Bordered by the Bay of Biscay and bathed by the Loire River, between Brittany and Normandy, this territory of western France covers six departments: Mayenne, Sarthe, Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire and Vendée. The Pays de la Loire is a rural and pleasant region, characterised by dynamic agriculture and a remarkable environment. Classified by Unesco, the Loire Valley is home to the varied biotopes of the Loire banks and the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Natural Park. Added to this are the Normandy-Maine Regional Natural Park and the Brière Regional Natural Park for the first horticultural region in France which hosts the magnificent Floralies Internationales de Nantes
It is an ideal destination for families, who can focus their stay on history and prehistory and around tourist highlights such as the Puy du Fou, the Abbey of Fontevraud or the start of the Vendée Globe, off the coast of Les Sables-d'Olonne. Come and see the smallest book in the world (Musée de l'Imprimerie de Nantes) and the replica of the largest gold nugget (Musée du Mange Cailloux in Mortagne-sur-Sèvre). Immense forests, hills and valleys, rivers and waterholes are the setting for numerous nature activities alternating with city stops in La Roche-sur-Yon, Nantes, Angers, capital of the sweetness of the Anjou region, or Le Mans and its 24 hours. You have a choice of atmospheres and activities: welcome to the farm, wine tourism or river tourism, cycling or horse riding, without forgetting good restaurants. A flowery destination to savour. And not to miss anything, go with your guide Petit Futé Pays de la Loire!
When to go to Pays De La Loire?
While summer remains the high tourist season, with crowds and higher prices, especially for destinations such as the seaside resorts of the Atlantic coast or sites such as the Puy du Fou, which programs its famous night shows from June to September, the off-seasons remain a good option for a stay in the Pays de la Loire. You can enjoy the sweetness of Angers all year round but for the Floralies internationales de Nantes, it is only once every five years and the next one will take place in 2024. To hike in the forests of the Maine Normandy Regional Natural Park, prefer the beautiful season and even in the middle of summer you won't suffer from the heat wave or too much traffic
Set off along the Loire River, from spring onwards, for a journey at a pace that suits the discovery of this country with its greenery adorned with bell towers, castles in the distance and gentle undulations. A few appointments can guide the programming of your stay in the Pays de la Loire: the festival includes the Folle Journée in Nantes and ten towns in the region at the end of January and beginning of February, the Jonquilles en fêtes, an annual parade of floats in Saint-Étienne-de-Montluc in April, the Hellfest, one of the biggest hard rock festivals in France in June, in Clisson, Anjou Vélo Vintage in July, the Accroche-Cœurs d'Angers, a street show festival in September, and the International Film Festival in La Roche-sur-Yon in October. But beware of the start of the Vendée Globe, which takes place every four years - in 2020, 2024, etc. -If you are planning your trip, plan your stay well in advance! The same goes for the 24 hours of Le Mans in June.