Western Loire, or Pays de la Loire, is a region of lush countryside covered in chateaux, stunning beaches including the 9km long expanse of fine sand at La Baule, and historic towns and cities where troglodyte caves are hidden underground, carved out of the beautiful soft white tuffeau stone.

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As the Loire river runs west towards the Atlantic you will enter a peaceful region of leafy countryside, a gorgeous coastline and salt marshes, dotted with a wealth of châteaux and quiet, charming rural villages.

Here you'll find popular seaside resorts with plenty of family entertainment including St Jean de Monts, Les Sables d'Olonne and fashionable La Baule whose long crescent shaped beach is regarded as being the most beautiful in the country.

This is also a huge wine growing area and the vineyards of the red, white and fruity rosé vintages of Saumur and Anjou are amongst the first you will see when travelling south through western France. The dry white Muscadet which is so perfect with seafood is produced near the commercial port of Nantes - head to the city centre and treat yourself to a meal in one of the gourmet restaurants and sample this delicious wine at the same time (great shopping and sightseeing here too).

Amongst a host of other attractions is the amazing medieval theme park Puy du Fou near Les Epesses which features a 6,000 seat Roman coliseum complete with chariot races, gladiators and lions, an authentic medieval village and much, much more. It is highly recommended that you go for a full day (take a picnic!) and then stay until dark to watch the spectacular Cinéscénie show.

Top places to visit

Nantes, in Western Loire, is a beautiful city that was once the long-held historical capital of Brittany and is today a vibrant hub for the creative arts.

Angers in Pays de la Loire is an artistic city on the banks of the River Maine, that is steeped in medieval history and full of beautiful gardens and parks.

Saumur in Pays de la Loire is easily recognised by its fairytale chateau and is famous for its association with horses - the area around the town is even known as the Kingdom of the Horse.

La Baule in Pays de la Loire is a fantastic, stylish seaside resort famed for its beach - an expanse of fine sand nearly 9km long that is regarded as one of the best beaches in Europe.

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Brittany Ferries holidays include return ferry travel with your car so you can explore at your own pace. What's more, you can pack everything you need to make the most of your time away - from bikes to surfboards and even the family pet.