Thrilling theme parks, beautiful seaside, even a world-famous motor race… there’s so much to do in Pays de la Loire
The heart of this region on France’s north-west coast is capital city Nantes, which lies by the Loire River and makes a wonderful day out for families thanks to attractions such as Musée Jules Verne and Les Machines de L’Île. Here, kids can gaze in wonder at Jules Verne’s magical creations come to life, such as the walking Grand Elephant and Le Carrousel des Mondes Marins, which includes a ride on a pirate fish. Other cities worth visiting include Angers for its impressive castle and Le Mans, home of the famous annual motor race, which each summer projects an amazing light show onto its pavements and historic monuments for the Nuit des Chimères.
Theme parks are another highlight of this action-packed region, with Grand Parc du Puy du Fou near Cholet the standout thanks to its European history theme. Watch gladiator games in a replica of the Colosseum, see a Viking raid and jousting in action, enjoy a medieval lunch in a banqueting hall and even stay the night in a remake of the field camp at Henry VIII and François I’s famous summit meeting in 1520.
For active families keen to explore the region’s Atlantic coastline, there are beautiful beach resorts such as Les Sables d’Olonne and Saint-Jean-de-Monts to discover, however, it’s picnics and swimming in hidden bays fringed by pine forests on the miles of deserted shoreline that make for a truly memorable holiday. And family members young and old can enjoy a cycling holiday in Pays de la Loire, thanks to well-kept scenic cycle paths La Loire à Vélo and La Vélodyssée, which take you from sea to city via wetlands, marshes, ancient harbours and scenic sand dunes.
The Loire: The lowdown
Where to stay
For a glamping experience by the beach, book a two-bedroom wood-and-canvas Ecolodge Toilé at the five-star Chadotel campsite close to Les Sable d’Olonne, With amazing sand dunes and forest on your doorstep and direct access to the beach, plus pools, bike hire, and playgrounds, renting a Lodge Toilé is a bargain for just £22.50 per night in the low season (sleeps 4).
How to get there
To reach Pays de la Loire from the channel ports including Le Havre, Caen, Cherbourg and Dieppe with Brittany Ferries, Condor Ferries and DFDS Seaways is a two- to three-hour drive.
For more information
Check out why you should be holidaying by ferry