River Cruise Sable sur Sarthe, Anjou, France

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River Cruise Hire in Sable sur Sarthe, Anjou, France

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    Map
    Models
    Suggested Itineraries
    Local Information
    How to get to the Depot

 

Map

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River Cruise Hire in Sable sur Sarthe, Anjou, France - Map  
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Models

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Suggested Itineraries

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Local Information

ANJOU

Anjou is a former duchy and province centred on the city of Angers in the lower Loire Valley of western France. It corresponds largely to the present-day département of Maine-et-Loire. The name Anjou is from Latin Andegavia, referring to the Gallic tribe of the Andecavi. Maine-et-Loire is part of the current region of Pays-de-la-Loire and is surrounded by the departments of Ille-et-Vilaine, Mayenne, Sarthe, Indre-et-Loire, Vienne, Deux-Sèvres, Vendée, and Loire-Atlantique. The inhabitants of Maine-et-Loire are called Angevins, from the former province of Anjou.
It has a varied landscape, with forested ranges of hills in the south and north separated by the valley of the Loire. The highest point is Colline des Gardes (689 feet/210m).

WATERWAYS
The area has many navigable rivers such as the Loire, Sarthe, Mayenne, Loir, and Authion. The main waterways accessible from our depots at Sable and Grez-Neuville, are the Sarthe, the Oudon and the Mayenne. The are numerous waterside villages in this region and its waterways are not busy; used only for pleasure craft. The Sarthe is particularly suitable for novices to river boat cuising as the waters are exceptionally calm and there are few locks.

TOURISM
The rivers of Anjou drift through a rolling verdant countryside and picturesque villages. Here "l'art de vivre" is always a core of the Anjou lifestyle. The bustle of town life is balanced by the callm rural retreat. It is the the perfect area to slow down to the local pace of life.
History surrounds you in Anjou. The region has more than 1200 castles and stately homes, many visible from the rivers.
Anjou has two outstanding châteaux, one in Angers and the other in Saumur. Both started as true defensive castles but Saumur gradually took on the more homely look and function of a château. While Angers castle overlooks the Maine, Saumur gazes out across the Loire. There are 60 other châteaux, manor houses and country estates that are also open to the public. These include Brissac (the tallest chateau in France), Serrant, Baugé, Montsoreau and the fairytale-like Plessis-Bourré.
There are also many religious buildings of note in Anjou the most impressive of which is the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud on its 14-hectare site. Founded in 1101 it soon encompassed 4 priories that for seven centuries worked together presided over by 36 abbesses. The church of Notre Dame in Cunault was built in the tenth century , destroyed and rebuilt in the twelfth around its remaining bell tower. This Romanesque style church is remarkable for its 223 incredible carved capitals and its wall paintings. The hundreds of churches and chapels that dot the landscape are mainly of the Romanesque or Angevin-Gothic style. There is also an imposing Benedictine Abbey at Solesmes that is well worth a look.
Doué-la-Fontaine is an important archaeological site in Anjou. Roman amphitheatres, underground burial chambers, and a Carolingian dwelling, built around 900 AD have all been found here. For older remnants of the inhabitants of this region you have to look no further than the dolmens and standing stones. The largest dolmen in France is at Bagneux and within 18kms of it lie at least 20 other megalithic remains.
As a fertile agricultural region, Anjou has relied on wind and water power to drive its mills. Along the rivers there are many watermills that still operate. In Gennes, the Sarré mill produces flour for making traditional country loaves. Near Segré, there is the Chenillé-Changé watermill on the Mayenne. If you book ahead, you can also visit the Bêne watermill in Pommeraye. There are 3 types of windmill in Anjou, The Dutch style mill, the Post mill and the Cavern mill (which is unique to this area). L'Epinay mill in Chapelle Saint-Florent is not only a splendid example it provides useful information about mills in general. Windmills can also be found at Les Rosiers-sur-Loire, La Possonnière, Varennes-sur-Loire, Louresse Rochemenier and Avrillé.
Many buildings and monuments in Anjou are built of the indigenous Tufaceous limestone (tufa). Over the course time the extraction of the tufa created extensive underground networks of caves. The caves themselves became a resource for the local peoples who took up residence in them. They became known as the cave-dwellers or troglodytes. The largest network of underground caves in Europe lies between Saumur and Doué-la-Fontaine - the "trogolos d'Anjou". During the Middle Ages, it was estimated that a quarter of the local population actually lived underground.
Today the caves are still an important part of life. The cool caves are used to store sparkling wines, grow mushrooms, house art galleries, a zoo, and even restaurants, provide accommodation and night clubs.

FOOD AND DRINK
The vineyards of the Loire valley colour the landscape. Two grape types are mainly grown here; Chenin for white wines and Cabernet for the red and rose wines. A 100 mile touring trail exploring the vineyards crosses Anjou. Along its route you pass through charming winegrowing villages and you can visit many winegrowers.
Anjou has two major distilleries open to the public. Just outside Angers is Cointreau. They has been distilling its famous sweet and bitter orange liqueur since 1849. In Saumur you will find Combier, the oldest distillery in the Loire valley, and where the liqueur is produced in a traditional way. Another well known Anjou distillery is Giffard, where various liqueurs are created including the acclaimed clear peppermint "menthe pastille".
Known as the Garden of France, the Loire Valley provides wonderful fruit and vegetables, including melons from Tours, strawberries from Saumur, apricots from Angers. The caves are ideal for mushroom production and the warm climate for early asparagus. Maize raised chickens are made into boudin blanc, a flavoursome sausage eaten as a first course as well as more traditional dishes including coq au vin du pays, and fricasse de poulet. Fish from the local rivers are also often on the menus, white bait, carp, perch and pike in particular with butter sauces or stuffed and simmered in wine.

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Location Information

Less than 2 hours from Paris by TGV (Angers and itself for Sablé). Sablé is served by the A 11 motorway.

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