Imagine the feeling of walking through a charming forest of skinny trees and chipping birds, then opening onto the top of a vineyard, overlooking rolling hills, french rooftops and the Loire River.
Spanning 16k (9.94 miles) through the countryside about 10-minutes east of Saumur, the circuit de randonnée à (hiking trail in) Souzay-Champigny leads tourists, locals, hikers and the like through some of the region’s most beautiful landscapes and amazing historical artifacts.
Troglodyte homes speckle the limestone bluff as an amazing testament to the creativity and ingenuity of the generations hundreds of years before us. Carved and built as the village to house Queen Margaret of Anjou and her posy of 500, the caves were excavated further to extract limestone for the Chateau de Saumur and later used as mushroom breeding grounds, according to signs posted along the trail,
After meandering through the troglodyte village, the trail begins snaking through the stunning landscape, winding through wooded forests, vineyards open fields and small villages (gorgeous at sunset, in my experience). Several colors signifying different lengths and purposes mark the trail, but if you stick to the yellow markers, you won’t get lost.
An extraordinary views of stunning variety, if you’re planning to pass time in the Loire, I highly recommend spending a few hours outside. The trail is near several caves and château’s if you’re interested in breaking up the walk. Otherwise, bring a bar of chocolate and bottle of water, and enjoy the views.The trail is easily accessible from the main road, with parking just under the road on the Loire. The trailhead is only marked with a small wooden sign behind the bloulangerie ATM.