France
Pays de la Loire

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Top 10 Travel Destinations Pays de la Loire

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281 travelers at this place

  • Day38

    Nocturne Medieval Night

    July 27, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    We were lucky enough to be in Bazoges en Pareds for their Nocturne Medieval celebration and re-enactment. After dress rehearsal the night before (we still had no idea what we were supposed to be doing because all instructions were given in French) we turned up in our amazing costumes at the castle in the centre of the village and did our best to fudge our way through. Our hosts Alan and Mel were actually the stars of the show and we were nobles so we really received the royal treatment - many goblets of spiced wine, beers, fresh flat bread baked in the wood oven, cheese, pate, all finished off with an incredible fire dance show in the gardens. We finally crawled into bed around 2 am after a wonderful evening - thank you Alan and Mel.Read more

  • Day42

    Final Rest Day in Le Croisic

    October 1, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    After the continual frenetic activity of the previous few weeks it was a relief to finally know that there would be no riding today. There would also be no need for packing, moving bags, finding hotels, etc. In fact we had lots of time and very little to do with it. It was heaven.

    The breakfast room of our hotel was actually across the the road in the waterfront restaurant where we had dined the night before. You could not imagine a more spectacular place to enjoy your morning baguettes and orange juice. The building is situated right on the edge of the Atlantic and has panoramic windows on the ocean side that offer continually mesmerising view of the ever changing waves crashing outside. It was the sort of place you could spend hours, just watching the ocean.

    Of course, there was one essential task that had to be done. Our bags were bursting with laundry that urgently needed the services of a washing machine. We already knew that there was a coin laundry, only about 1 km away from the hotel. So that's where we headed. The next hour was spent watching the clothes do round and round in the washing machine, then in the dryer. It was nowhere near as exciting as watching the waves, but it was a soothing feeling to know that you would finally have clean clothes once again.

    One incredible feature of this part of the world is the huge tidal range. At low tide the water recedes so far away that you can no longer see it. At the fishing port all the moored boats are left sitting on the sand. It is quite a sight to behold, especially when the tide turns and the water starts russhing back in again. Over the space of 20 minutes I sat and watch the entire scene change before my eyes. Boats that were stuck firm are lifted from the sand and start bobbing away in the water.

    Le Croisic is very clearly a holiday location and, at this time of the year, most of the houses are already locked and shuttered for the winter. It does seem like quite a waste seeing so many magnificent homes being left empty for so many months at a time.

    In the evening we met for the final group dinner of the ride. We had been booked into L"Estacade Restaurant. This is a Michelin restaurant that is rated number 1 out of about 50 in Le Croisic. We discovered that this rating was richly deserved. The food and service was simply superb. It was a magnificent way to end an incredible trip.

    After dinner we had a lengthy walk back to the hotel, but the evening was mild and the wind had dropped. It was a magical feeling, walking back through the narrow streets, lit by subdued sepia lighting. I suspect we were probably all a bit noisier than we should have been, but it really didn't matter much since the place was almost deserted.

    In the morning our group will disperse to places all over Europe. What an unforgettable time we have shared together.
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  • Day39

    Les Machines de I'lle

    September 28, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Although I have been to Nantes twice before, there is one sight that I had not yet seen. Nantes is home to one of the most fantastical collections of automated giant creatures that you could ever find. The giant creatures are an homage to the creative mind of Jules Verne - Nante's most famous son.

    Towards the end of today's ride from Champtoceaux we made a special detour to visit Les Machines and we weren't disappointed. The most famous of these creatures is the giant mechanised elephant. This huge construction can actually carry up to 40 passengers as it walks around on its huge wooden legs. The highly articulated trunk regularly soaks bystanders with jets of water. None of us had seen enything like it, in fact the place was so special that I thought it warranted its very own footprint.

    It truly was the stuff of dreams and imaginations.
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  • Day47

    Back to the Loire

    October 6, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    I must admit that we all felt quite emotional. It is not easy to say goodbye to friends you have shared so many experiences with over the past few weeks. It was also something of an acknowledgement that our time in France was inevitably coming to an end.

    Kay and Annie were catching an early train from St Malo to Paris airport. In a few hours they would both be on their way back to Australia. A couple of hours later we were farewelling Gael and Gerry as they headed off to spend a few days in Paris. That meant we were down to just the two of us. And where will will be going ? We will actually be heading right back to where we were about a week ago.

