The Loire department, the capital of which is Saint Etienne, is a delight for connoisseurs. You will never see mass tourism, traffic jams, parasol rushes or queues since it's a region where people come to enjoy the countryside, and the timeless beauty of France's small villages and large areas. In order to be able to choose the best suited accommodation for your needs to camp throughout your journey in the Loire, we suggest that you quickly get in touch with the hosts on HomeCamper. They will be delighted to share their accommodation offers in the department with you, but also their takes on what the best attractions and spots to visit are!
The Loire has an interesting cultural and historical heritage. The Bastie d'Urfé (a beautiful 15th century manor house), its castles, including the Château d'Essalois (formerly the Gaulish stronghold), its priory and abbeys are among the historical sightings you shouldn't miss during your visit of the department!
Saint Etienne and Roanne are part of the major cities of the Loire and are both worthy of interest. Saint Etienne is a dynamic and student city. While in Saint Etienne, we recommend that you visit its Museum of Art and Industry, its Planetarium, its Mining Museum, as well as its famous Geoffroy Guichard Stadium that usually hosts games of the local football club. Roanne is particularly seductive for its authentic historic centre with its pedestrian streets. Its fine arts museum is to be visited, as well as its marina where life is good and where river trips on the Loire are possible. A few less known villages are also worth a look : Le Crozet is a small village of 300 inhabitants. You enter through a beautiful ogival door flanked by two large truncated towers. Along the alleys follow one another admirable vestiges of the past: the constable's wooden house, the Dauphin house, the marvellous residence of the jurisconsult Jehan Papon (1500-1590), a 16th century humanist and the enormous tower of the old keep. In La Pacaudière, it is absolutely necessary to visit the small Louvre. This 16th century historical monument had several functions: a stopover gîte for officers, a royal post office relay and more! Saint-Haon-le-Châtel keeps the architectural testimonies of a rich past. This fortified village proudly raises its ramparts, several towers, an old Romanesque church (12th century) and shelters many half-timbered houses. These three villages are located near the old royal road, the current N7 road. This route was made popular by the flow of holidaymakers who used to use it until the 1960s to reach the Mediterranean Sea, hence its name: the "route bleue" (blue road)!
As for nature, the Pilat regional park promises beautiful walks, as do the Gorges de la Loire - dotted with churches and castles - which cover nearly 1500 hectares. Lake Grangent and its dam (located in the Gorges de la Loire) offer a beach for the hot season, as well as beautiful landscapes.
Finally, when passing through the Loire during the winter season, you can put on your skis to go down the 16 slopes of the resort of Chalmazel!
Since the area isn't as touristy and famous as other parts of France, you can enjoy the visits and sightings pretty much all year round without encountering big crowds of people. You'll be able to choose when to go to the Loire depending on whether you like warm weather or colder temperatures, and depending on what activities you plan on doing. The months of December to February are best suited for a run down the ski slopes, as the summer is more suited for sightseeing!
Whether you own a caravan, a motorhome, or a van, get ready for a roadtrip filled with unique camping and sightseeing experiences!