What to see in France

Camping in Maine et Loire, an immersion in the ancient province of Anjou

Vue sur Saumur dans le Maine et Loire
Vue sur Saumur dans le Maine et Loire


The Maine-et-Loire is part of the natural region of the Loire Valley, which has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list for over 20 years. It is also part of the Pays-de-la-Loire region and its boundaries are largely those of the former province of Anjou. The famous vineyards of Anjou, the troglodytic sites of the Saumur region and the city of Angers with its fortress and medieval hangings are all examples of a rich architectural and natural heritage. A wide choice of campsites is also available in this area, which has a well established reputation.

Campsites in Maine-et-Loire

To discover Angers, Saumur, the Loire Valley Park, Fontevraud Abbey or Brissac Castle, there are more than 60 campsites in Maine-et-Loire that can accommodate you for a night, a weekend or a longer stay. Like the Angers - Lac de Maine campsite **** located in Angers, it is just a stone's throw from the town centre and set in 120 hectares of parkland, and welcomes you in a renovated establishment with a beautiful heated swimming pool. With the Accueil Vélo label, you will benefit from facilities and services adapted to cyclists as well as an attentive welcome to discover the area by bike. The Huttopia Saumur **** campsite is located 15 minutes from the town centre. It has a café-resto with a lovely terrace, a heated swimming pool and a lovely view of the Loire. For your comfort, Toiles et Bois tents, roulottes and chalets are available.

Angers, the capital of Anjou

A City of Art and History and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angers is still the gateway to the Loire Valley. Known for its medieval fortress with 17 towers, which was the residence of the Dukes of Anjou in the 14th and 15th centuries, it contains the remarkable Tapestry of the Apocalypse, the largest medieval tapestry in the world, which was made for Duke Louis I of Anjou. Outside, the castle's hanging gardens are particularly attractive, as are the views over the river Maine and the city. The mansion of the logis Barrault, which houses the Musée des Beaux-Arts, is also a cultural place not to be missed here. You will discover paintings, sculptures and objects from the 16th century that are part of the history of Angers. The magnificent stained glass windows of the Saint-Maurice cathedral, a Gothic style building from the 12th and 13th centuries, are worth seeing. During the stroll, one cannot fail to admire behind the cathedral, the Maison d'Adam, a superb 15th-century timber-framed building whose façade is decorated with carved wooden figures. At the gateway to the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Park, Angers also stands out for its gastronomy, its Anjou wines, the fish of the Loire or specialities such as rillauds. It is also Europe's leading horticultural centre thanks to its commitment to the plant world.


Angers© iStock

Saumur the pearl of Anjou

Saumur, which has been awarded the "Ville d'Art et d'Histoire" (City of Art and History) label, just like its neighbour Angers, located 50 km away, is renowned for its cavalry school and also has an important historical heritage. Nicknamed the pearl of Anjou, it is located in the middle of the Anjou vineyards and the view of its castle as soon as you enter the town gives it all its charm. Surrounded by magnificent fortifications, the castle houses a museum of decorative arts and a horse museum. Below, there is a splendid view of the Loire. The Romanesque church of Notre-Dame-de-Nantilly is also worth a visit, with an exceptional collection of 16th and 17th century tapestries. Finally, the old streets of the town and their houses as well as the pretty Place Saint-Pierre are worth a visit.


Saumur castle and view of the city
Saumur castle and view of the city© iStock

Fontevraud Abbey, the largest monastic city in France

Built in the 12th century, it became the residence of the Plantagenets and then their necropolis. It was then run by abbesses until the 18th century. Located in the commune of Fontevraud, 15 kilometres from Saumur, it covers 13 hectares and is one of the largest monastic cities in Europe. After the French Revolution, the religious establishment was transformed into a penitentiary until 1963. In 2000, the abbey was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, although it used to have up to four monasteries, whereas today there are only two: the Grand-Moûtier and the Saint-Lazare priory. Now a cultural centre, the 12th century Romanesque abbey church, which houses the tomb of the Plantagenets, the chapter house, the cloister of the Grand-Moûtier as well as the magnificent Roman kitchens and the refectory are now open to visitors. Exhibitions and concerts are occasionally organised in the Royal Abbey.


Abbaye de Fontevraud
Abbaye de Fontevraud© iStock

The Château de Serrant, a carefully designed interior

Renowned for the beauty of its flats, the Château de Serrant is located in the commune of Saint-Georges-sur-Loire, less than 20 kilometres from Angers. The Renaissance-style castle boasts a majestic interior decoration. The dining room, the grand salon, the kitchens and the Empire room are among the furniture to be admired. The archives of Count Tanneguy Duchâtel are classified as a historical monument, as is the sculpted marble tomb of the Marquis de Vaubrun.

Montsoreau, an unspoilt paradise

Montsoreau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is not only listed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France, but also as a "Petites Cités de Caractère" (Small Town of Character) and is located in the heart of the Val de Loire Regional Nature Park. Its superb tufa stone castle rises above the Loire and its small flowered streets, its position on the water, its vines which impose themselves on the landscape and the beaches of the Ile au Than, give the village a holiday atmosphere during the summer season. Two Sundays a month, the Puces de Montsoreau is an international success, as is its vintage car rally during the summer.


Aerial view of Montsoreau and its castle
Aerial view of Montsoreau and its castle© iStock

The castle of Brézé, and its troglodytic fortress

With its impressive dry moat 18 metres high and 13 metres wide, the Renaissance castle of Brézé, 10 kilometres from Saumur, has the deepest moat in Europe. The building, which has been classified as a historical monument since 1979, has an underground network underneath the castle with real rooms such as a stable, cellars, a silkworm nursery, a bakery... and is a delight for visitors.

The Oriental Park of Maulévrier, the largest Japanese garden in Europe

Designed at the beginning of the 20th century by the landscape architect Alexandre Marcel, who initially thought of it as a French garden, it was later inspired by the Paris World Fair of 1900. Abandoned after the Second World War, 29 hectares were bought back in 1980 by the town of Maulévrier, which had the original oriental garden restored. Many elements are inspired by the Far East and Japanese gardens, such as the walkway with the stone lanterns, the replica of a temple or the porticoes painted in red. Organised around an artificial lake, the park has more than 300 varieties of plants and many lanterns, so that it can be visited at night. Every year in August, a Painters' Day awaits visitors to the garden, as it does at the bonsai fair in September. A real invitation to exile and tranquillity.


Oriental Park of Maulévrier
Oriental Park of Maulévrier© IStock









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