The Loire, Europe's last untamed river... Breathtaking scenery, meanders and natural sites await you on either side. The river makes its way through steep-sided gorges before spreading out in the more fertile basins. Several different hiking options are on offer from Aurec-sur-Loire to Le Puy-en-Velay.

Buy your GR3 topographical guide, TER train trails

The other Loire!

Visit the source of France’s longest river and see the other Loire! Not the peaceful, flat river so often to be seen in films and pictures, but the wild, impetuous, sometimes unbridled, wild River Loire.

The river’s source is a few miles away, in the basins and plateaus, in Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc. It then crosses Ardèche towards Le Puy-en-Velay. From there, the river moves through wide-ranging scenery, through the rifts and fractures of time. A impressive series of hilly landscapes and picturesque towns unveil a beautiful natural and cultural heritage.

The wild River Loire

Lavoûte-Polignac castle

The castles of the wild River Loire

Hilltop sites, mountain plateaus and steep valleys: the Loire was an ideal setting for castles down the centuries, even before the “Loire chateaux” were built. The Polignac fortress is one of Velay’s most famous images, perched on its volcanic base. Lavoûte-Polignac Castle is further north, in an unusual loop in the River Loire. Near the town of Beaulieu, Margeaix Castle looks down on the river, and not forgetting the Roche-en-Régnier castle keep and Artias Castle in Chamalières-sur-Loire.


The IGN (Institut National de l’information géographique) map, description of the route, a list of available accommodation, restaurants, and a wide range of practical services, introduction to the landmarks and landscapes and a topographic guide. A light and easy map to carry in your bag, and the essential guide for perfect peace of mind!

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The Loire Gorges
with the Natura 2000 listing

A hike through the wild Loire Gorges means an encounter with the riches of nature. They are teeming with natural spaces and are a favourite haunts for birds. There are reckoned to be 115 bird species along the River Loire, especially in the mountain streams and whitewater sections.

The Loire Gorges are listed in the Natura 2000 network.

Buy your GR3 topographical guide, TER train trail


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