Live a special experience
For some hours or a day, the Loire offers a breathtaking scenery and discoveries. In your canoe, you will be closest to nature and live special moments at the heart of the UNESCO heritage site, closest to nature. You will dive into a world, where the balance between exceptional habitats, architecture and human activities is vital for everybody. Lulled by the water, take your time to admire the treasures that break up along the waterway: aerial ballets of migrant birds, remarkable Loire villages, harbours and docks with their traditional boats, troglodytic hillsides, monumental churches, … not forgetting the sumptuous castles of Langeais, Montsoreau and Saumur showing their best sides. Open your eyes, it’s magic!
The Vienne river is not to be outdone. Close to the Ile Bouchard, you will be amazed by bucolic, green and lazy landscapes. In Chinon, enjoy the exceptional panorama with a view on the Royal castle. Further downstream, in Savigny-en-Véron and Beaumont-en-Véron, stroll along one of the most beautiful bocage of the region with its typical double hedges. At the confluence of the Vienne and the Loire river, you will feel like a special guest admiring beautiful houses which can only be seen from the waterside!
Take the plunge and be safe with the hints of the Regional Natural Park
The Park has prepared navigation factsheets to make descents safe both for beginners and experts on the Loire and Vienne rivers. You will find a location map for the itinerary, safety instructions and information about heritage spots you will be able to observe from the canoe.
From Tours to the Ponts-de-Cé on the Loire, including Chinon or l’Île Bouchard on the Vienne, you can choose between 9 different itineraries to crisscross the territory :
- Tours / Luynes : « Le Castor d'Europe »
- Luynes / Langeais : « Les boires »
- Langeais / La Chapelle-sur-Loire : « Le chanvre »
- La Chapelle-sur-Loire / Candes-Saint-Martin : « La marine de Loire »
- Montsoreau / Saumur : « Les oiseaux de Loire »
- Saumur / La Ménitré : « Le tuffeau »
- La Ménitré / Les Ponts-de-Cé : « La Loire et sa maîtrise par l’homme »
- L’Ile-Bouchard / Chinon : « La migration des poissons »
- Chinon / Montsoreau : « Entre bocage et confluence... »
Where to rent a canoe?
If you don’t have your own equipment, there are many full-service canoe rentals in Anjou and Touraine.
Protecting the birds of the Loire
You will see many birds on your itinerary, just open your eyes! Maine-et-Loire is the French department with the most important population of terns. These graceful birds nest here every year between March and September. You can watch them, but careful, it is a species which needs a lot of calm during reproduction.
At this period, they are very sensitive to disturbance. The presence of people or animals on the sandbanks where they nest can be enough to make them leave and abandon their brood. The Park and the “Ligue pour la protection des oiseaux” (LPO, Bird protection League) work together on protection measures in order to offer the best nesting conditions to the tern population.
Every year, signs are put up on the islets they nest on. It is strictly forbidden to land there. In addition to this, a biotope protection order prohibits the access to the “sandy islets detached from the riverbank“ (meaning sandbanks not accessible by foot), covering the entire bird reproduction period from April 1st to August 15th.
This order applies to the areas between Saumur and Montsoreau as well as between La Daguenière and Juigné-sur-Loire. The Park and the LPO aim above all to raise awareness about this protection issue. The prefectorial order includes fines for offenders. Be careful and watch out!
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