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As you float down the Loire and enter Anjou, fortified châteaux give way to chalky-white tufa cliffs concealing an astonishing subterranean world of wine cellars, mushroom farms and (literally) underground art. Up on the surface, black slate roofs pepper the vine-rich land, which produces some of the Loire’s best wines.

Angers, the historic capital of Anjou, is famous for its powerful dukes, the fortified hilltop château they left behind, and the stunning medieval Apocalypse Tapestry. Other architectural gems in Anjou include the medieval Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, delightful riverside villages such as Candes-St-Martin, and some lovely châteaux. Europe’s highest concentration of troglodyte dwellings dots the banks of the Loire around cosmopolitan Saumur.

To take in the Anjou wine country by car, head northwest from Saumur along route D751 towards Gennes, or southeast on route D947 through Souzay-Champigny and Parnay. From Angers, cut southwest to Savennières.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Anjou.