Angers has been voted the greenest city in France on countless occasions and is now part of a slow tourism* campaign. This new way to travel is your ticket to explore the destination sustainably, naturally and ethically.
Walk along the Loire riverbanks, ride a horse in the Anjou forest or ride a gravel bike through the vines... Whether you want to get your heart pumping or get a weight off your shoulders, there's a whole host of unique experiences to get you out of your daily routine. Experience the real Anjou amongst its nature and heritage: magical and delightful. Here are a few slow tourism activities so you can soak up our region off the beaten track.
Meet the vine growers
Anjou stands out for its incredible wine bursting with flavour. France's 3rd biggest vine growing region produces iconic tipples including Coteaux-du-Layon, Savennières and Cabernet d’Anjou.
Leisurely hike in Savennières
Hit the Savennières vineyards path on foot or gravel bike to explore the vine-covered hillsides. Take your time and enjoy an idyllic outing soaking up the sun-kissed hills and flatlands up to the banks of the Loire. Along the way you'll make new friends with passionate local producers over a tasting session**. Enjoy a chat and learn about their background, winery and vines. Autumn is a truly magical time for this outing as the leaves glow orange and red!
Organic wine tasting with a vine grower
Organic winemakers in the Loire Valley capture the great taste of wine and the land. And they love to share it. Winemakers greet visitors with open arms at their organic wineries to introduce them to an organic wine selection grown on hillsides, nurtured by long-standing vine growing expertise and family heritage.
**ALCOHOL ABUSE IS DANGEROUS FOR HEALTH. PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY.
Explore Anjou nature
Slow tourism also means feasting your eyes on the great outdoors, your ears on the sound of silence, your nose on the scent of undergrowth... and bonding with Mother Nature/your own nature. How about just lying down in the meadow that's yours for the taking?! Go on. Don't worry. If you're not too sure, just pack one of this year's trendy fouta towels in your backpack or basket.
Escape to the country in the educational briollay wetlands
The educational Briollay wetlands lie along the Sarthe in the town of the same name. This small-scale model of the Anjou Lower Valleys is brought to life by its green gold that changes with the seasons. The air is fragrant with plants and the landscape is bursting with colours from April to September. Flora and fauna flourish in harmony in this Natura 2000 ecosystem. Keep your eyes peeled and try to spot the different species thriving in the deserted meadows and wetlands. Researchers have found that spending time observing your surroundings is good for your mental and physical health and a fantastic mood-booster!
Natura 2000 adventure on île Saint-Aubin
Whilst in Angers, pay a visit to the Natura 2000-listed île Saint-Aubin between May and October. This leafy haven lies deep in Angers along the Mayenne and Sarthe Rivers. Getting there couldn't be simpler: just catch the cute little ferry from the island port. Children love helping the ferryman pull the chain from one bank to the other. The site is home to countless protected species including the corn crake. Listen out for its distinctive rattling birdsong as you explore. Wanting more music? Stop at the summer guinguette bar on the way back to soak up the setting at the weekend. Live music brings the summer nights to life.
Riverside bike ride
Do your bit for the environment and hit the Anjou bike paths. The many signposted bike paths mean cyclists of any ability can explore our natural destination's hidden gems.
The loire à vélo's long Anjou loop
Put pedal to the metal in Balzac Park and hit the 40km Anjou Loop on the Loire à Vélo bike path. Your adventure gets you up close and personal with nature at its most unspoilt from the Mediterranean garden in Sainte-Gemmes-sur-Loire to the quirky Ardoisières Park in Trélazé. Don't forget to pack a picnic with local produce for a delicious al fresco lunch.
Adventure deep in the Anjou Lower Valleys
The Anjou Lower Valleys are popular among locals and easy to explore on a bike ride by one of the rivers making up its floodable landscapes. The Mayenne, Sarthe and Loir Rivers on the edge of Angers are yours for the taking as part of the major Vallée du Loir à Vélo or Vélo Francette cycling routes. The sprawling wetlands are peaceful, unspoilt and bursting with paths to explore with the family or on gravel or all-terrain bikes if you're feeling adventurous. Just make sure you keep an eye out for the local flora and fauna.
