There is a great choice of cycle routes for bike rides starting in Angers. Whether you ride a hybrid, mountain or gravel bike, and whether you have electric assistance or not, the possibilities are many, with a diverse array of scenery, roads and lanes assured. Here we have selected five cycle routes that are worth pedalling for, for different levels of cyclist and different types of ride.
Loire by Bike Circuit around Angers - 40 km / Easy
The first is one of the great classics of the region. The Loire à Vélo is probably one of the best-known cycle routes in France. As you have probably noticed, the Loire doesn’t actually pass through Angers, but the city and the Loire are geographically close.
In Angers, the official Loire à Vélo route takes a detour via the Maine river. Our suggested route around Angers follows both part of the official Loire à Vélo route and the alternative route. Starting in Angers, in Balzac Park, you cross the city in a south-easterly direction. In twenty to thirty minutes, you will come to the Ardoisières Park, which is a reminder of the region’s important slate mining past. Once through Authion, you come to Loire-Authion where you will reach the banks of the Loire.
From there, you will be able to enjoy following the “royal river” via a safe cycle route alternating bike-friendly paths and quiet roads. Once you reach Bouchemaine, simply follow the banks of the Maine which will bring you back to the Lac de Maine leisure park to complete your loop.
Mayenne River Circuit - 26 km / Easy
Starting again from Balzac park, the preliminary stage of this Mayenne river circuit will take you alongside the Maine, offering you a stunning view of Angers Castle and the impressive cathedral as you pedal. Once past the rowing centre, you will reach the real start of this cycle route.
You then have two choices, either to follow the green way as far as Montreuil-Juigné, or to do the circuit in an anti-clockwise direction. We recommend the latter option, taking the superb tow path along the Mayenne. On the opposite bank, you will catch a glimpse of Saint Aubin island, which is encircled by three rivers: the Mayenne, the Sarthe and the Old Maine. A ferry service crosses over to the island.
Further along, up a hill, your pedaling will earn you an excellent view of the village of Cantenay-Épinard. The riverside café La Cabane du Chat qui Pêche is worth a stop. From here on, the Mayenne river banks become more wooded and steeper, too. You will come to Montreuil-Juigné and its municipal campsite. From here, you will need to work your calves a little (or your electric assistance) to climb the hill back up to the green way.
It is then an easy ride back into town along this safe, pedestrian and cyclist-only route. One highly recommended stop on your way is the Terra Botanica theme park. Its world of plants is unique in Europe.
Loir Valley by Bike Route - 31 km / Easy
Fancy escaping into the countryside for a bucolic ride? We have just the thing for you! Follow the cycle route along the Loir (not Loire!) river. This time, the route we suggest is a one-way ride of thirty or so kilometres, through the valley of the Loir.
We suggest making a stop in the village of Huillé, not far from Durtal and its castle. In fact, the Loir Valley by Bike route (V47) actually covers 320 kilometres in total. Perhaps this introduction will give you the idea for cycle touring trip for you and your bike. Who knows? We recommend also reading our tips for successfully preparing your first cycle touring trip.
But for now, just enjoy the ride along this way-marked cycle route following the meanders of the river. Expect wooded landscapes, and some undulating terrain as the route takes you through numerous well-preserved villages such as Briollay or Villevêque.
Loire-Layon-Aubance Vineyard Circuit - 87 km / Moderate
Not afraid to clock up the kilometres or to have a go at some hills? Then we recommend the Loire–Layon–Aubance Vineyard Circuit for you. As its name suggests, this cycle route passes through some of the most region’s most famous winegrowing areas.
Setting off from Angers, and after crossing the Lac de Maine leisure park, you will first pedal to the charming village of Bouchemaine. From this point of confluence between the Maine and the Loire, you can follow the route westwards by following the banks of the Loire, or go east via Les Ponts-de-Cé to cross the Loire and reach Brissac Castle.
Whatever you decide, the route will take you along peaceful lanes and quiet roads, through rural villages and up steep hillsides with views of the vines and windmills. Riding through the beautifully conserved Layon valley on a winding path in complete nature is one part of this route you are unlikely to forget.
Angers Rivers Route - 109 km / Moderate
If longer distances don’t scare you – or even attract you – then you should enjoy this route. This large 109-kilometre loop will bring you the best the Angers region has to offer in terms of cycling, with no less than five rivers along the way – the Maine, Mayenne, Sarthe, Loir and Authion.
The route starts along the Vélo Francette long-distance cycling route alongside the Mayenne. In Grez-Neuville, you will head east to see the stunning Plessis-Bourré castle. There are many places to stop and eat or of natural and historical interest along the way, such as the riverside café Le Kiviv in Briollay, Soucelles forest or the motte and bailey castle in Verrières-en-Anjou. There are some lesser known sights that are worth the detour, too, like the Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle Chapel perched above the Loir in Matheflon.
You will find no shortage of accommodation options along the route – including cyclist friendly establishments with the Accueil Vélo® mark. You could therefore consider breaking the ride up into a two or three-day cycle touring trip, giving yourself more time to relax and enjoy the surroundings without cycling too far each day. This athletic route is recommended for gravel bikes, but is also feasible on a hybrid or mountain bike. There are a few good hills, but the route presents no major difficulties in terms of riding conditions. Please note that this route is not way-marked.