The Loire is not all about Châteaux, although they are wonderful! Other sightseeing highlights include historic abbeys, cathedrals, troglodyte dwellings, gardens, canoe trips, myriad footpaths and cycle paths and of course, the vineyards of the Loire region, all of which we are ideally situated to explore.
The Rough Guide to the Loire Valley features a list of 26 Things Not To Miss in this region, nearly all of which are within easy reach of Le Logis du Pressoir.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE:
The UNESCO world heritage label was bestowed on the Loire Valley as a whole, so rich its heritage and we are situated within the Loire-Anjou-Touraine National Park. Anjou itself is an area of outstanding natural beauty not just for its exceptional river landscape but also for its rich political and cultural history; the formidable Plantaganet dynasty (Fontevraud Abbey), the Renaissance Kings of Anjou and writers such as Francois Rabelais and the lyrical poet Pierre de Ronsard.
Read more about the beautiful Anjou region here and on our link page:
Loire Heritage: Click Here
Anjou Region: Click Here
Tourism in Anjou: Click Here
CHATEAUX TOWN CLOSE BY:
We have counted over a dozen Châteaux town within an easy drive, from early feudal castles to Renaissance gems with stunning formal gardens. Here are a few not to miss:
The charming town of Saumur (25 minutes) is not to be missed!
Built in the 14th century by Louis I, Duke of Anjou, the fortress château sits high up, overlooking the River Loire and the old quarter, rich in late 12th century architecture.
It is well served with friendly bars and restaurants and a great Saturday morning market. Saumur is also world renowned for its national riding academy, The Cadre Noir, home of the French cavalry. Visitors can explore the academy and watch spectacular performances staged by this elite military institute.
On the banks of the River Maine, Angers is a vibrant urban centre and a shopper’s delight, with many independent boutiques and an Antique’s market at the weekend. The cobbled streets lining the ‘old quarter’ of the city are dotted with lively café/bars and house some very well preserved medieval buildings. The historic centre of Angers bear witness to its past as the power base for the notorious medieval Counts of Anjou and later, the capital of the powerful Planatgenet empire. Its 13th century château, built as a huge fortress, on the site of a Roman settlement, is well worth a visit for examples of Gothic architecture and one of the world’s great medieval treasures, the Apocalypse Tapestries.
This ancient cathedral city is a thriving centre of tourism and easy to explore by foot. The old quarter, centred around the pretty Place Plumereau, is perfect for wandering about medieval lanes full of little cafés, bars and restaurants. The city also boasts numerous chic fashion boutiques and specialist shops and art galleries. If you include a visit to the impressive Gothic cathedral, St. Gatien, don’t forget to stop at the little pâtisserie on the corner of Rue de la Scellerie (ask Lisa!).
Right on our doorstep is the gem Montgeoffroy, built on the eve of the French Revolution and hardly altered since that date and among other ‘A-list’ châteaux town nearby are: Chinon, Azay le Rideau, Montsoreau, and Villandry. Slightly further afield is Chenonceau in a stunning river location.
The ‘Garden of France’ as this Region is known, has much to offer garden lovers. We are spoilt for choice, with everything from an intoxicating 4 acre rose park (Chemin de la Rose at Doué la Fontaine), world famous formal Renaissance gardens (Villandry) and the largest Japanese garden in Europe (Parc-Oriental).
Many regions of France are gastronomically renowned and the Loire Valley ‘the garden of France’ is no exception. We are well served with a good variety of restaurants of different styles and suiting all budgets, Try out specialities, such as, fresh fish from the Loire and its tributaries, and the abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables that make for wonderful sweet dishes, like ‘la tarte tatin’ (upside down apple tart).
The Loire is the fifth largest wine region in France. Its vineyards stretch from the central Sancerre to the Atlantic estuary, producing a wide variety of wines from the well known Sancerre whites, acid Muscadets and honeyed Côteaux de Layon as well as the Rosé d’Anjou, fruity reds of Chinon and Bourgeuil and wonderful sparkling wines of Saumur (Crémants de Loire). There are many Summer wine and music festivals to enjoy, local vineyards who offer tastings and we are always happy to make personal recommendations to our guests.
GOLF AND LEISURE
There are some great golf courses in this area, including Baugé-Pontigne, tried, tested and highly recommended by our golf enthusiast guests. Other activities on offer locally include horse riding, kayaking, indoor aquatic centres and the traditional Boules de Fort (a style of indoor bowling), which can be tried out at our very welcoming village venues.
kayaking, indoor aquatic centres and the traditional Boules de Fort (a style of indoor bowling), which can be tried out at our very welcoming village venues.
If motor racing is your passion, why not visit Le Mans’ and its world famous 24 hour racing circuit, which also has its own museum (great for kids too)
Musse-Des-Blindes ( houses the largest collection of historic armoured vehicles and personnel carriers in the world and the Aviation Museum at Angers contains over 100 historic aircraft, many of which have been restored on site.
There are myriad other interesting places, including Troglodyte villages, underground mushroom museum, stone sculpture caves as well as frequent festivals celebrating local traditions and culture (try out the giant croissant fayre!).
ANTIQUES AND BROCANTES:
Alternatively, there is always a bargain or two to be had at the local brocantes (flea markets). The larger towns host Sunday morning markets (get there early for bargains!). Even if you’re not in the market for antiques, the markets are lively, atmospheric and full of character, including the people buying and selling!