Vallée du Loir - Forêt de BercéVallée du Loir - Forêt de Bercé
©Vallée du Loir - Forêt de Bercé

Bercé's forest

An exceptionnal forest

The forest, which extends over 5,415 ha, is made up of 57% broad leaf trees and 43% coniferous.

The forest’s history

Bercé national forest, an exceptional, natural, heritage site, extends over some 5,400 ha. Bercé Forest, which became a listed Royal Forest in the 14th century, was once part of a vast forest that covered the north of the Loire region before the Roman Occupation. It is one of France’s most beautiful oak forests; some of the trees that you can see in the “Futaie des Clos” are more than 300 years old and can grow up to 50 m tall. Bercé oak was previously used for shipbuilding and today is highly sought after for making barrels and fine furniture.

Bercé forest also boasts maritime pines and coniferous trees such as Douglas pines and Austrian pines. Immerse yourself in nature and take a journey back in time, following the regularly maintained trails,  from the La Coudre Fountain to the Hermitière springs (a legendary, romantic location where couples paired off during popular summer dances etc.)

An exceptionnal forest

Deciduous trees and umbrella pines – the result of a reforestation project – compete for space, covering the numerous slopes and valleys, creating a 5 400 hectare, south-facing, horseshoe formation. The kings of this woodland are the oaks, most notably the Boppe and Roulleau de la Roussière oaks and the Emery oak at La Coudre fountain. The magnificence of Bercé’s slender, upright trees is attributable to the technique of underplanting beeches, which forces the trees to grow upwards in search of light. Here, forestry workers pass down their knowledge from generation to generation, to descendants whose grandparents have yet to be born!

Life in the forest

From spring to autumn, the forest bustles with life, both day and night: from the chirping of birds and belling of stags to the gurgling of springs and the sound of the wind, rustling the branches, 40 metres off the ground. But you’ll also find a fountain, small ponds and springs, and beside them a Guest house“L’Hermitière”; in the summer months you can have lunch here but you need to book.  “Exquisite lunch in a delightful place,” was the comment left by the Queen Mother in the visitor’s book in 1984.

Activities in the forest

This lush, natural cathedral is the perfect link between the historic heritage of the Château-du-Loir and the gardens of Château du Grand-Lucé. And between the two, you’ll find the charming village of Jupilles and the Maison de l’Homme et de la Forêt (Centre for Man and Forest):  Carnuta, which transports you to a world steeped in history and legends. There are numerous opportunities for hiking, cycling and horse-riding. The mountain bike circuits in particular, will delight both amateur and seasoned sports enthusiasts. The valley’s peaks and troughs can create some fun ups and downs but, thankfully, despite appearances, they’re always easy to negotiate.

Carnuta, house of Men and Forest

Carnuta also organises events in Bercé forest. Carnuta, the maison de l’Homme et de la forêt, is a fun, interactive site, located in the village of Jupilles in the heart of Bercé forest. This space provides an opportunity for both adults and children to find out more about forest life.