The Pays-de-la-Loire is a contrast in environments. It has 300 kilometers of Atlantic coastline with sea-breezes, long sandy beaches, enchanting bays, and islands like Yeu and Noirmoutier. This contrasts with the lush, green, countryside through which flows the magnificent river Loire. The Loire Valley-Atlantic region (Pays-de-la-Loire) includes the Departments of Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Sarthe, Vendée, and Mayenne.
This part of France has always been a popular place for kings and nobles, who built their elegant châteaux throughout the region. Many have been restored and are inhabited by their owners, who open them to the public. Some stately homes accommodate overnight guests in their comfortable apartments. Other châteaux open their homes and gardens to the production of "Sount and Light" shows.
A fountain in Nantes, France
Exploring beyond the busy valley, the tourist can drive deeper into a undulating and quiet hinterland where châteaux, abbeys and mansions reveal the testimony of a rich past.
At Le Mans, the yearly car race known as the "24 heures" attracts visitors from all over the world. Don't forget traditional cities like Angers, Saumur and Nantes where you can visit the many castles, châteaux and museums and loose yourself among their picturesque winding narrow streets leading to provincial markets and busy shops.
Horse lovers should visit the "Cadre Noir" at Saumur, headquarters of the world famous National Horse and Riding School. The region produces an astonishing variety of wines that range from dry to sweet and from still to sparkling, soft, fruity, rosés, light red wines a delicate bouquet and characteristic flavor. Have you ever tasted Muscadet, Gros-Plant, Gamay red or rosé, Champigny, Cabernet, sparkling dry Sa?
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