La Rêveuse Saint-Nicolas, Le Mans

A ride by traditional boat


Discover the Rivers of Western France on a traditional boat cruise. Board a traditional French wooden boat to travel the rivers of the Sarthe, Maine and Mayenne.

Which boats are available?

You have the choice of/between three different types of boat: the “gabare”, the “toue sablière” and the “toue cabanée”. These wooden boats with sails and oars are designed for travelling on rivers with their flat bottoms which facilitate navigation in shallow drafts.



The "gabare"

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the “gabare” was used for transporting goods. They travelled downriver with foodstuffs and construction materials, and travelled back up the river loaded with salt, dried fish and colonial goods.

Set out on the gabares “La Bohème” at Angers or “La Gogane” at Cheffes or Morannes.


Atoue Loire, Angers

The "toue"

Smaller than a “gabare”, but featuring a larger bow, “toues” were typically found on the river Loire and its tributaries during the 17th century. 

The “toue sablière” (sable = Sand) would load sand from the rivers’ edge while the “toue cabanée” was used for fishing.

Get on board the “Amazone” and the “Libellule” in Angers or the “Rêveuse de Saint-Nicolas” in Malicorne or Le Mans.


La Rêveuse de Saint-Nicolas, Le Mans

Discover the river Sarthe by "gabare"

Board the “Gogane”, a battery powered replica of a small “gabare”. This traditional boat travels silently for an experience that is in harmony with the environment. Between Cheffes-sur-Sarthe and Morannes, several excursions of 1.5 to 2 hours are available during the day or evening. 

Two cruises for the entire family 

  • “Along the Sarthe”: discover the flora and fauna of the banks of the Sarthe with a playful and participatory approach. Binoculars and fact sheets are available on board!
  • “Around the islands”: on this tour you will get to admire the beautiful residences at Porte-Bise, Moulin d’Ivray and Juvardeil nestled in the exotic landscape of the islands.


Sailing on the Sarthe on board a "toue sablière"

Setting off from Malicorne-sur-Sarthe or Le Mans, discover the river aboard a “toue sablière” from the Loire: the “Rêveuse de Saint-Nicolas”. This replica boat takes you on a river tour of less than an hour or a longer cruise on the river Sarthe.

Three river tours departing from Malicorne

  • “Sarth'isane” in Malicorne: enjoy the flora and fauna of the river Sarthe during this hour-long tour.
  • Excursion “Le Mans’eau”: this tour will take you to the river port at Le Mans and its gallo-roman battlements.
  • Picknick tour “My Father’s Glory”: enjoy a three-hour long cruise to the mill at Ignières, formerly owned by French author and filmmaker Marcel Pagnol.


Sail around Angers by traditional boat 

At the starting point in Angers, get aboard the gabare “La Bohème”, the toue sablière “l’Amazone” or the toue cabanée “La Libellule”. 

  • “Discovering the island of Saint-Aubin”: this cruise by “gabare” will let you discover the historic city of Angers from the river Maine and then sail on to the island of Saint-Aubin on the river Mayenne with its ferry and inn.
  • “Pancakes on the river”: this tour between Angers and Cantenay-Épinard on the Mayenne combines a touristic voyage with a culinary one in a “toue cabanée”.