Pays de la Loire (French pronunciation: [pɛ.i də la lwaʁ]; Breton: Broioù al Liger) is one of the 27 regions of France. It is one of the regions created in the late 20th century to serve as a zone of influence for its capital, Nantes, one of a handful so-called "balancing metropolises" (métropoles d'équilibre)¹. Other examples of "artificially created" regions include Rhône-Alpes, which was created as the region for Lyon, and Midi-Pyrénées, which was created as the region for Toulouse.
The Erdre is a river in western France, right tributary to the river Loire. Its source is in the Maine-et-Loire département, near La Pouëze. It flows through the départements Maine-et-Loire and Loire-Atlantique. It flows into the river Loire in the city Nantes. Other towns on the Erdre, going downstream, are Candé, Riaillé, Nort-sur-Erdre and Sucé-sur-Erdre.
The Erdre is unusual in that it widens out as one travels up-river. At its lowest point, where it joins the Loire in Nantes, its former course is now a main road and shopping area, the Cours des Cinquante Otages. The Erdre now has to reach the Loire via the St Felix canal tunnel under Rue Henri IV, emerging near the main railway station.
However travel some 15 kilometres up stream and the Erdre has widened from a few hundred metres to nearly a kilometre wide, at the Plaine de Mazeroles, near Sucé sur Erdre. Broad marshlands partially reclaimed make the river even wider. Above here, the Nantes-Brest canal goes off to the west, and we have another small town, Nort sur Erdre. Above here, the Erdre has many small streams crossing the low hills of this part of north west France. There are pretty villages but don't come here looking for spectacular scenery. Good walking country, especially if you like to follow the many disused railways, mainly abandoned complete with rusting rail lines, a relic to France's very own Beeching cuts.