Pays de la Loire France Travel Guide - A Vagabond Life
Pay de la Loire France is predominantly a rural region with many small farms and villages, along the coast are a number of fishing ports. The Loire River cuts through the region and has been declared a World Heritage for Humanity Site by UNESCO, which described it as a cultural landscape of exceptional beauty.
On the coast of the Loire Atlantique department lie two of France’s historic seaside resorts, La Baule and Le Croisic. The area round Le Croisic is also famous for its salt pans, and “sel de Guérande” is one of the best-known types of salt in France. The town of Guérande is a delightful small ancient walled city, just inland from the salt marshes.
To the south of the Loire Atlantique department lies an area known as Vendée. It is famous in the history of France as one of the old bastions of Protestantism. After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 and the end of religious tolerance tens of thousands of Vendéen Protestants fled from this part of France, and went to live in England, or America. After the French Revolution, Vendée was a centre for the royalist counter-revolution.
On the coast there are many seaside resorts such as les Sables d’Olonne, Saint Gilles Croix-de-Vie and St. Jean de Monts however there are still stretches of empty coastline to be found and enjoyed. Along parts of the coast is a stretch pine forest that protects the flat farmland behind from the Atlantic storms.
The department Maine et Loire covers a territory to the north and south of the Loire river. This area is known as Anjou, and its capital Angers is one of the great historic cities in the Loire valley. Anjou was the fief of the Angevines who, with Henry II, became the kings of England. The great castle of the counts of Anjou, in Angers is one of the biggest medieval fortresses in Europe.
The other two departments are Sarthe and Mayenne and are rural departments with a strong agricultural industry.
Pays de la Loire France Table of Contents
Pays de la Loire France Map
Nantes – Pays de la Loire France
The capital of Pays de la Loire France, Nantes sits on the banks of the Loire River. Nantes has a very long history with numerous rulers over the centuries including the Gauls, the Romans and the Bretons, it finally came under French rule in 1532. Nantes was the capital of the slave trade in France in the 18th century which made the port the largest in France and the city a very wealthy city. It is reputed that in the 18th to 19th centuries, ships from Nantes transported more than 550,000 slaves to the colonies in the West Indies, Brazil and North America, Reunion and Mauritius. One can visit the Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery in Nantes. The city has an interesting historic centre which includes; the Château des Ducs de Bretagne, a spectacular castle built between the 13th and 16th that was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany and today houses the History Museum of Nantes. The Gothic Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the construction of which began in 1434 and it took around 450 years to complete. Inside the cathedral is the ornate tomb of Francis II, Duke of Brittany. The Fine Arts Museum or Musée des Beaux-Arts de which is housed in the Palais des Beaux-Arts.
The Loire River – Pays de la Loire France
The Loire River is one of Europe’s great rivers. It is bordered by many beautiful small towns and villages, and the flat land is good for cycling. The Loire Valley and has been declared a World Heritage for Humanity Site by UNESCO, which described it as a cultural landscape of exceptional beauty.
Angers – Pays de la Loire France
Angers in the Pays de la Loire was for many centenaries an important stronghold in northwestern France. It is the birth place of the Plantagenet dynasty and was during the 15th century one of the intellectual centres of Europe. Angers has a number of half timbered houses including Maison d’Adam, the Cathédrale Saint-Maurice d’Angers a large 12th century church and the Château d’Angers built by Louis IX.
Laval – Pays de la Loire France
Laval is an old city with some interesting and unusual monuments including the Lactopole, a museum of the milk, cheese and dairy industry.
Les Sables d’Olonne – Pays de la Loire France
Les Sables d’Olonne: One of the most famous seaside resorts on the west coast.
The Vendée Globe – Pays de la Loire France
The Vendée Globe round-the-world yacht race starts here. Guérande is a small walled city; with a historic centre it lies just inland from the coast.
World Destination Guide
There are 195 countries in the world stretching across seven continents – so there is an awful lot to see.Where to begin? Many people are inspired by a movie they have seen or a story they have heard, or a desire to see the land of their ancestors.
Use the drop-down on the right to explore the world.