Pays de la Loire

Pays de la Loire, France

The beaches of the Poitou Charente area along the Atlantic coast are long and sandy and with the region's mild and sunny climate, this is an ideal spot for a family holiday. The resorts of St Jean de Monts and Les Sables d'Olonne are two of the better known resorts where watersports are available and where there is a lively resort atmosphere where everything for the holidaymaker is provided. You will also find small picturesque ports such as St Gilles Croix-de-Vie where local seafood is caught and from where boat trips to the pretty Ild d'Yeu can be taken.

The area is perfect for cycling and for discovering more of the historical side of the Vendee, such as the chateau de Terre-Neuf at Fontenay-le-Comte.

North of the Vendee, you will also find marvellous beaches, particularly at La Baule where many outdoor sports such as watersports, golf, tennis and horseriding are also available.

Visit the pretty fishing ports of Le Croisic and Pornic, the medieval town of Guerande with its ramparts and moat, ancient streets and craft shops. The ancient capital of Brittany, Nantes, sits on the banks of the Loire with its magnificent castle and medieval quarter with museums and Gothic cathedral.

.Further inland the River Mayenne winds its way inland - it is reputedly one of France's most picturesque rivers and has as its main town Laval which is rich in art and history. The town has a medieval castle and guided boat tours can be taken around the town in July and August.

Further inland towards the Loire Valley, the countryside is broken up by the rivers Loir and Sarthe. The pretty landscape is best explored on foot or by bike in order to take in the unspoilt and charming villages and waterways which are characteristic of this area. Visit La Fleche home of the 'Tertre Rouge' zoo and from where river activities can be enjoyed. Visit also Le Lude with its magnificent fortress and fabulous 'Son et Lumiere' show of fireworks and waterjets.

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