The Loire is known as the « wild river » by the French, so rich and entertaining is its history. It also forms an ecological continuity through the country in terms of the fauna and flora (whether indigenous or invasive), the fish, mammals and migratory and permanently-dwelling birds. Raised to the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site in November 2000, 280 kilometres of the river from Sully-sur-Loire to Chalonnes-sur-Loire are protected. The surrounding area are also covered by the same environmental conservation order.
Four départements and six towns (Orleans, Blois, Tours, Chinon, Angers and Saumur) fall within the conservation area, with one million inhabitants. This international recognition demonstrates the efforts made by the local authorities, companies and people, both from an environmental point of view and for the excellent development of the area for tourists and visitors.