers and a moat.
The Old Town of Le Mans was the home of the Plantagenet kings and has an impressive cathedral and a magnificent abbey built by Richard the Lionheart.
This area has a mild climate with beautiful sunny days and daytime highs above 18C (65F) from late April until early October. It is also a great area to visit in December for stocking up on Christmas food and drink or visiting the Christmas markets.
Local foods include duck, venison, wild boar and pikeperch served with a delicious beurre-blanc sauce. Prix-fixe menus provide good value lunches and dinner is usually eaten between 7 and 8pm – no early-birds here!
Gites in Pays de la Loire are served by two regional airports: one in Nantes which connects through Paris and the other at La Rochelle which is served by Ryanair. A hire car will be required for exploring this beautiful area.
Ferry crossings to St Malo will require a three hour drive to the Pays de la Loire, a distance of around 180km.