Get a one way trip on a few days through the Anjou lower valleys. A wild area that navigation will allow you to explore !
Three days or more to experience a journey in the heart of the Anjou territory. From the meanders of the Mayenne river to the “Natura 2000” protected area, all connected by the vegetal capital that is Angers : find your way through mother nature !
The night before :
This cruise described below is a one way journey making departure and return points interchangeable. By crossing several rivers and territories, the trip length (three days minimum) can be freely extended to penetrate further into the Sarthe and Mayenne valleys.
Arrival during the afternoon to our base in Sablé Sur Sarthe : boarding and training on your boat.
Navigation : 30min
Before starting your way down the Sarthe, we advise you to do a little detour up to Solesmes, to experience your first manual lock and (most importantly) get a view on the majestic abbaye.
Saint Pierre de Solesmes’ abbaye is famous for its gregorian singings that you can experience several times a day.
To enjoy a panoramic view on the abbaye, get a little aeriality by accessing Notre Dame du nid’s chapel through a little dirtroad up Port de Juigné.
Forêt de Pincé
Navigation : 1h
Let’s head south. After a little hour of navigation, you will stumble upon one of the rare decks built in the wild, in Pincés forest at the bottom of the golf’s fields. The perfect spot to spend the first night in full deconnection.
1st Day :
The early birds will enjoy seeing the sun rise on the Golf’s plains where the forest’s animals like to gather, enjoy the view !
Navigation : 1h45
The old village of Morannes will give you access to several shops : bakery, butcher, general store.
You might get curious enough and take a look inside the Boule de Fort ball room (a local sport played in slippers !)
If cooking is not on the order of the day, push the door of the Auberge du Port Saint Aubin, a restaurant built in what used to be a chapel !
Navigation : 1h
You are entering the Natura 2000 preserved zone of the Anjou lower valleys !
Brissarthe is surely one of our favorite stop : the soothing borders, the bucolic mood of the streets … We are advising you to stroll a little bit through the village, for the sole purpose of seeing the area and the beautiful XIIth century church.
Châteauneuf sur Sarthe
Navigation : 45min
See the benevolent but odd ceramic characters watching you get through the lock of Chateauneuf. Many shops available in this small but lovely city (those craving for chocolate will walk the two kilometers separating them from the delicious Mathez chocolate factory !).
Navigation : 20min
Another “must see” of the valley, an ideal place to moor at night for those looking for tranquility. Juvardeil was known during the XIXth century as a barge building site ; some of them could be up to 30 meters long. It is, nowadays, a village we enjoy by wandering in its tiny typical streets, its joyful gardens along the river where you might meet some inhabitant willing to tell you the story of the village and the oddly enormous church.
If you are willing to moor somewhere you can find shops or restaurants, sail down to Cheffes instead.
2nd Day :
Navigation : 1h
Many shops and restaurants awaiting in the little city of Cheffes, hosting one of the famous twisted tower bell church of the area.
Cheffes is also a good place to start a bike tour. Thirty minutes from there lies the mesmerizing Plessis Bourré Castle, sitting on water. Between Cheffes and Angers, “Au Coeur des Sensations” is offering eletric bikes and scooter visit to discover castles, wine tasting and many activities (remember to book before !).
Navigation : 1h
After going through the last lock of the Sarthe river, you will suddenly experience a change of landscape : you are now in the heart of the Natura 2000 zone. Get your binoculars, many surprises might be waiting for you throughout the curves. This part of Anjou territory manages to keep its wild and preserved features, partly thanks to the rise of water during winter, covering most of the land around you.
In Briollay, why not enjoy a walk through the Red Berries Garden (Jardin des fruits rouges) and gather said berries ; and taste them at “l’Arrêt Public”, a small river restaurant where many music shows are given through the season.
Navigation : 40min
Take a walk up to “les Sablières”. A place where one can rest along the pines and the sand scattered around a pond. Bathing, fishing, sunbathing, playground and adventure parc : there is something there for everyone !
