The Pays de la Loire is an extensive region of north-western France to the west and south-west of Paris, separated from it by the adjoining region of Centre-Val de Loire with which it shares many affinities. Both regions border on the Loire Valley and host famous châteaux. The Pays de la Loire is somewhat more diverse, however, and has a long coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, forming the northern part of the Bay of Biscay, within the area known as the Vendée.
- 1 Nantes is the capital of the Pays de la Loire, though many consider it part of Brittany.
- 2 Angers is a medium sized city which is the capital of the Maine-et-Loire department.
- 3 Château Gontier
- 4 Clisson is about 25 km (16 mi) from Nantes
- 5 Durtal
- 6 Fontenay-Le-Comte
- 7 Guerande a walled city known for locally produced Breton salt in Salt Marshes
- 8 La Baule or La Baule-Escoublac, is a city in the département of Loire-Atlantique
- 9 Le Mans is best known for its annual 24 Hours automobile race.
- 10 Les Sables d'Olonne is a subprefecture in Vendee
- 11 Montsoreau is a small historical town, known for its château; the only château of the Loire Valley to have been built in the Loire riverbed, today a museum of contemporary art.
- 12 Saint-Nazaire is a port town at the mouth of the Loire, near Nantes.
- 13 Saumur is a small historical town, site of a dramatically situated château and the heart of its own world-renowned wine district.
- 1 Château-du-Loir is a small market town on the river Le Loir in the south of Sarthe.
- 2 Fontevrault (more fully, Fontevrault-L'Abbaye) is an historic town in the Loire Valley.
- 3 La Flèche is a town on the Loire river in the French department of Sarthe.
- 4 L'Île-d'Yeu is an island and commune just off the Vendée coast of western France.
- 5 L'Île-D'Elle
- 6 Montreuil-Bellay
The language here is much the same as the rest of France, with more northern than southern influences due to the influences from Paris, and basic French will be easily understood.
From Paris, the A11 autoroute runs to Le Mans and onto Angers and Nantes. The A28 runs from Normandy from the north and Tours from the south to Le Mans. Also from Tours, the A85 links to Angers. From the south, the A83 comes from Niort and runs up through Vendée to Nantes. From Brittany, there are no autoroutes into the region, however, the N165, N137 and N157 run from Morbihan, Rennes (south and west) respectively.
Le Mans is in the western branch of the LGV Atlantique line from Paris Montparnasse (commonly known as the TGV service). Standard mainline track then runs onward to Angers and Nantes. The city also has rail connections to Caen to the N and to Tours to the S, to Rennes (via Laval) to the W and to Chartres to the E.
Pays de la Loire is served by two commercial airports:
The main airport in the region has good transport links from the center of Nantes and is 10 minuets off of the ring road. If has flights to the Caribbean, Africa, North America and of course, other European airports.
Angers – Loire
The only commercial flights go to and come from London City Airport and are run by British Airways. There are three car rental companies operating at the airport: Europcar, Enterprise and Avis. The car park is completely free and has direct access to the terminal.
Also on the airfield is an aviation museum which is worth a visit if you're into that sort of thing.
The region has a good rail network, with the majority of services operated by TER Pays de la Loire.
- 1 Loire Valley. The Loire Valley is the 3rd touristic destination in France. It is the largest site in France ever inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List under the heading of Living Cultural Landscapes. Kings, artists and famous authors, seduced by the Loire, were many to take up residence on the banks of the "Royal River". You can enjoy Renaissance Chateaux, medieval fortresses, historical gardens or unspoiled landscapes by car, by foot, by bicycle or on board a bareg. Wine, music, litterature, art, sailing, and food are also part of this legacy.
- Castle of Angers.
- 2 Chateau de Montsoreau-Museum of Contemporary Art, Passage du Marquis de Geoffre, ☎ . The Château de Montsoreau-Museum of Contemporary Art is the only chateau of the Loire Valley to have been built in the Loire riverbed. Its collection represent the world largest holding of Art & Language works. 9.5 euros.
- Castle of Saumur. Museum of decorative arts.
- Castle of Brézé.
- Castle of Nantes.
- Castle of Brissac.
- Abbey of Fontevraud.
- Cadre Noir.
- Castle of Montreuil-Bellay.
- Castle of Serrant.
- 3 Chateau de Montsoreau-Museum of Contemporary Art, Passage du Marquis de Geoffre, ☎ . The Château de Montsoreau-Museum of Contemporary Art is the only chateau of the Loire Valley to have been built in the Loire riverbed. Its collection represent the world largest holding of Art & Language works. 9.5 euros.
- Castle of Angers. The castle of Angers shows in its rooms the tapestries of the Apocalypse, which are one of the world largest set of tapestries of the 14th century.
- Angers Museum of fine arts.
- Nantes Museum of arts.
- Castle of Saumur. Museum of decorative arts.
- Bretesche Castle.
- Apremont Chateau
- Grand Lieu Lake
- Atlantic Coast
- Loir Valley.
- Puy du Fou historical theme park. With over 1,5 million visitors a year, this is one of the most popular attractions in the whole of France. It has 5 main attractions, including a birds of prey show and a Roman style gladiator fight and a number of smaller ones. All spectacles are in French, but for the main ones electronic translators are available. During peak season, there's a regular "Cinescene", a huge show depicting 700 years of history in the region, but you'll need to book separate tickets for it. €31 for adults, kids €22. Booking in advance will give a 3 euro discount..
- Airbus Saint-Nazaire
Despite having a great network of dual carriageways, some of the country roads are narrow, bendy and unsuitable for their 90kph speed limits. Take your time and enjoy the dramatic scenery of the region
Travellers wishing to see more of the Loire Valley can continue further east into the adjoining Centre-Val de Loire region, studded with additional historical cities and chateaux at sites such as Bourges and Saint-Benoît-du-Sault.