The Loire: natural assets

The unspoilt spaces we present here follow the Loire as it flows downstream. The cycle route is signposted in both directions, however, so you are free to visit them in the order you prefer.

Oiseaux sur un banc de sable de la Loire - C. Mouton Oiseaux sur un banc de sable de la Loire - C. Mouton © C. Mouton

The Loire: a feast for the eyes

The Loire boasts extraordinary, ever-changing landscapes. It is dotted with wooded islands, meanders and sandbanks. On the right bank, the colours of endless grasslands stretch out into the distance, while the left bank offers the charms of its gently rolling hills.

Natural treasures of the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Nature Reserve

The Loire-Anjou-Touraine Reserve covers 2,700 km2 between Tours and Angers.

The Park is an integral part of the natural, cultural and historic heritages of the Loire Valley region. What is the best way to discover it? The answer to that question will please all those who enjoy physical activity: by bike or along the river!

You can follow the course of the Loire for over 150 kilometres on your bike or take to the river in a canoe or a kayak, a gabarre or any kind of flat-bottomed boat. But don’t worry, the Loire is accessible to all. You will get plenty of exercise, but never too intense.

Loire islands

Ile de Béhuard Ile de Béhuard © J.D Billaud / Nautilus

As you follow the Loire à Vélo, you will cross the Ile de Chalonnes – the largest inhabited island on the river – and the Ile de Béhuard – the only Loire island that is also a municipality in its own right.

If you take to the water, you can set out to conquer the sixty or so islands that dot the Loire. These stretches of land with their evocative names (Iles de la Gargaude, Iles aux Canes, Ile de la Folie, Iles aux Moutons, Ile de la Liberté, Belle-Ile, Ile- aux-Oies, Ile Batailleuse…) are sometimes flooded and some of them are inhabited. All boast outstanding natural beauty.

The Loire: a rich reservoir of wildlife

Incredible diversity of animal and plant life

Sternes Pierregarin, espèce nicheuse Sternes Pierregarin, espèce nicheuse © D. Drouet

Animals are perfectly at home in the unspoilt areas along the Loire, adding further charms to the beauty of the landscapes.

Birds like to nest along the riverbanks or rest there during their migration. You can expect to see terns, sometimes referred to as sea swallows.

There are also black-headed and other gulls. You may also see grey heron – the best known of the large waders, little egrets or white heron! Not forgetting the Loire beaver who is never very far away.

Tropical species in the heart of France

More than 1,500 plant species have been recorded along the river, some of them only to be found in tropical climes: the Loire really is a world apart!

The Loire viewed from above

To admire the Loire, take to the heights!

A large number of panoramic views are to be had of the Loire and its valley, rolling out a splendid, colourful landscape before the eyes.

From natural promontories, you will discover Sancerre and its renowned vineyards. You will appreciate the park of La Cédraie de Champtoceaux with its magnificent flowerbeds, and Mont-Glone in Saint-Florent-le-Vieil.

La ville de Sancerre vue de la Tour La ville de Sancerre vue de la Tour © X. Pardessus

Views fit for a king

The man-made viewpoints will not disappoint you, either. Many places offer incredible views over the Loire Valley:

Nature in pictures