All along the Loire lie several beautiful and unique islands waiting to be explored. With walks in the heart of nature and a huge variety of flora and fauna to discover, each island is definitely worth a visit!
With culture, rich history, new attractions and an incredible view of the city, it’s easy to see why the Ile de Nantes has become a must-see. In the past, the island was known for its shipbuilding industry, however this ended with the closure of the shipyards in 1987. Today, the island is focused on culture. Start your adventure by climbing on the back of a mechanical elephant, strolling along the Quai des Antilles and admiring the Anneaux by Buren. Or, if you fancy a more relaxed day out, you can always have a glass of wine on the banks of the Loire whilst listening to a concert, or even compose your own at La Fabrique! Ile de Nantes has something for everyone and is waiting to be discovered (by bike, of course)!
The most rural
Ile Forget is a secluded island which has over 7 kilometres of trails and 25 hectares of beautiful countryside. Often referred to as a small paradise, the island is only accessible by a wooden bridge. Ile Forget is a children’s paradise, equipped with zip wires, football pitches, roundabouts and much more! While your children are playing, why not relax at one of the several picnic tables dotted around the island or lay out a picnic blanket and be surrounded by beautiful nature. The island also has a unique and unexpected view of the mainland. So, don’t let its name fool you; whether you’re walking or cycling, a trip to this island is unforgettable!
The Ile de Chalonnes is the largest river island in Europe and is over 14 kilometres long! With plenty of things to do, there is a real community feel amongst the residents. Everyone on the island is proud of the beautiful nature that surrounds them and love to show off their home to visitors.
In the past, hemp and tobacco were the main crops on the island; luckily today, these have been replaced by delicious fruit and vegetables. So why not take a stroll around this corner of paradise, and fill your stomach with a mouth-watering meal or picnic made from fresh local produce? Whatever the time of year, whether you’re walking or cycling, you’re guaranteed to have an incredible day out on this breath-taking island!
The most spiritual
As part of a “Small Town of Character”, the Ile de Behuard adds to the historical charm of the surrounding area. A handful of lucky people live on this picturesque island on the Loire. If you cycle here in the summer, you’ll see couples who have travelled here for a romantic wedding, as well as people who make an annual pilgrimage to the island. Most summer visitors come to soak up the village’s charm and breath-taking views of the Loire. When you’re sipping on a glass of wine and admiring the incredible lights and colours of the Royal River, you’ll never want to leave this beautiful island.
The most photogenic
Tucked away just a few kilometres from the historic centre of Saumur, is the Ile d’Offard. This island is a photographer’s heaven, with a unique view of the banks of the Loire. Here you can admire the beautiful view of the Château de Saumur’s impressive towers and defences; gaze at the sandbanks and watch the incredible animals who live there; be surrounded by picturesque nature and, of course, gaze at the famous royal river. If you’ve still not got your fill of photos, why not visit the 4-kilometre-long Ile Batailleuse? This stunning island is further west of Offard and gives you an incredible view of Saint-Florent-le-Viel and its famous abbey!
The most agricultural
On Ile Saint-Aubin, you’ll be surrounded by natural meadows used for hay and pasture. Located in the heart of the Maine basin, and only 5 minutes from the centre of Angevin, every year walkers flock to this natural haven. Surrounded by nature, you can discover the 500 animal species that live on the island and spend the day hiking through the incredible flora and fauna.
As you make your way to have lunch at the island’s beautiful guinguette which faces the Loire, you might bump into semi-wild cows. And, if you want to find out more, why not take your family to the island’s petting zoo?