Things to do - Other places to visit further afield
Cholet (1hr 10mins.) is a historic town best known for the battle which took place there during the Vendee revolt of 1793 and has a Museum of Art and History. It was also a former centre of textile production, and has a Textile Museum and just north of Cholet, a Shoes Museum at St Andre de la Marche. The town also has attractive floral displays and public gardens. Between Les Herbiers and Cholet there is a large factory outlet shopping area with a collection of shops offering fashion, sportswear and household linen and other goods at very competitive prices.
GlisséO, Cholet (1hr 10mins.) is a huge family sports and leisure complex with swimming pools and ice skating facilities. It has many swimming pools, with a waterslide, and water jets, a new generation ice rink, as well as an outdoor play area.
Rille (1hr 10mins) The Lake at Rille has an ornithological reserve in one part and swimming and water activities in another. The Lake is also a well-known spot for fishing, particularly carp including night fishing. Over the causeway there is woodland and a nature trail to follow. During the summer and autumn, there is the added attraction of a steam train which runs 2.5 km, around the shore.
Poitiers (1 hr 15 mins) Poitiers has been the provincial capital since Gallo-Roman times and has an outstanding architectural heritage. This includes an 11th Century churches, museums, parks and a botanical gardens. There are marked routes taking you through the different parts of the city including its scientific culture centre with a planetarium
Tours (1hr 15 mins) It is situated between the river Loire and the river Cher and is rich in history, made up of two distinct settlements which have grown together, dating back to the Celts and Romans. The medieval parts of the town have cobbled streets lined with 14th- to 16th-century half-timbered townhouses, with exquisitely carved figures. It has a Musée des Beaux-Arts which occupies the former 17th/18th-century episcopal palace, with a rich collection of paintings, sculptures and furniture. There are several gardens and public parks, including a famous botanical garden situated in grounds of 5 hectares.
Le Puy de Fou (1hr 20 mins) is an incredible historical theme park. It is a great action packed day out with lots of different shows and attractions including Gladiators fighting, a brilliant display of birds of prey, ancient villages and swashbuckling musketeers.
La Fleche Zoo (1hr 20mins) is the oldest zoo in France amid natural woodland and landscaped gardens. It has approximately 1200 animals, 130 different species, from the five continents, spread over 15 hectares and safeguards more than 25 endangered species. It also has a marine world which hosts aquatic shows, a falcon show and a parrot acrobat show.
Loches (1hr 20 mins) Loches is a picturesque medieval town set on a river with cobbled streets and an impressive fortress with an 11th century keep and walled citadel. It has a town hall and several houses of the Renaissance period.
Le Mans (1hr 30 mins) It is best known for the world-famous 24-hour La Mans car race, which was first held in 1923 and also has a brilliant car museum. This test of endurance is held each year in June around the Circuit de la Sarthe, a track mainly made up of closed public roads around Le Mans. The Old Town has ancient Roman walls, a labyrinth of winding alleyways, and many old buildings.
Papea City, Le Mans (1hr 30mins) This wild west-themed amusement park located on the outskirts of the city is another family attraction. As well as water attractions and amusement rides, it has a small animal farm, boat rides on the park's lake, and model train rides.
Futuroscope (1hr 30 mins) is a brilliant Theme Park based on multimedia, cinematographic and audio-visual techniques of cinema and film (for both young and old) just over an hour's drive away, near Poitiers. It is educational and fun, using a mix of 4-D simulator rides and 3-D film shows.
Lussault sur Loire (1hr 40mins) The Aquarium du Val de Loire is based here and one of the largest fresh water aquariums in Europe, with some 10,000 fish in 4 million litres of water. The emphasis is on fresh water European fish, but there are also various sea water exhibits, including tropical fish, a coral reef, and sharks.
Nantes (1 hr 45 mins) It is a lively University city, with plenty to see and do with museums, cobbled streets, parks and the chateau de Ducs de Bretagne. It has a thriving art scene with a highly celebrated fine arts museum (Musée des Beaux-arts). The LU Tower is a picturesque tower built in 1905 near the entrance of a former Lefevre-Utile biscuit factory from where you can see a brilliant panoramic view of Nantes.
Planete Sauvage, Port St Pere (2hrs) A large wildlife park (over 80 hectares) , with nearly 1,000 animals and 150 different species. Drive the 10km safari trail and see some of the largest animals from the 5 continents, including lions, tigers, elephants, bears and giraffes. There is also the Marine City with its daily dolphin displays.
Amboise (1hr 45mins) is a pretty town with white limestone buildings dating from the 15th century, including the Royal Chateau. the famous monument of Chanteloup Pagoda and the last home of Leonardo da Vinci and. You can also stroll through a pedestrian area where you will find cave dwellings which were previously limestone quarries.
Les Sables-d'Olonne ( 1hr 45 mins) It is one of the nearest seaside resorts with golden sands stretching along the Atlantic coastline and has plenty to offer for a full day out. The main beach is a sandy, south-facing beach that is 3km long and ideal for families with children's clubs and also a wide choice of watersports on offer. It is home to several nautical events, including the prestigious Vendée Globe race. In town, there are several museums, including the Musée de la Mer et de la Pêche dedicated to the sea and fishing and the Musée du Coquillage, which exhibits beautiful seashells. There is also a Parc zoologique nearby which has a wide variety of animals.
ZooParc de Beauval at St. Aignan (1 hr 55) This zoo is committed to the protection of endangered species and ranked among the 15 best zoos in the world. It has more than 4600 animals including elephants, orang-utangs, white tigers and white lions. all housed in exceptional facilities. In February 2012, a rare event occurred with the arrival of a pair of giant pandas, currently the only ones in France.
La Rochelle (2hrs) It has a rich history and the three towers facing the Atlantic are among the most important remains of medieval maritime fortifications. The terraces of the Saint Nicolas, Chaîne and Lanterne Towers are an ideal place to learn about the local history with outstanding views over the town and old port. You can see the churches, streets lined with arcades, old wooden houses and aristocratic mansions there. There are regular artistic and cultural events that take place such as the Francofolies, and the International Film Festival. It also has a large Aquarium described as an ocean packed into two floors, with jellyfish and coral as well as shoals of piranhas and sharks.
Marais Poitevin Naturel Park (2hrs) This is home to a great variety of plant and animal life, with 50 species of aquatic mammals including European otters, amphibious voles and water rats. More than 250 species of birds are seen here and on occasions, even purple herons. There are also 38 species of fish here and many different species of dragonflies and butterflies.
Paris (about 2 hours by train), You can visit all the famous historic buildings, attractions and museums. These include: the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Pompidou Centre and the Moulin Rouge. Eurodisney is less than 3 hours away by TGV train from Angers.
www.lemans.org - World famous race circuit &