Forest bathing in Seiches-sur-le-Loir
Recharge your batteries as you explore in and around Seiches-sur-le-Loir on the exclusive Les Moulins du Loir bike path. Can you smell the pines in Boudré Forest that stretches right up to the ancient Château du Verger? This may well be the perfect time to try a bit of sylvotherapy or tree hugging. Come lunchtime, no break is complete without a picnic followed by a well-earned siesta as the river lulls you to sleep. Carry on and you'll spot the old Corzé water mill before you have a welcome dip in Villevêque.
Tickle your tastebuds with Angers specialities
Trying local food and drink is a delicious way to experience a destination.
What better way to awaken your senses than a trip to one of the best eateries in the area? Soak up the friendly local atmosphere as you tuck into Angers specialities at the best restaurants in the area. Just one look at the mouth-watering menu of signature Anjou flavours and you're hooked.
Treat your tastebuds to a foodie experience sampling local dishes. Visit our markets and local producers to stock up on ingredients to put your own spin on our Anjou classics. A golden opportunity to visit our characterful villages and Petites Cités de Caractère®.
Shop local and ethical
Meet local Anjou producers and artisans at social foodie get-togethers.
Angers organic market
Browse the colourful stalls run by organic Anjou producers at the organic market in Angers city centre on Saturday morning. The traders have a passion for their land and will be delighted to share the tricks of their trade with you. They put all the talent into their local cheese, fruit and vegetables: Coutures artichoke, button mushrooms, Comice pears and more. Yum!
Anjou farm shops
Sustainable and healthy food means shopping local. La Ferme Angevine near Angers is one of the local farm shops selling a whole host of Anjou produce so you can reconnect with real food.
Escape in Anjou
Slow tourism means taking your time and getting off the beaten track to experience and be dazzled by the real France.
Vineyard horse ride
The Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Nature Park is jam-packed with bridleways. This authentic horse ride takes you deep into the Haut-Anjou vineyards, woodlands or countryside. Unleash your inner cowgirl or boy on your trusty steed as you take a deep breath of fresh country air... Now that's horse power!
Loire boat trip
Set sail on a unique cruise on the Anjou rivers on a summer night. Join Atoue Loire on a relaxing pre-dinner or evening barge or traditional "toue" houseboat ride whilst Loire Odyssée provides cruises and dinner/concerts with local flavours on the Loire. What a great way to explore the scenery and spot the Loire's wildlife.
SUP on the Sarthe
Do you fancy working up a sweat? Warming up your abs and winding down your mind? We've got your number: a board, a paddle, a sense of balance and the peaceful and beautiful Anjou Lower Valleys as you glide along the water. Unleash your inner water baby and enjoy idyllic 360° views! Try your hand at kayaking or canoeing on a trip down the Mayenne, Maine, Old Maine or around île Saint-Aubin.
Slow tourism activities in Anjou
Dive deep into Anjou's nature on guided tours and activities with locals.
Local petting zoo tour
Cheeky little monsters of all ages always love meeting the animals at the petting zoo. Children and adults take care of calves and kid goats with exciting activities that help them learn, focus and be "grown up". A heart-warming experience.
Guided tour of anjou-touraine park
Anjou-Touraine Park provides guided tours unveiling local natural and cultural hidden gems. Make new friends on DIY workshops or walks getting up close with nature.
Take part in classes at the environment centre
The environment centre plays a key role in protecting local biodiversity. It provides a range of activities that promote protecting the ecosystem. Take your pick from a tour of the organic garden or trip around its exhibitions.
As you can tell, you can experience the real Anjou with slow tourism: take your time, go with the flow, walk or cycle at your own pace and do your bit for the environment.
*Slow tourism is an alternative form of travel that's more connected to the nature around us and to the community i.e. locals, artisans and passionate businesses. It's also a more respectful way to visit an area as it's more about quality over quantity, experience over ticking boxes.