The Loire, the last wild river in Europe, crosses France from Mont Gerbier de Jonc (07 – Ardèche) to the Saint-Nazaire estuary (44 – Loire Atlantique) for more than 1000 kilometres.
Since 30 November 2000, it has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for cultural landscapes between Sully sur Loire (45 – Loiret) and Chalonnes sur Loire (49 – Maine et Loire).
There, we can find all the environments that make up the richness of the wild Loire: sandy beaches, islands, wooded shores…
Its inclusion in the European Natura 2000 network under the ‘birds’ and ‘habitats’ directives for protecting and preserving wild fauna and flora, biodiversity, ecosystems and places of passage of migratory species attests to its value.
Through the centuries, up until the middle of the 19th century, the Loire was an important axis of navigation and transport of goods. The still-present bollards testify to its strong commercial activity.
The Loire and its castle
Sully Castle is a splendid example of a medieval fortress with its tall towers and deep moats still filled with water.
It was built at the end of the 14th century on a site overlooking one of the few fording points of the Loire.
The Loire and its floods
The hundred-year floods of 1846-1856-1866 are the largest in the Loire’s history.
• Flood of 1846 : on 21, 22 and 23 October in the Saint Germain district, water from the Loire entered all the houses and the church, although they were built above sea level.
• Flood of 1856 : a succession of floods from the 1 to 7 May. The Loire reached 4.7 metres in Sully sur Loire, then rose a second time to 5.53 metres, before the final flood which washed away several houses in the old village of Saint Père sur Loire and the road bridge.
• Flood of 1866 : the next September flood resembled the previous one and caused considerable destruction.
Many old houses in the Val de Sully still bear the marks of these floods on their walls.
The Val de Sully is therefore one of the jewels of the natural and authentic Loire both for the quality of its landscapes and for the harmonious development of humans and animals in these places.