    It was time to pam (ie cram) the suitcases again for another train trip. With bulging zippers we said goodbye to the girl at the desk of the Beaufort Hotel. It had been our fourth stay at this hotel and we told her that we both hoped it would not be the last.

    As soon as we started rolling our way towards the train station, we started to miss the sound of the ocean. That continuous white noise of the waves and tides really does work its way into your subconscious. It is certainly a magical way to drift off to sleep.

    Our plan was to travel back to Nantes - the place where we had seen the giant automated elephant and dined like royalty at La Cigalle. That meant catching the train from St Malo to Rennes and then getting a second train to Nantes. Although the French make amazing trains that can cross the nation silently at 300 kph, their station design leaves a lot to be desired.

    It is apalling that so many of their stations still have no lifts or escalators. There is often no alternative to manhandling suitcases up and down long flights of stairs. I cannot understand how anyone with any sort of physical disability would manage. It is bad enough for people of "senior years", like us.

    Even if you successfully manage to get your luggage through the station and on to the correct train, there is almost no storage room on the trains for suitcases. We have often had to jam the case into the same seats we were sitting on and then have an extremely uncomfortable journey as a result.

    At least the train to Rennes was only partially full, enabling us to grab a couple of spare seats for our luggage. We then sat in fear that additional people would board the train and demand those two seats. Fortunately that did not happen and we made it to Rennes without incident.

    With only a few minutes to catch the next train, we performed the "suitcase two step" between the platforms, arriving exhausted at the Nantes train. In the process I think I also managed to do more damage to my back and knee. This really is the not so glamorous part of travel.

    Although the Nantes train was more densely populated, we somehow managed to find a tiny piece of space for our luggage and sat down to enjoy the wonderful scenery outside. An hour later we were getting off the train at Nantes. Ity almost felt like being back home again as the place was familiar. It was also significantly warmer than it had been in St Malo, so we were soon discarding our coats.

    After checking into our hotel we wandered back into the streets of the centreville. One shop caught our attention. It was an optical shop with a slogan "10 Euros in 10 Minutes". And yes, it is true. They can make you a pair of glasses for 10 Euro in 10 minutes. Everything is highly automated and done in front of your eyes. You don't even need an appointment OR a prescription as they can do a high tech eye test on the spot. It seemed an incredible concept and we would have gone inside and given it a try if it had not been a Sunday and if they had not been closed. I could do with a spare pair of 10 Euro glasses.

    Tomorrow we will be colelcting our hire car from the depot and then heading further south to the Dordogne region.
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  • Day40

    A Hard Day at the Office

    September 29, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    On every extended ride there is usually one day that is remembered as "the day of suffering". On our 2019 French Ride, today was that day. Not that we can complain, up till now we have enjoyed an uncanny run of glorious weather. I guess that really had to come to an end sooner or later.

    We all knew that the day was not going to be easy. All night we had heard the sound of rain falling outside the hotel. I had also been kept awake by the seemingly constant progression of drunken knobs walking past the hotel at all hours of the night. I don't mind them walking past, but why do they all want to yell at the tops of their voices as they do so ? Nantes is indeed a lovely city, but I was already seeking somewhere quieter.

    The rain continued as we assembled with our riders - a more comic bunch of umpa lumpas you would be hard pressed to find anywhere. It seemed that everyone had managed to find even more wet weather clothing than Horatio Hornblower would have worn in an Atlantic gale. And thus the ride started.

    The first major challenge was to navigate our way out of Nantes, without the aid of the GPS. Finding the Loire was easy, the rest was not so easy. I asked the entire group to help by keeping an eye out for those little green bike signs. We made a couple of minor errors before making a major one. By the time we realised that we had missed the turn, it was too late to double back. The brains trust (aka Russell and Gordon) came to the conclusion that we could get through anyway. And we did. It turned out to be an inspired mistake that probably actually saved us a little time.

    Like all big cities, Nantes has an outer ring of ugly industrial complexes, storage facilities and the like. When you combine this with the still pouring rain, we were starting to look a little ragged before we had even made the first 10 km. And did I mention the head wind ? Well I should have. It soon became evident that we would be pushing into the teeth of a stiff westerly wind all day. At times the wind was so strong as to almost bring us to a standstill. Considering that this was also going to be our longest day in the saddle, it was not a prospect to be savoured.

