ON HOLS ON THE LOIRE, TIME TO TRY A TOUE!
From the 13th to the 19th century, up until the creation of the French railways, traditional Loire boats were a major form of transport.
The Loire was a veritable superhighway, the longest river in France, penetrating into the heart of the country, a great boon for transporting people and goods (wine, salt, stone, leather… even cocoa!).
WHY ARE ALL LOIRE BOATS FLAT BOTTOMED?
Specially conceived for river transport, the traditional Loire flat-bottomed boats could travel in very shallow waters and were flexible enough to tackle this particularly wild, changeable river with its shifting currents, islands and sandbanks.
Navigating along the Loire required specific boats and knowledge:
- the toue, or toue cabanée, was traditionally used for fishing and river outings. Toues cabanées can fit up to 20 people on board.
- the futreau, the smallest type of Loire boat, was used both for fishing and for ferrying people from one bank to the other.
- the chaland, or barge, was the largest vessel (15m to 30m long), used to transport merchandise.
TAKE A BOAT TRIP ON THE RIVER
Nowadays, you can step aboard a toue for a boat trip lasting a few hours, or simply to cross from one bank of the river to the other, for example if cycling along La Loire à Vélo. Sailing along the Loire with an expert captain makes for a fascinating experience.