Enjoy a revitalising short break away by following the 2-day circular tourist route through the beautiful rolling vineyards of the Muscadet wine region...
In the Muscadet vineyards of the Pays Nantais area, the wines are made from only Melon de Bourgogne grapes. In fact, the Muscadet wine-growing area is the largest certified white wine growing area anywhere in the world to use just one grape variety. And Nantes is the Muscadet capital.
You'll find Muscadet on wine lists in some of the finest restaurant across the globe as it's exported to over 93 countries. The Muscadet vineyards are on the western edge of the Loire Valley and benefit from the coastal climate coming in from the Atlantic.
There are 3 sub-appellations to look out for: Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine (the largest producer of Muscadet wine), Muscadet-Coteaux de la Loire and Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu.
Food and wine pairing
A lively and playful wine, this is an authentic regional wine with unsuspected personality. Light, and salty-sweet, it goes superbly with fish and seafood and is extremely popular enjoyed with locally-caught oysters.
Older wines, that have matured for a few years, are the ideal accompaniment to poultry dishes, cheeses (especially goats' cheese) and also Asian and vegetarian cuisine. It's a fantastic companion to your taste travels!
The Muscadet region
Close to the ocean, the vineyards stretch from the banks of the Loire towards the Atlantic coast with Nantes sat at their very heart.
It is an area of Italian-inspired architecture and rolling landscapes, the red, tiled roofs contrasting with the bright green of the vines that are planted right up to the doorstep. The 11,500 hectares of Muscadet vineyards cover the largest area of the Loire Valley.
The vineyard route
'La Voyage dans le vignoble' is a circular, signposted route through the vineyards around Nantes. Set up in 2015, it is 100km long and is an easy drive over couple of days as you stop to enjoy the vineyards, chateaux and other attractions along the way.
You can find out more and download a PDF guide on the La Voyage à Nantes site. There's even more information from the Nantes' vineyards tourist office where you can also download a mobile app.
From Nantes to Clisson
The Voyage dans le vignoble route winds through the vineyards and along the banks of the river Sèvre.
There are eight stages of the route with so many unmissable things to see: the promenade de la chaussée des Moines, the Pont Caffino leisure centre, the wine producing château du Coing, the charming château de Goulaine, the 'Italian' town of Clisson, the domaine de la Garenne Lemot and the picturesque butte de la Roche.
Château de Goulaine
The castle of 'Goulaine' stands at the gates of Nantes. Originally built to defend the duchy of Brittany when Nantes was the Breton capital, this medieval fortress was rebuilt at the end of the 15th century as a Renaissance castle in limestone. Set in a beautiful natural area, you will discover a scenic world of vineyards and marshlands.
On the banks of the Sèvre, the quaint little town of Clisson is where medieval Brittany meets romantic Tuscany. After the destruction of the battles of the Vendée in in the late 1700s, three Italian-loving artists came to the town and built the striking town you see today. A little drop of Italy on the west coast of France!
Visit the historic centre with its famous chateau built in the Middle Ages, the timbered market hall and the Italian-style estate, la Garenne-Lemot.
Domaine de la Garenne-Lemot
This elegant estate has inspired many artists and was designed by François-Frédéric Lemot, sculptor to Napoleon I, who was responsible for much of the town's Italian theme.
Set inside a stunning 13 hectare park, it is tiny portion of Italy. A Tuscan-style house and a neo-Classical villa sit at its heart surrounded by sublime gardens filled with statues and follies whose styles and subjects range from antiquity to a more rustic style. Perfect for a relaxed walk along its paths after a day of wine tasting!