Whether you are in Angers simply for a night or for a longer stay, this list of places to visit are perfect for nature lovers.
Parks and Gardens in Angers
Terra Botanica, A World of Plants
This botanical theme park in Angers is the only one of its kind and offers a unique adventure into the world of plants. As well as a 150-metre high balloon ride, extraordinary gardens and hot houses and incredibly rich biodiversity – the park houses some 500,000 plants – Terra Botanica also puts on a large programme of shows, activities and workshops every year. Among the theme park’s newest additions, you can discover the Mysteries of the Forest tree-top trail for families, and Les Envolées Végétales, an original and event-packed culture festival which the park is organizing for a second year round. What’s more, from 14 July at nightfall, the Terra Nocta sound and light trail will give you the chance to contemplate nature in another light! Guaranteed fun for all the family.
Another date for your diary: On 26 June, the Secrets of Ramsar gravel biking excursion will take cycling enthusiasts through the Basses Vallées Angevines, via Terra Botanica.
Arboretum Gaston Allard, One of Angers’ Treasures
The Gaston Allard Arboretum is a real gem of a park and has something magical about it. Covering 17 acres in the heart of the Roseraie district of Angers, the arboretum offers poetic natural surroundings, contrasts of light and shade, endless different scents and thousands of varieties of trees and plants to discover. This haven of greenery, planted by the park’s founder between 1863 and 1915, features four gardens with different themes. With a relaxation and play area, shrub garden and the François Cacheux sculpture museum to visit, the arboretum is magical in every season.
Angers Botanical Garden (Jardin des plantes), in the Centre of Town
Behind its stunning wrought iron fence, the Jardin des plantes is a haven of tranquillity in the centre of town. Created in the 18th century by botanists who gave lessons there, it is now full of century-old trees and beautiful varieties of vegetation. With its cascading stream, paths winding up the hill and lovely statues, this English-style garden is the perfect place for a cool pause with a book or a picnic. Kids will also love to visit the animals, especially the goats and rabbits and, of course, the playground.
More: The park also has a QR code trail so that you can learn more about its most remarkable trees.
Parks and Gardens in the rest of Maine-et-Loire
Mediterranean Garden, in Sainte-Gemmes-sur-Loire
This unexpected Mediterranean garden will take you for a stroll with a view, on the banks of the Loire. From its long terraced alleys, the panorama of the river is stunning. In summer, when the scents of lavender and rosemary fill the air of the alleys, lined with cypresses, olive trees and vines, the name of the garden takes on all its meaning. It’s a peaceful spot to spend a moment and the shaded stone tables are ideal for a picnic. In spring and summer, you will also find the Port-Thibault waterside café not far away.
Rose Garden - Les Chemins de la Rose, near Saumur
Out for the day in Doué-la-Fontaine, the capital of roses? Make sure you don’t miss the Rose Garden - Les Chemins de la Rose. This almost 10-acre English-style garden is home to an exceptional collection of more than 1000 varieties of old and unusual roses. Relish the stunning sight, scents and colours of the 13,000 roses growing along the alleys of this garden. For little ones, the treasure hunt with Léon the peacock promises an unforgettable time.
Maulévrier Oriental Park, a Taste of Japan
This park in Maulévrier, near Cholet is the largest Japanese-style garden in Europe. With pretty bridges spanning the river and lake, two small islands and Japanese-pruned trees, this 29-hectare park inspired by the Edo period (17th to 19th centuries) will instantly transport you to the other side of the world. Be it day or night, you’ll experience a sense of serenity and a unique atmosphere here. Don’t forget to check out the park’s calendar of events. If you are lucky enough, your visit might coincide with the exhibition on Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, or the “Painters in the Garden” day.
Camifolia, the Secrets of Plants
After a visit to Jardin Camifolia, you will know all about the extraordinary properties of plants. Situated south of Angers in Chemillé-en-Anjou, this 8.6-acre park showcases 600 varieties of plants, organised into themes. All the secrets of plants for health, beauty and wellness are revealed along the trail through the park. A host of fun family activities are offered including plant foraging competitions, lessons on plant dyes and tastings of unusual edible plants.
Jardins de la Houssaye, Introduction to Permaculture
Want to understand how permaculture works or learn more about vegetables and medicinal plants? If so, a visit to these gardens is a must! Here in the heart of the Mauges region, some 400 plant varieties are on show in three themed areas: the Mandala garden, the herb gardens and an extraordinary 100 sq. metre glass house dating from the 19th century. Ever tasted squash with a taste of banana and kiwi? From the classic to the unusual, this sensory journey won’t fail to amaze you! We highly recommend a guided tour with Valentin whose enthusiasm is contagious.
Isle Briand Park, Walks and Equestrian Pursuits
Since 1971 and the creation of the National Stud Farm at this 180 hectare-park, north of Lion d’Angers, equestrian activities have been an indissociable element of the landscape here. With a racecourse, stud farm and dozens of events, this is the ideal destination for horse lovers. The park also offers five kilometres of marked trails through meadow and forest, not far from the tow path along the Mayenne. Look out for the many plants and animals that inhabit this oasis of green.
Jardins de Puygirault, Vegetable Gardens through the Ages
Stroll from ancient garden to Medieval kitchen garden and medicinal garden – from the era of foraging to the plant diversity we know today, the Jardins de Puygirault invite you to go back in time by retracing the evolution of vegetable gardens and the human relationship with plants. At this park in Saumur, visitors can discover more than 1000 plants in 14 different spaces. The educational trail is great for all ages, especially the final stop at the interior troglodyte garden.