There is no lack of things to do in Anjou Bleu. Many diverse and varied activities that will satisfy everyone: Golf, fishing, outings on foot, horse or bicycle. Visits to unique sites, chateaux, activities for children, activities in the trees (Zip Line or GoApe), or hot air balloon rides and river trips.
You can follow the river and hire a boat, canoe or a pedal-boat. Rambling is natural on the tracks, on the towpaths of the Mayenne River, in parks and forests, in towns...
As for heritage and history, you can visit many castles, manor houses, charming small villages with lots of character, or you can also visit the "Petite Couère",a reconstituted village with a collection of objects and exceptional vehicles taken straight from the 1900s. And, for the connoisseurs, you can even visit a chocolate factory.
Located on the outskirts of Doue, the Zoo de Doue housed in an old quarry site full of caverns and ditches makes a great day out for the family.
See lions and tigers and rare snow panthers in near natural surroundings as well as birds of prey and 15 different monkey enclosures.
The Naturoscope Museum explains how vanishing habitats are threatening many species. Open Feb-Nov from 0900 - 1930 in summer and 1000 - 1830 in winter. Tel: (00 33) 2 41 59 18 58.
Doue is sometimes called the City of Roses, as the roses grown in the surrounding area are exported all over Europe. A visit to La Chemin de la Rose garden is a must. Wonderful perfumed vistas of roses, with lakes and attractive areas to relax and enjoy.
Open every day early May-mid Aug 0930 - 1900; mid-Aug - mid-Sept 1000 - 1230 and 1400 - 1830. Also open the last 2 weekends in Sept.
The superb rose growing centre of Doue hosts its annual rose festival in the third week of July known as the ‘Journees de la Rose’. What was once an old limestone quarry becomes the arena for an exhibition of over 100,000 blooms and a week of flower-based festivities in troglodyte caves.
St-Hilaire on the River Thouet is the main centre for the production of sparkling Saumur wine (Cremant de Loire) which is stored in cool limestone caves in the cliffs along the river. This high quality Saumur brut sparkling wine is a great alternative to champagne for parties. If you’d like a tasting, look for signs saying ‘degustation’.
Maison Langois-Chateau overlooks Saumur castle and has 4km of underground cellars. Atmospheric guided tours available without booking April to mid October with time for tasting and shopping. Bouvet-Ladubay, also at Saint-Hilaire, has caves visits 7 days a week all year.
The French are enthusiastic fishermen and along the River Loire, France’s longest river with a large number of tributaries flowing into it, there are almost limitless opportunities for the sport.
Category 1 rivers for trout and salmon fishing are open from March to September; category 2 coarse fishing is available for most of the year. Pike (brochet) is particularly prized in the Loire Valley but zander, perch, roach and eels are just some of the other species. Ask at local tourist offices about licences which are often available at local tabacs.
The most well-known long distance walking and cycling path in the region is the Sentier de la Loire (Loire Path) or GR3 on the French network of national paths.
The French trail system is made up of 3 types of path: long distance (GRs) marked in red and white, regional (GRPs) marked in red and yellow and local (PRs) marked in a single colour - usually yellow.
The section of the GR3 from Orleans to Saumur is about 255km long, providing links between Beaugency and Charmbord, Chaumont and Amboise, Vouvray and Tours and Azay-le-Rideau and Chinon.Contact tourist information offices about local walks and cycle paths or consult France’s excellent TopoGuides (in French) published by the FFRP in Paris, tel: (00 33) 1 45 45 31 02 and usually available locally.
This land of enchanting chateaux and beautiful countryside is a great golfing venue. Anjou Golf and Country Club at Champigne (18 hole, par 72) is an international course created by Hawtree and Sons, designers of some of the most famous courses worldwide.
It covers a large area of tranquil undulating countryside with lovely old trees, punctuated by numerous lakes and water hazards. Pluses are a covered warm-up practice area and seasonal swimming pool for a quick dip afterwards.
A short distance from historic Angers, near Brissac-Quince, the interesting parkland course of Golf d’Angers (18 hole, par 70) is bordered by ancient trees and water hazards. There is a practice area and the welcoming club house is located in an old mill.
The focal point of Golf d’Avrille (18 hole, par 71) is the clubhouse, located in the seventeenth century Chateau de la Perriere, with splendid views of the course. The setting is lovely with maple and fruit trees, plenty of water and some tricky dog-legs. There is also a par 27, 9 hole course and driving range.
Anjou Golf is set in a natural and preserved property of 100 hectares, an ideal place to practice golf and to combine relaxation and sport.
All the courses mentioned offer buggy, trolley and club hire, putting green, pro shop and restaurant. Travel is easy from the Brittany Ferries arrival ports of St Malo, Cherbourg and Caen especially using the high speed services from Poole and Portsmouth.
A tower built in 1025 by the then Duke of Anjou formed the beginnings of the Chateau of Montreuil-Bellay created over the next 4 centuries. Imposing walls with 13 towers and ramparts overlooking the River Thouet enclose a graceful residence with pleasant gardens.
A tour of the chateau includes a vaulted medieval kitchen and the fifteenth century wine cellars. Grapes from the estate vines are distilled into the Chateau Montreuil-Bellay wines available for tasting and purchase in the gift shop. The chateau is open every day except Tues 1000 - 1200 Apr - June and Sept - Nov; and every day 1000 - 1830 July and Aug. Tel: (00 33) 2 41 52 33 06.