Nature activities in Centre Val-de-Loire
Strongly marked by the Loire, labeled a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the region Centre-Val-de-Loire is known for its vineyards, rivers, forests (the Touraine forest for example), and the marshes in the Brenne area near Bourges. In the north and south, the Regional National Parks of Perche and Brenne are both exceptional territories that are home to a remarkable flora and fauna. An invitation to take a stroll through the largest garden in France.
There are pleasant hikes everywhere in the Loire Valley, in particular along the GR 3 or one of the twenty-two PR circuits (small hiking routes), reaching a total length of 440 km. Many walks are possible in the national estate of Chambord, which offers many ways of exploring the huge forests surrounding the famous castle, either on foot or on a bike, or even in a rowing boat. At the beginning of autumn, you can see the famous "stag's bell," with excursions offered, supervised by the French national forestry commission.
Biking is very popular in the land of Renaissance castles. There are many themed routes set aside for bikers all around Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceaux and Cheverny. Bike paths also follow the dykes along the Loire, with lovely rides in historic towns from Montsoreau to Blois or even further. A very dense network of service providers operates under the brand name "la Loire à vélo" (The Loire on a bike), which is also pioneering as one of the first links in the European cycle route.
If river tourism is mostly seen on the canals to the east (on the edge of Burgundy), mini-cruises on a traditional sailing boat are also available on the Loire, which is still very much untamed. These small wooden boats are perfect for escaping city life and getting really "close to nature."