    Somehow, by sheer force of will and bloody mindedness we made it as far as Indre. At this point we had to cross to the south bank of the river by catching a ferry across the Loire. There were two good points to this crossing - it gave us a short break from our labours and it was free.

    When we were deposited on the opposite bank we all knew that we still had another 45 km to ride. The rain was still falling heavily. The head wind was still blowing. And my severely compromised GPS had to be completely relegated to the pannier. In fact I could hardly see through my wet glasses. Our strength was failing. On the positive side, at least we had left the busy roads behind and were able to ride on a quiet, albeit waterlogged, bike path.

    "This rain will really help the Loire", I said, trying to think of something positive.
    "Who cares about the river ?", was the consensus response.

    It really was hard going, but just as our strength was failing, Yvonne made a wonderful chance discovery. She spied a large cafe, right on the edge of the bike path. Before I could say or do anything, she had already dropped her bike and was making a bee line for the front door. We weren't far behind her.

    Over the next hour we ordered coffee after coffee and galette (waffle) after galette. Our morales started to improve as we warmed up and dried out a little. Things improved even further when we noticed that the rain had finally stopped and the clouds had started to thin a little. Perhaps we could make it after all.

    We finally suited up again and started off. Our destination was St Brevin Les Pins, situated at the mouth of the Loire. Although it was still a long way off, it certainly made for more pleasant riding when we no longer had rain finding its way into every part of our anatomy.

    The final twenty or so km really seemed to take for ever, but our chance encounter with a large group of Citroen 2CV drivers added a welcome diversion. They seemed just as glad to see us as we were to see them. They all proceeded to salute us with a caucophony of horns, hooters, tooters, klaxons and whistles. It was another of those unplanned events that makes travel so incredibly addictive.

    As we entered the outskirts of St Brevin, we got our first glimpses of the famous massive bridge that spans the mouth of the Loire, although it was somewhat difficult to see through the mist. The route become a winding labyrinth of twists and turns that made me glad that I had been able to resurrect the GPS, just long enough to guide us to the hotel.

    By the time we finally reached the large Spa Du Beryl Hotel and Casino, we were all near to our physical limits. It really had been a hard day, but we had now reached our primary objective of reaching the mouth of the Loire. Tomorrow's final ride to Le Croisic would be a wonderful epilogue to an incredible cycling experience.

    The hotel however was not my type of place. Although the rooms were comfortable, I find it hard to take pleasure from an establishment that grows rich from the stupidity and weakness of others. I watched the people in the casino as they mindlessly gambled away their hard earned money. I noticed that not a single one of them was smiling as they just kept pushing the buttons on the poker machines. With every push of the button, a little more of their future was robbed from them. Every external door of the place was surrounded by a clump of smokers, trying to pump a little more nicotine into their systems, before returning to their gambling.

    The location of the hotel was right on the Atlantic coast. I guess we would have had a wonderful view if our rooms had been on the other side of the building. The view of the car park was not quite as exciting as the view of the ocean would have been.

    Tomorrow we will be donning our cycling gear and climbing on our bikes for the very last day as we complete our ride to Le Croisic.
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  • Day41

    Mission Accomplished

    September 30, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Although we had already ridden to the mouth of the Loire at St Brevin, our ride was not yet fully completed. We all know that the Tour de France is not completed until the riders enter Paris and ride around the Champs Elysees. That final day for the Tour de France riders is something of a formality, the maillot jaune has already been effectively won in the final day on the mountains.

    If yesterday was something of our final day in the mountains, then today was our epilogue. While we had achieved our primary aim, we still had to continue our way westwards to the wild Atlantic coast at Le Croisic. It still had the potential to b e another really challenging day, especially as the weather forecast was for more rain and very strong winds from the west. This would not be an ideal way to complete our ride, but we would have to accept whatever was thrown at us.

    You can imagine my relief when I awoke to find that the rain had stopped. So had the wind. That was a very promising development. We donned the cycling gear for the last time and went down to attack the breakfast buffet. The breakfast itself was in keeping with a large casino hotel, so I took maximum advantage of what was on offer. I then gathered the group together for a group photo in front of the hotel.

    Then it was time to begin our final day. The first challenge was to safely get across the huge bridge across the Loire to St Nazaire on the right bank. This bridge was built in the 1970s and was for many years the longest bridge in France and the longest cable suspended bridge in the world. At 3.4 km long, it certainly would take a brave cyclist to try to ride across it, especially as there is no bike lane and the wind at the top would be horrendous.

