Its climate is warm through the summer – the Loire Valley area is often referred to as the Garden of France thanks to its abundance of grapes, other fruits and vegetables, grown in ideal conditions. However, there are still frosts through the winter, and rainfall in the autumn, ensuring the countryside stays lush and green.
Pays de la Loire is rightly known for its wines. Driving through the Sarthe, Mayenne and Maine-et-Loire departments, you’ll soon notice just how much of the farmland is filled with vines. There are many leading wine estates in the region, and there’s no shortage of tasting opportunities, too. It’s also renowned for its striking castles, often open to explore along with their beautiful grounds including formal gardens.
Le Mans, Angers and Cholet are just some of the cities in the heart of Pays de la Loire, while Nantes, Saint-Nazaire and La Roche-sur-Yon are all bustling destinations closer to the coast, where the Loire-Atlantique and Vendée departments have long stretches of golden sandy beaches.
The most famous coastal town is Les Sables d’Olonne, but travel north or south from here and you’ll find miles of inviting beaches that are often all but deserted. La Tranche sur Mer, to the south of the region, is a particular highlight and, with its Atlantic coast, a great place to take to the seas for water sports and sailing, too.