THE LOIRE RIVER
The Loire is the longest flowing river in France with a distance of 1006 km where its source starts in the region of Ardèche. On the south pole of the Gerbier-de-Jonc mountain, at approximately 1404 meters of altitude, the river begins to flow towards its estuary located in Saint Nazaire and Saint Brévin les Pins into the Atlantic ocean.
All along the Loire, the current and slopes change therefore we can distinguish 3 different rivers:
- The “upper” Loire: from its source in Allier to the department of Cher
- The “middle” Loire: from the department of Allier to the Vienne department, into the Indre and Loire region
- The “lower” Loire (where you will be cruising): from the department of Vienne in Candes -Saint-Martin to its estuary
Until the mid 19th century and the arrival of railroads, the Loire River was the principal mode of transport for various merchants to bring their goods inside the country to the port of Nantes.
ISLANDS AND SAND BANKS
Throughout the centuries, the Loire and its affluents modeled the terrain and transformed the valleys.
The Loire “River of Sand” constantly changes its path, the stream increases or decreases depending on the area which consequently erodes or creates new islands of sands.
Do not hesitate to stop on the sands banks to observe the rich fauna and absorb the beauty of the area, but be careful these natural environments are really fragile!
Certain species of birds are sensible to the presence of people and specific islands will be closed off to the public during mating season.
SOME ISLANDS ARE CLOSED OFF TO THE PUBLIC COMPLETELY AND WILL BE SIGNALED BY SIGNS, PLEASE RESPECT THESE RULES!!!!!
BOATS ON THE RIVER
Made for the river’s different flows and shallow bottom, the traditional boat called the “gabare” adapts well to the different moods of the stream. The boat is made of wood with a white or red sail and could weight up to 22 tons when it transported merchandise across the country.
Fishermen along the river used to make smaller boats than the gabare called “la toue”, and even possessed little cabins on top where they could sleep at night. Habitants could use another mode of transportation that was even smaller than la toue called the “fûtereau”, this practice is used again today to get from one bank to another
THE EUROPEAN BEAVER (Castor Fiber)
The beaver is the biggest rodent in Europe, measuring between 90 and 120 cm (tail included) and weighing almost 35 kg when it becomes an adult. The tail, measuring around 30 cm, is flat and covered with scales, and the back paws are webbed for swimming. The beaver also possesses long and orange teeth that grow continually throughout his life. When he is in the water, only his head is showing but prefers essentially to come out at night time. He only eats small branches from willow trees found on the river banks; he only starts with the big trees in the winter. Towards the end of the 19th century, the fur from the animal was in high demand consequently destroying the habitats and the population of beavers in the Loire River. Since 1968, the species has been declared protected and a plan for the rehabilitation of the rodents was enforced from 1794 until 1976.
BIRDS OF THE RIVER
From Amboise to Tours, along with the surroundings of Vouvray and Montlouis, you can observe numerous species of migrating birds who come nest on the islands and the banks of the river. You can find: ashy herons, terns, gulls, different species of plovers, white egrets...Warning, the nesting sites are protected and you can not stop on the sand banks. The nests are made on the surface of the sand and you could risk stepping on them!
Around 50 species of fishes are present in the region, the most known are: lampreys, shads, eels or even salmons (we are noticing their return in the last couple of years) but also invasive species like catfishes, sheatfishes and sun perches. The clarity of the water allows you to observe all these species from your canoe or kayak.
UNSINKABLE AND SELF-DRAINING BOATS
You will navigate on the river for a half a day or a full day in our unsinkable and self-draining canoes and kayaks.
Our crafts possess openings under to let the water flow out on its own.
Due to the double hulls, the canoe is unsinkable, it can not be sunk or be sunk by somebody.
Commonly known as ‘Sit on Top’, these crafts are stable and easy to navigate due to their flat bottoms.
Comfortable due to the foot bar and the ergonomic seats, it is easy to get back onto it.
For the trips lasting longer 2 days or more, you will be provided with our Old Town and Canadia canoes.
Spacious and lightweight, it can carry 2 adults and 2 children.
A welcoming pamphlet will be given to you for your cruise down the river.
You will find in it our contact information, advices and rules for security while using the equipment. Also a map of the numerous attractions along the river will be provided so you can discover our rich culture and beautiful nature.
NEED ADVICE ?
To obtain informations, quotes or simply if you have a question, please contact us! Our advisers are available to you to help you plan an unforgettable trip in Indre and Loire!