    We had arranged for a mini bus transfer of ourselves and our bikes to the other side. The only problem was that it could only transfer 7 of us at a time. This meant that the first group would have to wait by the side of the road for 40 minutes, until the others arrived. I did the right thing by volunteering Maggie and I to join this first batch. Another 5 people reluctantly joined us. We took the bus trip and then waited. And waited. I got tired and decided to sit down, unfortunately right in the middle of a puddle of water I had not seen. Result - a wet backside.

    When the group was finally complete, we were glad to see that the wind was still lacking and the rain was absent. It was ideal for riding. Russell and I had also done a little research and found that the route could be "fiddled with" in order to save us quite a few uneccessary km. I call it a stroke of genius and the rest of the peloton seemed to agree.

    Although we had been expecting a flat final day, we did manage to find quite a few moderate sized hill and one big one along the way. It made us happy that we had excised those extra kilometres.

    One surprising feature of the houses in this region were the lovely thatched roofs. They almost made us feel we were cycling in the UK.

    The final major attraction was the impressive medieval walled city of Guerande. Not only is it fully surrounded by a massive stone wall, it even has a moat as well. It looks like it has come straight out of the Dark Ages. We were also somewhat surprised that it was very quiet. Although we had expected it to be full of tourists, the place was almost deserted. Not only was it a Monday, but we arrived right in the middle of the siesta time. Fortunately a couple of the cafes were open, so we were able to get some sustenance before the final leg to Le Croisic.

    After leaving Guerande we immediately found ourselves riding through the famous salt pans of the region. Here salt is harvested from the sea water in a huge array of interconnected shallow ponds. It is quite a spectacle, but it is also highly exposed to the wind. As we drew closer and closer to the coast, the headwind started to blow in our faces as a reminder of what might have been if the weather bureau had been correct.

    With our final destination almost in view there was a feeling of exhileration in the group. The route had been changed since we last rode this section and the revised version gave us a lovely tour of the city before we began the final cruise to the hotel. With the waves crashing on the rocks to our left and the magnificent stately homes on our right, it certainly makes for a memorable sight.

    When I announced that the ride had been completed, everyone dismounted and hugged each other. We had shared so much together and it is an indescribable feeling to have achieved something we had been anticipating for over a year. It was also time to do what we always do at such times - take a group photo.

    We noticed a lady walking towards us and asked if she would take our picture. She entered into the spirit of the occasion with enthusiasm, almost getting run over as she stood in the middle of the road. She also told us that we had arrived just in time for the next king tide. It would be there in just a couple of hours. How is that for perfect planning ?

    All we needed now was a hotel to stay in. We had previously stayed in the nearby Les Nids Hotel, but is was now closed and boarded up. The replacement hotel was Les Vikings and I have to admit that it looked absolutely dreadful from the outside. Large pieces were missing from the facade, the paint was peeling, it looked derelict. I was more than a little worried. It would not be a great way to finish such an epic ride if we had to spend the last two nights in a dump.

    Our fears dispersed as soon as we entered the front door. Apparently we are the final guests to be housed here before the full restoration takes place. As soon as we leave the place will be closed so that the builders can start. We were thrilled to find that, not only were our rooms huge, clean and modern, but they all faced the ocean. We ran back and forth from room to room in a silly game of "you show me yours and I'll show you mine". I knew that I had a very happy peloton.

    That evening we had dinner in the oceanfront "Restaurant de L'Ocean". You could not get any closer to the water than this place and we looked through the panoramic windows at the setting sun and the huge waves crashing against the rocks below us. It was a night to remember.

    Yvonne Parsons had spent some time collating statistics of our ride along the Loire. This is what she calculated. Total time in the saddle - 57 hours. Distance ridden 812 km per person. The total vertical distance climbed was over 4,000 metres. Of course this does not include the riding we had already done in Provence. I could also add another very important statistic - Number of punctures ZERO. It truly had been an epic ride in every sense of the word.

