The Atlantic Loire Valley is a land of wine par excellence, boasting no fewer than 17 Loire Valley Wine Routes and ten or so bike itineraries through the vineyards for you to encounter the region’s winegrowers.
In the Vallée du Loir, at the centre of a triangle connecting Le Mans, Saumur and Tours, a 16-km circuit will tempt you to pedal up and down the vineyards of Jasnières. Riding along the small rolling paths, this day out promises to be fascinating and fun in equal measure as you meet the local winegrowers and artisans whose passion energises the region.
Setting off from Nantes, a circuit of 40 or so kilometres takes you to Pays du Muscadet. First, you’ll pedal along the Sèvre Nantaise before cycling deeper into the countryside in the direction of Clisson with its feel of Italy. The route is peppered with villages boasting their own distinct character, wineries where you can treat yourself to a break, and old mills to feast your eyes on. The Nantes Vineyard Museum in Le Pallet is stopover you’ve simply got to make!
In Côte Saumuroise, the vineyard goes hand-in-hand with the Loire. Between Saumur and Montsoreau, you explore the region by following a signposted trail alongside the river that becomes a trusted travel companion. As you enjoy this great getaway, you’ll be bowled over by the magnificent islands on the Loire and the beauty of the architectural heritage that blends in marvellously with the landscape of water, vines and tufa. With châteaux and troglodyte villages, there are untold opportunities for stopping off to taste the region’s AOC wines and quench your thirst for discovery.
Clinging to the sides of the surrounding hills, the vines of Pays Mareuillais are the pride and joy of AOC Fiefs Vendéens. In the midst of these fields of vines, the Terroir du Fief Vendéen de Mareuil cycle route forms a 35-km loop that will give you a taste of the local winemakers. The town of Mareuil-sur-Lay-Dissais - the starting point for this trip on two wheels - is sure to make an impression on you with its listed church, ramparts and picture-postcard setting. What’s more, the route is dotted with lots of different points of interest, beginning with the Conservatoire de la Négrette.
Whichever route you decide to take, the Atlantic Loire Valley in all its diversity is best appreciated by letting yourself be carried along by the wind and your curiosity.