Observing the Loire through the seasons

The longest river in France, the Loire boasts a thousand different facets which are forever changing with the days and the seasons. Covered in mist in the winter, the river lights up with the arrival of warmer weather, perfect for walks along the water's edge... As for the châteaux of the Loire, their reflections can be seen into the river, enhancing its royal character. Come and see all the nuances of the Loire which are so dear to the local inhabitants.


The Loire through the seasons

In winter, the foggy river reveals some ghostly yet magical landscapes. The river itself is barely distinguishable and the trees look like mere shadows. But this is also a period of floods that can be a threat to the surrounding villages, like for example the flood on the island of Béhuard.
From spring onwards, the Loire becomes gentle and green, revealing the beauty of its temporary islands and alluvial forests: a delight for cyclists along the route of La Loire à Vélo!
In summer, its low water levels (and slow flow) unveil a number of sand and gravel banks, which used to enable local residents to cross from one bank to the other at a time when there were no bridges.

As it approaches the ocean the marine influences on the Loire can be felt. While tidal variations are more noticeable on the edge of the estuary, the changes in height can nevertheless be seen upstream as far as Ancenis, especially during the spring tides.


The Loire, an exceptional reflection of cultural heritage

Along the banks of its peaceful shores, where boats are moored, there are a series of charming villages. These are so closely linked to the river that the life of the hamlets and the Loire seem intertwined. Some of these gems are labelled "Plus beaux villages de France" ("most beautiful villages in France") or "Petites cités de caractère" ("Small cities of character").
Reflections of the châteaux of the Loire can be seen in the royal river, as though adding even more prestige, like the royal Château of Amboise and the Châteaux of Chaumont, Montsoreau and Saumur.
The Loire combines strength and gentleness, and attracts and fascinates those who discover it. In order to promote knowledge and protect it, there are a number of "Maisons de Loire" in the Loire Valley, ready to welcome you and reveal the river's secrets through exhibitions and nature outings.

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