    We now have a free day in Le Croisic, before we all begin to make our own ways back to Australia.
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  • Day42

    Rouge

    July 12 in France ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    Die vorerst letzte Nacht in Frankreich verbringe ich auf einem kleinen Abgelegenen Hof bei einem alten Herrn und seiner Hündin. Der alte Mann hat einen typischen Natursteingutshof. Er macht extra für mich noch Abendessen und ich genieße die Ruhe hier. Er spricht nur französisch aber wir schaffen es uns zu verständigen. Früher hat er Jockeys gemanagt und hatte viele Rennpferde. Es tut gut die Nacht hier zu verbringen. Es erdet mich irgendwie. ich fühle mich geborgen und gut aufgehoben. Ich freue mich auf Spanien, irgendwie bin ich durch Frankreich durch. Die Provence möchte ich noch sehen aber ansonsten bin ich wirklich gewillt in den Süden vorzustoßen.Read more

  • Day43

    Chateaubriant

    July 13 in France ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Ab hier im Partymobil mit Mariano und. Silke Richtung Espana ☺️✌️ Ich war so happy die beiden zu sehen. Und es war ein Luxus hinten im Wohnmobil zu liegen während jemand vorne fährt. Ich hab es einfach nur genoßen.Read more

  • Day74

    Nördliche Atlantikküste

    August 31, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Wir genießen die Eindrücke am Meer: 3000 Menhire stehen seit 7000 Jahren in Steinreihen in Carnac, Austernbänke zeigen Ihre enorme Größe bei Ebbe, der Moment, wenn die 4,5 km lange Straße „Le Gois“ zweimal am Tag für 3 Std. befahren werden darf ( bei Flut liegt sie 4 m unter dem Wasserspiegel). Gestern gab es Brunos ersten Open-Air-Kinobesuch: passender weise „Blue“ 🌊

    We enjoy the various impressions at the Atlantic : 3000 menhirs stand since 7000 years in stone rows in Carnac, oyster banks show their enormous size at low tide, the moment, when the 4.5 km long road "Le Gois" twice a day for 3 hours may be driven (at high tide it lies 4 m below the water level). Yesterday there was Bruno's first open air cinema visit: "Blue" 🌊
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  • Day3

    Boulangerie de Parnay

    August 21, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Auf dem Weg nach Saumur fahren wir die Loire entlang und sehen noch einige Weingüter die auch in Tuffsteinhöhlen gebaut wurden. Entlang des Weges sehen wir einen Laden eines Weingutes und beschließen hier kurz Halt zu machen und evtl. ein bisschen ein zu testen.

    Überraschender Weise ist direkt hier auch noch eine kleine Bäckerei mit Laden und diese hat auch noch offen. Nachdem wir seit dem Frühstück noch wenig gegessen haben und es schon 18 Uhr ist besuchen wir zuerst die Bäckerei.

    Die Produkte sehen gut und frisch aus und wir essen einen PekanussCaramelBrownie und einen PistazienEclair und dazu noch Kaffee.

    Beim weiteren Umsehen entdecken wir hinter der Theke noch direkt die kleine Backstube in der morgens wohl produziert wird. Insgesamt sieht das total super aus, auch das Konzept mit Bioprodukten und der Preis hat uns total überzeugt.

    Die Vinothek haben wir noch kurz besucht aber da eine Weinprobe 7 Euro gekostet hätte und nur einer probieren hätte können, haben wir uns das geschenkt und sind wir nach Saumur gefahren.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Pays de la Loire, Países da Loira, بايي دو لا لوار, Pays de la Loire suyu, Luara torpağı, Землі Луары, Пеи дьо ла Лоар, Broioù al Liger, País del Loira, Луаран латтанаш, Pays-de-la-Loire, Luarlandoj, Países del Loira, پیی دو لا لوآر, Payis de la Lêre, Países do Loira, פיי דה לה לואר, Zemlja Loire, Loire-mente, Լուարայի երկիր, Lando di Loire, Paesi della Loira, ペイ・ド・ラ・ロワール地域圏, ლუარის რეგიონი, 페이드라루아르, Pagi Ligeris, Luaros kraštas, Luāra, Лоарски Крај, पेई दा ला लोआर, Païses de Léger, ਪੇ ਡ ਲਾ ਲੁਆਰ, Kraj Loary, Pais ëd la Lòira, لوائیر وادی, País do Loire, Земли Луары, Paisi dâ Loira, Loire, Регион Лоара, แคว้นเปอีเดอลาลัวร์, Пеї-де-ла-Луар, پئی دو لا لوار, ლუარაშ რეგიონი, 卢瓦尔河地区

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