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Pays de la Loire Travel Guide
Château de Saumur and vineyards, Pays de la Loire (© eyewave | iStockphoto.com)
Château de Saumur and vineyards, Pays de la Loire.

Introduction

The Pays de la Loire is an administrative French region made up of the historical provinces of Maine, Anjou, part of Brittany (Nantes), part of Poitou (Vendée), part of Perche (Sarthe) and a small part of Touraine.

It is the 5th most populous region of France (3.5 million inhabitants), the 6th largest and the 9th wealthiest (GDP per capita).

The Muscadet, Saumur, Savennières wines are produced in this region. Cointreau, the renowned brand of triple sec (orange-flavoured liqueur) is produced in Saint-Barthélemy-d'Anjou. LU (Lefèvre-Utile), France's most famous biscuit manufacturer (which products include Petit Beurre, Prince, Pim's, Cent Wafers, and Mikado) was founded in Nantes in 1846.

Famous people from the Pays de la Loire include (chronologically): Napoleon's Minister of Police Joseph Fouché, WWI Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, novelist Jules Verne, painter Henri Rousseau, Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Aristide Briand, fashion designer Coco Chanel, and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Attractions

Département de la Loire-Atlantique

Nantes
Nantes, Pays de la Loire
outstanding Culturally and historically part of Brittany, Nantes is the largest city in Northwest France.

Other attractions

very good Ancenis Castle
very good Blain Castle
very good Châteaubriant Castle
very good Clisson Castle
very good Guérande
very good La Baule-Escoublac
very good La Groulais Castle
good Pornichet
good Ranrouet Castle (ruins)

Département de la Mayenne

outstanding Sainte-Suzanne
very good Lassay Castle
very good Laval

Département de la Vendée

good La Roche-sur-Yon
very good Les Sables-d'Olonne
very good Marais poitevin
very good Noirmoutier Castle
very good Puy du Fou (historical theme park)
good Saint-Jean-de-Monts
good Talmont Saint-Hilaire Castle (ruins)
good Tiffauges Castle (ruins)

Département de Maine-et-Loire

Angers
Angers, Pays de la Loire
outstanding Angers was the capital of the old province of Anjou and the centre of the Plantagenet dynasty. It is renowned for its colossal 13th-century castle.

Other attractions

very good Baugé Castle
very good Boumois Castle
very good Brissac Castle
outstanding Durtal Castle
very good Fontevraud Abbey
very good Montgeoffroy Castle
very good Montreuil-Bellay Castle
very good Montsoreau Castle
outstanding Plessis-Bourré Castle
very good Pouancé
very good Saumur
outstanding Serrant Castle

Département de Sarthe

good La Ferté-Bernard
outstanding Le Lude Castle
very good Le Mans
very good Sillé-le-Guillaume Casrle

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Eupedia's Rating System

Cities, towns, villages & historic buildings

  • : Moderately interesting - nice for a quick stop
  • : Recommended - to visit if you have time
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Natural attractions

  • : Moderately interesting
  • : Recommended
  • : Highly recommended
  • : World-class natural attraction
  • ※ : UNESCO World Heritage site


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