The Loire River is considered to be the last natural (as in un modified by man) river in Europe. Always a difficult river to navigate, it was once the main highway of France but is now only considered navigable for a short distance from the sea. Happily, boaters on the French waterways can follow it’s path on the Canal Lateral à la Loire and access the river on foot in many places to enjoy a wonderful nature ramble full of secret lives to discover. Amongst the many beautiful and sometimes rare animals to see is the beaver. Once threatened by extinction they are now protected and can be seen at dusk as they come out of their burrows to swim and feed. Unlike their Canadian cousins who build dams the European beaver lives in burrows and cuts down trees for food not for construction. He is a digger not a builder but they still use razor sharp teeth to cut down small trees by the waters edge leaving the tell tale "pencil" shaped ends. The European beaver fells trees for food causing them to fall into the river making their youngest juiciest parts accessible for a banquet. Cute as can be they lead monogamous lives raising a brood of two or three young per year and living together as a family until the young set out to start lives of their own.

There’s lots of nature to explore when cruising by the Loire. More suggestions coming soon.