The Western Loire in France is a region of France described by UNESCO as a 'cultural landscape of exceptional beauty'. It is situated on the northwest coast of France, bordered by the Loire Valley, and is made up of 5 departments, Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Sarthe and Vendee. With the arrival of cheap flights to Western Loire from the UK, the lush countryside, vineyards and long sandy beaches have been opened up to British travellers, and the castle dotted along the skyline have once again become bustling centres of activity. A holiday rental, villa or holiday cottage in Western Loire provides the freedom to travel and investigate this part of France at your own pace, and with the flexibility needed to get the most out of a Western Loire holiday.
Lovers of water and sailing will feel very much at home in Western Loire. Les Sables d'Olonne is a prime destination for sailing enthusiast, and the sea kayaking from here allows a novel exploration of Noirmoutier Island, with its rugged coastline and hidden beaches. Inland, river cruises on the Erdre River, and canoeing up the rivers of Mayenne, Sarthe and Oudron provide hours of entertainment and excitement. Boat hire or barge rental can easily be arranged on these three rivers too, and during the summer, the rivers become an exciting focus for family holidays in Western Loire, but for more relaxing use of the waterways, try the saltwater saps at La Boule, Pornic and St Jean-de-Monts.
The area is known for its landscape, fantastic for horse riding, but more popular, the cycling. Cycle tours of Western Loire are magnificent fun for cyclists of all experience and abilities, and a gite or cottage in Western Loire will give the flexibility needed to complete cycle tours at your own pace.
There are 26 full 18 hole golf courses in Western Loire, so finding a round whilst renting a villa in Western Loire should not prove a problem. Some of the best are at La Boule, Cholet and Sable-sur-Sathe.
Family entertainment can be found at the theme park Puy du Fou Grand Parc, where you can watch chariot racing, falconry and mock Viking attacks on the fortress, and for motorsport fans, the world famous 24 hour race at Le Mans is a remarkable race.
Maine-et-Loire attracts 2.3 million tourists each year, drawn not only by the walking and cycling, but also by the wealth of castles, abbeys, and parks. The troglodyte caves of Western Loire have thousands of tunnels; many used as wine cellars, museums and art galleries.
Vendee has a hundred miles of sandy beaches, and is therefore a very popular destination. There are also thousands of marked footpaths and coastal cycle-ways, as well as some great fishing in both the sea and rivers.
Sarthe is a department designed for walking and cycling. With dramatic limestone scenery, thick forests and small, lush farms.
Flights to the Western Loire come into Nantes-Atlantique Airport (NTE) from Stansted (STN), Nottingham (NQT), Dublin (DUB), Manchester (MAN), Shannon (SNN) and Cork (ORK), making the Western Loire more accessible than ever, and the abundance of cheap flights means there is no excuse not to book your holiday villa in Western Loire.