The longest river in France is also the last wild existing one. The Loire, also penned the “Royal River” is first and foremost a realm for sumptuous settings, sincere encounters and French heritage.
“Civilized” river since the Antiquity, it was the first to be developed as a trade route to facilitate navigation to Nantes. A major route settled here and, soon, the Loire River brought a civilization, tradition and costumes as well as traditional expertise and a unique dialect to its region.
The golden age of the Val de Loire had run its course when the machines and the railroads were established in the region, connecting Paris to Saint-Nazaire. The loss of its navigation marked the progressive decline of the unique identity of the Pays de la Loire.
Until 2015, when CroisiEurope decided to bring it back to its former glory, to retrieve the traditions of the region by navigating once again on the majestic “Royal River”.
Because of its key location, the Loire River and its outskirts have been developed and expanded thanks to centuries of growing trades. In addition to the dense biodiversity and the wild beauty of the countryside, beautiful cities eventually appeared along the way. Nantes, Le Mans, Angers… you name it.
Only then the striking Châteaux de la Loire appeared, emerging per dozens on the banks of the Loire River. At this time, the court of the French kings was still established in this region and the castles were built according to the codes of the French Renaissance (15th-16th centuries).
Even today, the lavish and imposing edifices attest of their unforgotten glory. Despite the fact that all these castles are only separated from a few miles, a magnificent and unique spectacle lays before us every single time. At the end of sprawling gardens the medieval mansions emerge from the ground.
More than anything else, the Chateaux de la Loire earned the river the title of “Royal River”.
Visit the Loire Valley…
280km of the river is classified as a World Heritage site by Unesco for the great number of castle bordering it. Far too many to be all listed here; a few names shall nevertheless suggest their mutual beauty.
Imposing from the outside, lavish from the inside, the Château de Brissac is a corner stone and a must-see stop while visiting the south of Angers. The well-known Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, built on a small island in the Indre, is made of Italian creations when the gardens of Villandry result directly of the French art. Lastly, the architecture of the Château d’Ussé inspired the author of “Sleeping Beauty”.
All these chateaux of the Loire River Valley are to be seen, for sure, but yet do not remain the only attractions of the region. Saumur is a beautiful city, known for its wines and monuments, but mostly for the Saumur Royal Cavalry School. In Nantes, the Château des Ducs de Bretagne yet deserves to be visited just like Angers, the flourishing city of Renaissance.
…on a cruise!
All these exceptional places and many others are among the available destinations of our Loire River Cruises, departing from Nantes. A cruise is THE perfect option for those who want to discover an untouched culture and a vibrant heritage rooted to the core of French identity. Each and every part of this breathtaking scenery can be fully enjoyed from the river facing cabins of a remarkable and brand new vessel: the paddle wheeler MS Loire Princesse – authentic masterpiece in marine technology manufacturing.
Or you could make the choice to see it by yourself and bike through the Loire Valley by choosing our all new biking cruise program.