“We took advantage of a sunny weekend to set off bikepacking on the Loire à Vélo trail, and go from Angers to Saint-Brevin-les-Pins in one day, with the return trip the following day.”
We start out in Angers on the first leg. This section overlooks the Loire and takes us through some of the region’s most beautiful villages, such as La Pointe, La Possonnière, or Savennières. We spot several gabares, typical Loire fishing boats, moored in the harbour of La Possonnière. These boats have a flat bottom which prevents them from running aground on the many shallow sandbanks of the river.
We head into areas that we know well but are always a stunning sight, such as the Chalonnes-sur-Loire bridge (a good place to stop for refreshments) or the Montjean-sur-Loire bridge.
After Montjean-sur-Loire, the next step is Ingrandes-sur-Loire, then Saint-Florent-le-Vieil, before leaving the Anjou region. The old town of Saint-Florent and its hilly streets are well worth the visit. Once you’ve left the village, you can either head for the south riverbank and go through the fields, or continue along the north bank of the Loire. Either way will take you to Ancenis (a former port in Brittany) and then Oudon and its keep.
We enter the Nantes region, leaving behind the castles, the tuffeau stone and the sandbanks of Anjou. We’re now in the land of bocage countryside, fields and vegetable gardens. We go through Mauves-sur-Loire and Bellevue before arriving in Nantes, home to a castle and the Ile aux Machines.
It can take a while to get out of Nantes. To get to the coast, we suggest you take the south bank of the Loire in the direction of Pellerin. We tried both, and the north bank towards Couëron is very industrial and frankly lacking in charm. Speaking of Couëron, which is 20km from Nantes, a free ferry service here takes you across the river to Pellerin (departs every 15 minutes).
This section up to the Canal de la Martinière is lush green and really beautiful. The canal crossing is a (very) long straight line which is a little tedious, so be prepared! Once over the crossing though, you arrive in Paimboeuf, where you’ll be closer to the sea than ever! Just one more wind-beaten path alongside the fisheries with the Saint-Nazaire bridge in view and you’ve arrived. Bravo!
Reaching Saint-Brevin-les-Pins is a relief for us – we cycled 160kms in one day and our legs are beginning to feel the strain.
We camp for the night along the Canal de la Martinière, 20km from Saint-Brevin. We opt to sleep on the route back because we have the same distance to go the next day, but facing the wind. We can do it!
All in all, this weekend along the Loire à Vélo trail was a lovely surprise! It required some physical effort (especially for our buttocks), but we came home bursting with memories of different landscapes: the sea, the tuffeau stone, the city of Nantes and the pastures of the Anjou countryside… We can wholeheartedly recommend it, maybe over several days so you can enjoy it more and even take a dip or stop off in Nantes and Saint-Florent-le-Vieil, for example.