Splendours of the flora and the fauna in the Loire Valley
The Loire Valley region is not only the cradle of the splendid Loire Valley châteaux, but it is also a natural territory in its own right. Flora and fauna can be found throughout the region and along the Loire, offering you a marvellous show.
The Loire, river of a thousand faces
The Loire Valley is multi-faceted and forever changing with its wide meanders opening onto vast sandy isles, alluvial stretches covered with plant galleries called "verdiaux" which is a type of wild willow, regularly-flooded pastures, and tufa hillocks overlooking the plain.
Some sandbanks, heated to over 50°C by the summer sun, make it possible for tropical plants to thrive here. The Loire is untamed and fertile, and serves as an important migration path for birds, fish and plants.
A natural reserve of tropical plants
The Loire is both calm and powerful. It is constantly re-shaping its bed, from green-covered isles to moving sandbanks. The tropics have also put down their roots here on this river. American and African species are able to flourish on the Loire due to seeds brought by river boat, the wind, the birds, and the river’s hot, sun-warmed sand banks.
Face to face with birds and beavers
Irresistible woodcutting beavers have been gradually resettling along the river ever since their reintroduction 25 years ago. The island named Ile de la Folie in Chaumont-sur-Loire is a haven for these friendly rodents. The countless variations of the river also make it an attractive habitat for an exceptionally large variety of birds. In Chaumont, Amboise or further downstream from Saumur, this fauna can be observed from traditional boats at the break of dawn or at twilight.
From horseback, hot-air balloon, boat or bike: admire the Loire by all means
The Loire is an exceptional adventure that can be experienced from the water itself, from the air, or from land. In the village of Seuilly, the Centre Permanent d'Initiatives pour l'Environnement (an environmental activity centre) proposes nature activities on foot or in a traditional boat. The activity trails have numerous recreational and educational stopping points which allow you and your family to discover different natural habitats of the Loire valley.
And for those who would like to get an overview of the landscape, a flight in a hot-air balloon provides you with an original panorama: "Au gré des Vents" will satisfy your longing for pure air.
The Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Nature Reserve for the preservation of constructed and natural heritage
The Loire-Anjou-Touraine Reserve covers the Loire Valley between Tours and Angers. It holds a natural, cultural, and historical heritage that is as rich as it is varied. The most authentic way to discover this heritage is, without any doubt, by canoe or kayak. River trips can be adapted to accommodate each participant, regardless of his or her level!
As for those who can’t resist using a bike, follow the river for over 150 kilometres, fully signposted and made safe between Tours and Angers. Simply follow the signs marked "Loire à Vélo".
To find out more about Loire à vélo >>
The Loire estuary
Where the Loire meets the ocean
From Nantes, 50 km before reaching the ocean, the influence of the sea on the river is already present. The movement of the tides is also apparent; wherever you happen to look, you will see that the ocean is close at hand. Fishermen’s huts, reed beds, old ports like Paimboeuf...
To have a breath-taking view of the Loire just before it joins the ocean, check out the bridge in Saint-Nazaire, one of the longest bridges in Europe! However, if you are afraid of heights, take a gentler route and use one of the free ferry boats that cross the Loire here.
To find out more about the natural heritage of the Centre Val de Loire region >>
To find out more about the natural heritage of the Pays de la Loire region >>