Marvel at the estuary
For a breathtaking view of the mouth of the Loire River, in Saint-Nazaire, choose between the panoramic terraces of the submarine base, the balconies of the ecomuseum or the imposing city bridge. In Nantes, the Butte Sainte-Anne and the Bruneau esplanade overlook the city and its island on the Loire as well as Trentemoult, an old fishing village dotted with colourful houses. If you're a culture fan, don't miss the Estuary, an open-air collection of contemporary art, the Starry Garden in Paimboeuf or the Observatory in Lavau, all of which offer a panoramic view of the Loire's waters.
Draw me an island
The Loire has a multitude of islands, supporting a unique and characteristic biodiversity of France. In Saint-Florent-le-Vieil, at the top of the Mont-Glonne belvedere, discover a breathtaking view of the Loire and its islands. At the rocky promontory of Champtoceaux, 70 meters (230 feet) high, find the perfect spot to enjoy your picnic while gazing out over the river. Then, explore two high points in the vicinity of Le Cellier: the small chapel of Saint-Méen and the Thébaudières bluff.
Rendezvous at the confluence
In Candes-Saint-Martin, you have a superb view of the confluence of the Loire and the Vienne rivers. Several viewpoints are worth the detour: the bridge over the Vienne, the collegiate church and the mill and its toposcope
detailing the many highlights of the panorama. In Bouchemaine, in the village of La Pointe, the river Maine joins the Loire. At the highest point of the Angevine cornice, in La Haie Longue, another toposcope overlooks the Louet and the Loire. To embrace all the beauty of the lush landscape, opt for a ride in the sky aboard a glider or an ultralight plane.
Break in the vineyard
Muscadet, Layon, Saumur, Chinon, Touraine—many renowned wines flourish in the Loire Valley. To combine pleasure for the eyes and the palate, take a break in the vineyards at the Athimon family's Domaine des Génaudières, located on the heights of the Cellier, 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Nantes, or at Philippe Porché's Domaine de Rocheville. The latter is graced with a view of the Loire and the Parnay valley.
High above the castles of the Loire Valley
Impossible (and blasphemous!) to visit the Loire Valley without touring its world-famous castles, most of them built on promontories offering breathtaking panoramas over the valley. To admire the Loire and its landscapes, you have a plethora of choices: the castle of Saumur or the castle of Montsoreau, both located in Maine-et-Loire; the fortress of Chaumont-sur-Loire, which hosts the annual International Garden Festival; or the castle of Amboise, where the famous Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci is buried. To discover the entire heritage of the Loire from a new angle, take a hot-air balloon to admire the castles from the sky!