June 26, 2019
Anjou is tucked into the western part of the Val de Loire region and filled with so many architectural and natural marvels that it's included on UNESCO's World Heritage list.
Anjou has many chateaux, including several that belong to the Association of Châteaux de la Loire. To fully explore Anjou, just follow your instincts, taking time to enjoy the famous Douceur Angevine (Angevine sweetness), the changing light on the river, the many wine estates... A rental campervan is the perfect vehicle to take on this adventure. No need to book overnight accommodation, so you're free to comfortably explore without prior planning ahead.
Your journey through Anjou begins in Saint-Florent-le-Vieil, not far from Nantes. This village, classified as a Petite Cité de Caractère (little city with character), will set the tone for your adventure with its pretty abbey that looks out over the Loire Valley. Drive along the river until you come to the crossing at Chalonnes-sur-Loire, then head into Savennières and sample some AOC-certified white wine. Take a quick detour to the charming town of Ile de Béhuard south of Savennières. Then head on to Angers to explore the chateau built by Saint Louis in the 13th century overlooking the Maine river. While the exterior is austere, you will be astonished by its rich interior decorations, especially the impressive Tenture de l'Apocalypse composed of six tapestries that are each 20 m long!
Your campervan will cross the Loire to the Château de Brissac where you can sample a glass of Rosé d'Anjou from the estate before you succumb to a nap in your van. How nice to be able to sleep in your van wherever you are... it makes it easy to indulge in this wine region's many temptations! Head back to the Loire and drive along its banks to Saumur and the chateau perched high above the city and the river. There you'll see toues cabanées, houseboats and typical Loire fishing vessels. You can even head out on one for a little cruise on the Loire. Saumur is also a horse mecca and hosts the famous Cadre Noir riding instructor corps. Next, your Volkswagen California campervan will take you to the base of Souzay-Champigny and Turquant's troglodyte villages, which are built into the limestone cliff. You can walk around the area and end up at the Saumur-Champigny vineyard above the villages. Further down the road, visit the Château de Montsoreau and peruse its lovely contemporary art collection. Be sure to make a stop in Candes-Saint-Martin, listed as one of France's most beautiful towns. It sits at the convergence of the Loire and Vienne rivers.
Head on to the Fontevraud Royal Abbey, one of the largest and most beautiful in Europe. This is the final resting place of Richard the Lionheart and Eleanor of Aquitaine. A little further on, you'll come across the Château de Brézé, which was originally an entirely underground fortress. It's surrounded by deep, dry moats. Ramble on to Montreuil-Bellay, where you'll find a fortified city that's worth visiting before you head back towards Angers via Coteaux du Layon. During your road trip in Anjou, you may enjoy hiking on the GR3, which follows the Loire river and starts at its source. Or, go for a bike ride on one of the many marked routes in the region. For those who enjoy calmer activities, watch a game of Boules de Fort, a locally popular lawn bowling game played with balls that aren't quite round...
We suggest you set off on your campervan adventure through Anjou from our WeVan rental location in Nantes.
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