If you’ve never been up in a hot air balloon, I can wholeheartedly suggest you give it try in the Loire valley. The Loire is stunning. A perfect mix of beautiful architecture and lush green pastures, fields of roses and sunflowers, acres of vineyards and amongst all this, the majestic river itself, winding its way through the countryside between bridges and castles, fields and villages.
If, (like me), you have a fear of heights, you might imagine the giddiness kicking in as you leave the ground and soar up into the sky. But no, not a bit of it. I think it’s something to do with the fact that you are not still connected to the ground. In fact, the higher you go, the safer you feel. From up high, the Loire looks like a serpent winding its way around the landscape and close up you can sense its size and power.
Balloon rides normally take place very early in the morning or early evening. They are of course weather dependent so it has to be just right for the flight to take place. Don’t let this put you off. If you’re in the Loire then make a note of the nearest company and then get in touch on the day to see if there’s a spot available or ask the local Tourist office to put you in touch with someone. We are lucky enough to have Montgolfière d’Anjou in Gennes (our local commune) but there are other companies dotted all along the Loire with flights going from Nantes, Angers, Saumur and Tours.