A trip along the Loire on a traditional boat
This summer, we met a “Loire sailor” who took us aboard his boat.
This afternoon, we’ve arranged to meet him on the pier at Chalonnes-sur-Loire. It’s a nice day and we’re ready for our trip on the water. Everybody’s looking forward to it, the grown-ups as much as the kids!
Alex, the owner of the traditional boat, invites us aboard. And up we go, clambering aboard the boat! The adults take their seats on each side of the boat, and the kiddies settle themselves in the middle after putting on their life jackets.
Off we go! We’re heading for the port of La Possonnière. Alex points out that as soon as you leave Chalonnes sur Loire you enter the perimeters of the Val du Loire, a listed UNESCO world heritage site. In the surrounding area, five other municipalities are also part of the listing: Chaudefonds sur Layon, Saint Aubin de Luigné, La Possonnière, Rochefort sur Loire and Denée.
The boat’s sailing at an average speed and we’re loving it. We’re discovering the Loire as we’ve never seen it before! Seen from the boat, the Loire Valley scenery is breathtaking, and with the sun high in the sky it’s just magnificent! Alex is a real enthusiast. He explains to us how he fishes for Loire eels and tells us lots of tales about the river. The moment he sees a bird or creature in the distance, he tells us what it is. Pierre asks him endless questions and Alex always knows the answer! He also talks about the Loire in days gone by, about traditional canal transport on the Loire and of course, about his boat.
The port of La Possonnière is becoming visible in the distance: “Oh no, not already!” This excursion is over in a flash. It was like being in a different world! And we’d have happily stayed there for longer! Now we have a better understanding of why these areas of countryside are listed UNESCO world heritage sites. In the distance, the herons (large, majestic birds) saw us coming and flew off.
An evening at a café with a local ambiance
We disembark. A few metres from the port where we arrived is the Les Tourbillons café, a bar-restaurant that’s open during the summer season. We all go there to keep the conviviality going and enjoy the countryside for a little longer. After our trip on the Loire, what could be better than sampling a glass or two of a Loire Valley wine on the banks of the Loire!
The view from the café terrace is wonderful. We take the waitress’s advice and decide to order an Anjou white to go with the local dishes: pike rillettes and fried fish. A real feast!
That was only the beginning of the evening, because a band came and set up. They played some lively tunes. As night fell, the Chinese lanterns were lit. The atmosphere was so friendly, and it looks as if this day in the Loire Valley will have to be repeated! A magical experience to be shared over and over again!