From Saumur, set off for a weekend break to discover a flavour-packed route. From open-air cafes and restaurants to wine cellars and wine merchants, a wide range of products awaits you, not to mention the picturesque Loire scenery all along the south bank, such as the tuffeau stone hillsides near Saumur.
Start the day in Saumur, where an incredible thousand-year-old château awaits you. First built in around the 10th century, its esplanade offers an exceptional view of the city. During the morning, you can also take the opportunity to stroll through the old streets of Saumur before winding up for lunch at Sur les Quais, a unique, gourmet boat-cum-bar, or at L’Orangerie, an ideally situated restaurant in the courtyard of Saumur’s château.
Before leaving, don’t forget to visit the shop in the Saumur Val de Loire Tourist Office, where you will find a range of local products. After leaving the city, follow the Loire à Vélo route on the south bank towards Gennes-Val de Loire. When you reach St-Hilaire – St Florent, take a small detour into the town to taste a glass of sparkling wine made by one of the internationally renowned winemakers. On your way, make sure you stop at the Mushroom Museum. Next, let yourself be seduced by the beauty of the village of Chênehutte-Trèves-Cunault, once known as one of the main sites for quarrying tuffeau stone, where will discover preserved historic remains such as the château and church of Cunault, which are iconic examples of local Roman art.
Your journey continues towards Gennes-Val de Loire, where you can choose from a range of accommodation options including hotels, guest houses and campsites. End the day in one of the many local restaurants such as the renowned gastronomic bistro, Les Dames Barrau.
Your second day starts in the direction of Le Thoureil, a pretty Petite Cité de Caractère® (Small Town of Character). Board one of the traditional boats of Rêves de Loire et d’Ailleurs, for a pleasant trip on the Loire. After your outing, let yourself be seduced by the charm of the banks of the Loire and the port of Le Thoureil with its long history of fluvial activity.
Information about the stage:
- Gennes > La Daguenière: 24 km
- La Daguenière > Angers (via Trélazé): 18 km
For lunch, head west towards Loire-Authion. On the way, make sure you stop at the priory of St Rémy la Varenne, which is now a thousand years old. When you arrive in Saint-Mathurin-sur-Loire, you will find a wide range of restaurants to choose from such as Reflets de Loire and La Promenade, which offer stunning views of the river. While you’re there, don’t miss a visit to Loire Odyssée, a unique visitor centre that reveals the fauna, flora and history of the Loire in a fun and interactive way, as well as offering boat trips.
In the afternoon, continue your journey towards La Bohalle. To do so, you have a choice of two routes: the first follows the banks of the Loire (inaccessible when the river is high), while the second crosses fields and villages. First stop: a self-service fruit and vegetable station offering the best local produce every day to give you a spurt of energy for the last few kilometres to Angers! In La Daguenière, take the opportunity to stop at the L’Embardée open-air cafe, the perfect place for a refreshing and well-earned break. Before arriving in Angers, don’t miss the Les Ardoisières park in Trélazé. This natural area of nearly 100 hectares will plunge you into the heart of former slate quarries where you will discover stunning turquoise waters, blue-black slate and lush green colours.
For dinner, you can choose from a range of restaurants and open-air cafes: the perfect opportunity to (re)discover the easy-going Anjou style in all is splendour!
For the last day of the trip, let yourself be tempted by a gourmet loop starting in Angers. Heading towards Bouchemaine, follow the Maine and admire the surrounding greenery at your own pace. Fancy a break? Le Héron Carré is the ideal place for refreshments!
A few kilometres further west is the village of La Pointe, an old fishing village located at the confluence of the Maine and the Loire. First founded in the 17th century, this residential village with a seaside feel is home to large bourgeois houses that you can see from Rue des Saulniers and the quays. Make sure you stop off at the nearby Notre-Dame de Ruzebouc chapel before heading back to Angers. (*)
To return to Angers, there are two options:
- Option No. 1: Return by the same route, if you don’t have much time.
- Option No. 2: Return via Saintes-Gemmes-sur-Loire or Les Ponts-de-Cé
(*) If you have time, cycle a little further to Île de Béhuard (+12km return trip). Listed as a Petite Cité de Caractère® (Small Town of Character), Béhuard is the only town in the Loire Valley built on an island. Cycle a route of just under 9 km to discover the surrounding beauty of this unique place that contributed to the inscription of the Loire Valley on the UNESCO world heritage list.