Ever thought of moving to the Pays de la Loire region? It has good beaches, peaceful countryside, a mild climate, is a fantastic region for food & wine and property prices…..well, just read on to learn more.
Where is the Pays-de-la-Loire region?
Situated on the north west Atlantic coast and bordering Lower Normandy in the north, Centre (east), Poitou-Charentes (south) and The Atlantic Ocean and Brittany in the west. There are 5 departments : Loire-Atlantique (44) – which was actually part of Brittany – Maine-et-Loire (49), Mayenne (53), Sarthe (72) and Vendée (85). The capital is Nantes on the Loire river, once the capital of Brittany and a general feeling of belonging to Brittany is still evident in the culture. With its half-timbered houses and little winding streets the old quarter is charming. This university city, the birthplace of Jules Verne, used to be an industrial place but many industries – especially engineering - have moved further down the river towards St Nazaire on the coast.
What is there in Pays-de-la-Loire?
Let's start in the west where the waves of the Atlantic ocean come rushing to the shores which of course means that there are tourists resorts like La Baule and all kinds of water sports can be enjoyed. You will find wonderful beaches and charming fishing villages along the long coastline, and this is where one of the most famous sailingboat races takes place, the Vendée Globe. In the south of the Vendée are wet and dry marshes, land reclaimed many centuries ago now known as Marais Poitevin or 'Green Venice', which should really be explored by boat.
The industrial port of St Nazaire on the mouth of the river Loire has already been mentioned. Follow the Loire inland and although at first it is mostly industrial when it changes you come to a beautiful part of this region. The Loire valley is well known for its scenery and castles – e.g. at Nantes, Anger and Saumur – but south and east of Nantes is where all the lovely vineyards are and plenty of places where you can sample the local wines. Been there, done that, wouldn’t at all mind doing that again! Apart from wine Pays de la Loire is mostly dairy produce.
This region is not densely populated and most of the population live in the cities we have already mentioned and in Le Mans, known all over the world for Grand Prix motor racing and the many rallies that are organised here. Angers also deserves a special mention as it is a city full of architecture and history and its 13th century fortress with its impressive 17 towers is a must. Saumur is not only known for its castle and museums but also for horses as it is home to the Cavalry School and in summer the annual military tattoo (Cadre Noir) is a magnificent sight. Pays de la Loire is good horse riding country! As it is not too hilly it is also quite a good region for cycling through the pleasant and peaceful countryside. As in most regions of France Pays de la Loire has its fair share of market towns and villages, festivals and fetes.
Climate of Pays-de-la-Loire:
The influence of the Atlantic Ocean means there is a mild climate, windy and cool rather than cold in winter, expect rain, but in summer temperatures are often above 30°C. Both spring and autumn can be pleasantly warm.
Property in Pays-de-la-Loire:
This region is becoming more and more popular with foreign buyers, as a rule prices are higher near the coast and especially in the Vendée the prices seem to be creeping up quite rapidly. Keep an eye on our property section.
Food and wine in Pays-de-la-Loire:
A superb region for oysters and other shellfish, all sorts of seafood and freshwater fish from the rivers that run through the area and in the restaurants you will be spoilt for choice! Further inland it is mushrooms, a wonderful variety of vegetables but also meat and game which they often cook with fruit and cream or wine (or both). Those of you with a sweet tooth will find it hard to resist the mouth-watering cakes, tarts, pancakes etc. Being an area where dairy is prominent the cheeses, well, let's just not go there because they are plentiful, made of goat's , sheep's and cow's milk and absolutely delicious. In short, Pays de la Loire is a fantastic region for food.
Getting to Pays-de-la-Loire:
There are direct/indirect flights from Nantes Airport to the UK and in summer you can take a direct flight with British Airways from Angers Airport to London City. Some of the airlines that serve the region are Flybe, British Airways and Air France. As always, beware of the low cost airlines, we do not know how long the service will last. There is also an airport just over the border in Poitou Charentes at La Rochelle, just a little bit further south of Pays de la Loire. Skyscanner can help you find flights.
There is a good road network and generally speaking the roads are not at all busy except around the bigger towns and cities (avoid Le Mans when the races are on!). To give you an idea : Calais - Nantes takes roughly 6 hrs. and from St Malo about 3 hrs.
The TGV high speed train from Paris serves Le Mans (just under 1 hr), Angers (1.5 hrs), Nantes (about 2 hrs), St Nazaire (just under 3 hrs) and Les Sables-d'Olonne (about 3.5 hrs).