Outdoor Activities in Centre

Information on hiking, biking, canoeing and horse riding in the hills and valleys of central France. With contact details of regional sport and activity associations...

Did you know?

  • With its 800 Km square the Val de Loire is the biggest World Heritage site in France ever registered by the UNESCO
  • Over 200 recognised species of birds live in the Loire-Anjou-Touraine National Park
  • The Loire River is the longest in France at 1,012 Km
  • The Briare Canal is one of the oldest Canals in France
  • The iron canal bridge across the Loire river in Briare is Europe's longest, built at the end of the 19th century by Gustave Eiffel

The Centre region offers a wide variety of outdoor activities such as:

Most tourist offices have information brochures in English and several have websites with details on activities in each area.

Parc Naturel Régional Loire-Anjou-Touraine

Situated between Angers and Tours, the national regional park Loire-Anjou-Touraine is one of the biggest regional parks in France covering 253,000 hectares and 136 communes. Guided tours of the park are available all year round.

The park is open to mountain bikers and cyclists, hikers (there are marked paths) and to canoeing or kayaking on the Loire and Vienne rivers.

For further information contact:

  • Loire-Anjou-Touraine
    At
    : 7, rue Jeanne d'Arc, Maison du Parc, 49730 Montsoreau
    Tel: 02 41 53 66 00

Parc Naturel Régional de Brenne

This national park was created in 1989 and covers 46 communes. It is one of the most important areas of open waters (étang) in France. There are 107 marked hiking paths (indicated with blue, yellow or green rectangles) that can be followed and two long hikes of 190 and 210 Km.

Cycling roads and paths are relatively flat.

There are mountain biking routes in the Creuse and Anglin valleys with four marked trails available.

Other outdoor activities in the Brenne area include horse riding with a number of equestrian centres offering lessons and treks, rock climbing in the Anglin valley, caving and golf.

Cycling

Loire à Velo provides a signposted itinerary made up of minor roads and cycling tracks throughout the Centre Val-de-Loire region.

Hiking and Walking in Centre Val-de-Loire

The Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pedestre (FFRP) is the overseeing body for all marked and maintained walking routes in France. It provides information and guide books (most in French) for walkers in the Centre Val-de-Loire region.

See the FFRP website (in French)

Top 25 hiking maps issued by the Institut Géographique National (IGN) are available from newsagents and bookshops.

All nationally recognised trails are categorised as follows:

  • GR (Grand Randonée): Registered hiking trails that often run across the entire country
  • GRP (Sentiers de Grande Randonée de Pays): Registered regional trails that will take you around a particular region for several days
  • PR (Sentiers de Promenade): Walking and hiking trails for short circuits, lasting several hours
  • See the IGN website

The French route marking system shows paths by means of signs and blazes.

  • For clear explanations of the waymarks, or blazes (balises): Click here

Watersports in Centre Val-de-Loire

Many watersports are possible on the Loire River, including canoeing, kayaking and fishing; there are a number of excursions on offer on the waterways of the region surrounding Chenonceau in the Cher valley and river cruises through the famous Bridge Canal of Briare.

Canal boats are available to rent for weekends periods or longer. Trips leave from Briare sailing harbours.

The lakes of the Centre region were created to contain the unhealthy marshes. Boat may rented to visit the lakes of Brenne and Sologne and the islands and cliffs of tuffeau stone.