1. Cycle to Sainte-Gemmes-sur-Loire
You don’t need to go far to find yourself in the heart of nature. Set off from the centre of Angers in the cool of the morning, and follow the cycle path. In just a few pedal strokes you’ll be in Sainte-Gemmes-sur-Loire.
It’s an easy ride to begin with, as you pedal alongside the Loire with its 10km of cycle paths belonging to the Loire à Vélo route. You’ll deserve a break once you arrive at the river’s confluence with the Maine. From here, you have one of the most stunning vistas of the river and the natural area of the Baumette meadows. This place where untouched nature reigns supreme is a favourite gathering spot for many species of birds. Remembered to bring your binoculars along?
We recommend continuing on into the centre of the village where there are several gardens worth seeing. The delicate fragrance of the vegetation easily inebriates the senses. You’ll be surprised how quickly time flies ... and that you don’t want to go home!
2. Enjoy a change of scenery on Ile Saint-Aubin
Needless to say that in Angers, Saint-Aubin island is a favourite day out for a taste of the countryside of the Basses Vallées Angevines. Just a few minutes from the town centre, the adventure begins with the crossing of the river by passenger ferry.
Once you’ve reached dry land, you’ll find lanes in all shades of green to stroll down while trying to spot the protected species that inhabit the island, like the corn crake.
In need of a refreshment and haven’t brought anything along with you? No need to worry, the island’s guinguette or waterside café makes for a perfectly bucolic stop where glasses clink to the sound of the lapping water.
3. Explore Briollay marshes
Believe us, there is nowhere else quite like Briollay in Europe. And we’re not the only ones who think so! Briollay is listed as a Natura 2000 site for its plantlife and the thousands of migratory birds that like to shelter here.
Pull on your explorer’s gear and set out on the footpaths of the educational marsh which has been especially designed to raise visitors’ awareness to this fragile ecosystem. Kids absolutely love to follow the trail! They’ll race each other to try to find the next explanatory panel. Learning in the outdoors is much more fun than school!
For snack, you have Le Kiviv, a lovely waterside café offering local and homemade products to hungry visitors.
4. Unwind in Bauné woods
In Bauné, you’ll find happiness not in the fields, but in the woods! Take time to slow down and connect with nature thanks to some ‘forest bathing’. Ever heard of the idea? This well-known concept in Japan consists of walking in the forest in a mindful way so as to take in every detail of your surroundings.
The tranquillity of the forest helps you to reconnect with yourself, so take along your yoga mat or meditation cushion ! It’s a guaranteed feel-good outing.
5. Meet friends in Port Maillard in La Daguenière
Port Maillard is a much-loved haunt for many groups of friends and is THE place for a summer stroll in Angers and around. As well as being listed as UNESCO World Heritage, this former inland shipping port is also appreciated by day trippers for its ash trees.
For a picnic on the banks of the Loire or just to enjoy the conviviality of the waterside café L’Embardée, Port Maillard is a place where people love to get together to share simple and authentic moments. But not only! There is also something for walkers to enjoy, thanks to the 13-kilometre Loire-Ardoise-Authion circuit on which you can see marshland wildlife, like herons and terns.
6. Lunch on the grass in Andard
For a family stroll near Angers, Andard and its marshland scenery are a little known, but perfect place for some time among nature. Here, there is everything you need for a great time with children.
After a good picnic on the banks of the Authion, you can follow the amazing educational trail which winds in and out among the reeds. With a little luck you might hear the song of the reed warbler or the reed bunting. To recognise them, make sure you stop and read the explanatory panels along your way.
7. Go kayaking on the Loire
What better than an outing in a kayak for a feeling of freedom? The Loire is quite an easy river to navigate. Whenever the weather is nice, kayaking is a popular activity on the water in Angers.
Ile de Sorin makes a lovely little oasis for a well-earned break. On this micro island of sand, you’ll feel far, far away, but no need to panic – you’re still on the Loire!
Take time to enjoy the view of the church of La Bohalle on the opposite bank. It is one of Anjou’s most important neo-classical buildings.