Navigation : 50min
Go down the Maine river up to “la Cale de la Savatte”, the marina in the heart of the city. An ideal situation to go visit the castle on the other bank, many must-see cultural features such as David d’Angers Gallery, Jean Lurçat Museum, etc … which buildings are as magnificent as the exhibit they are displaying.
Depending on your schedule, you might want to do a little detour to Terra Botanica ; a vast leisure parc built around the thematic of vegetal : a good way to share a moment between generations.
But in order to truly experience the smooth angevine mood, head to the city center to climb one of the many pedestrian streets, through the lively pubs, shops, restaurants, etc …
Beside the many events during high season (do not miss Tempo Rives festival !) ; Angers is THE place to plan an activity with the family or friends. Follow the river down to the Lac de Maine and its many sporting offers, enjoy a beer or a concert at Le Héron Carré ; or try one of the many Escape Games in town ; along many others …
3rd Day :
Emilie’s advice : for those more enclining to sleep far from the city lights, sail up to Ecouflant, twenty minutes up the river. But … are you sure you are willing to miss the majestic view of the castle enlighten at night ?
Spend your evening in Angers and then head up to the Mayenne river ! Depending on the time, you might have the crazy urge to moor at the Saint Aubin Island and cross the river to taste the “Fouées”, one of the (many) specialties from the region !
Navigation : 50 min
A good place to start a walk, exploring the plains and marshes of the “Natura 2000” preserved area between the Sarthe and Mayenne rivers. Three different paths arranged to allow watching migrating bird and the fauna of the region.
Navigation : 30 min
Invisible to the eye, the town center of Montreuil is hanging on top of a deep and meandering valley where the Mayenne river is flowing. A nice place to stop and enjoy the towpath along the river ; or climb along the many paths going up to reach the village and its shops.
Navigation : 2h
You just arrived to your destination ! Key return is scheduled before 6PM, or 10AM next morning for mini-week formulas.
What if I am planning a four days trip ?
1st Option : I wanna discover a medieval village !
Navigation : 3 to 4h more
Take a little detour to the medieval village of Parcé Sur Sarthe (on the river) or Asnières Sur Vègre (half an hour by bike), lovely places where the stone houses are leaning toward you to whisper their story. In Parcé, I can enjoy the towpath along the river to see the majestic watermill before going up the small paved streets. In Asnières, I enjoy the Manoir de la Cour museum, the unique mural paintings of the church or the diversity of the Mosaïc Garden.
2nd Option : I wanna lose myself in a wild valley !
Navigation : 5 to 6h more
Head up to the Lion d’Angers national Haras, where the Mayenne and Oudon river meet. Sail up to the little city of Segré by taking te intimate Oudon. Or continue North on the Mayenne river to discover the lovely village of Chenillé Changé, its restored watermill and its splendid viewpoint on the valley.
What about a fifth day ?
1st Option : I wanna know about the local art !
Navigation : 5 to 6h more
If you chose to visit Asnières or Parcé medieval villages, get a little further into the Sarthe valley up to Malicorne ; a landmark of the ceramic world. Beside the delicious restaurants ; the city is sheltering a rich cultural patrimony with : the exhibit inside the watermill (many artists), the Art Faïenceries or the Ceramic Museum !
2nd Option : elected one of the top detour in France !
Navigation : 6h more
We will tell you but don’t breathe a word : this is a secret ! Everybody that had the curiosity to visit Château Gontier will tell you : it’s worth the trip. Crossed by the Mayenne river, the city was built on both side of the steep valley in a stunning architecture. From the woodpan houses to the ancient Covent, the huge Hospital and the many mansions, etc … Many things will catch your eyes. The bravest will climb the steps up to the garden “Of the edge of the world” to enjoy the view.
I wanna travel a whole week !
Combine the several options above to visit from Malicorne to Château Gontier : a full week of adventures awaits !
You are totally free on your journey’s way. Choose your visits and stopovers as you please.
Enjoy the towpath that will follow you all along the river.