The Vendée is situated in the north west of France, on the edge of the Loire and features mile after mile of golden sandy beaches that slope into the clear blue sea, making it a perfect place for those who enjoy camping and exploring blended with watersports and sun worshipping.
St Jean-de-Monts, close to several of our parcs, offers some of the best sandy beaches in France and a wide range of watersports for the more adventurous. These are ideal locations for every family that likes a bit of excitement and bustling resorts.
Yet while its wonderful west coast climate and rolling waves make it the perfect place for family beach holidays, this is also a wonderfully unspoilt region for those who want to discover the real Vendée.
There is simply mile after mile of walking trails and bridle paths to explore, from the magnificent stretch of Atlantic coast in the west, to the tranquil and verdant fields, woods and hills that lie inland.
In between, you may also wish to discover the wonderful beaches, fort and marina in the glittering resort of Les Sables d’Olonne; the marshlands of the Ile de Noirmoutier which can be reached only at low tide across the Gois causeway, and the wonderful bird sanctuaries of the Marais Poitevin. There are also many picturesque towns and fishing ports to explore, with Nantes and La Rochelle being particularly unmissable.
The popular Northern France holiday destination of theVendée area is also famous for its wine, boasting a multitude of vineyards producing fine wines such as Muscadet and Gros Plant; while the Moules et Frites, beloved of the French everywhere, are a particular treat in this region.
Find out more about the different regions of France in our French campsites section.
The Vendée offers mile after mile of glorious coastline and magnificent countryside. Yet this is also a charming and historic region, with many fine ports and attractive towns to enjoy:
A city of many contrasts, Nantes blends modern, high-rise towers with venerable Art Nouveau squares, lovely old canals and the port itself. It also offers you many fine bars and restaurants and the magnificent Chateau des Ducs de Bretagne.
Les Sables d’Olonne
Best known for its seemingly endless beaches, the bustling seaside resort of Las Sables d’Olonne also offers visitors a splendid marina, the stunning 15th century Chateau St Clair and the unmissable Vendée War Museum.
Ile de Noirmoutier
This lovely island can be reached either by an impressive bridge or, at low tide via the Le Gois causeway. Home to a host of fine beaches, architectural gems the Oceanile water park and the sea salt industry, it really is a must-see attraction.
La Route du Sel
The ideal place to discover the local salt trade, where you can hire canoes and explore waymarked routes through the ancient salt marshes at Sallertaine. Day and night hire are available, including candlelit dining for evening visitors.
This truly beautiful seaside resort offers wonderful beaches, a delightful fishing port and a quaint old town that really deserves to be explored. The ancient Church of Saint Gilles is particularly worth a visit.
Le Puy du Fou
Set in the heart of an ancient forest, Le Puy du Fou is a spectacular medieval experience for all the family. From displays of falconry and jousting to the circus games in the Gallo-Roman stadium, it’s a real experience.
Abbaye De L’ile Chauvet
Enjoying a glorious location on a small island in the midst of ancient salt marshes, this 12th Century Benedictine abbey is one of the most attractive ruins you will ever see, with a wealth of fascinating features to enjoy.
While the ancient heart of La Rochelle was razed by Cardinal Richelieu in 1628, the lovely old harbour remains intact. The towers of La Chaine and St Nicholas, which used to guard the harbour using a massive chain, are particularly fascinating.
Island of Butterflies
L’Ile aux Papillons at Ile de Noirmoutier is a wonderful experience for the whole family, but particularly spellbinding for little ones. They will be absolutely enchanted by the tropical halls that house literally thousands of colourful butterflies.
Zoo des Sables d’Olonne
Not only is this lovely zoo home to more than 280 animals ranging from Jaguars to Giraffes, it also takes a close interest in environmental issues, and provides a sanctuary for more than 40 endangered species.
Offering high-rise adventure in the tree-tops, painballing, go-karts and more besides, this adventure park at Saint Hilaire de Riez is ideal for families of all ages, but a particular favourite with older children and teens.
In the heart of the Vendée at Saint Hilaire de Riez, you will find the Atlantic Toboggan waterpark to be an ideal day out, offering a host of lovely pools and waterslides for all ages, including the thrilling Kamikaze and Boa toboggans.
With mile after mile of thrilling Atlantic coast to choose from, you will find a host of windsurfing and sailing schools here, not to mention opportunities to try kite-surfing and sand yachting.
The Vendée offers no less than five superb golf courses, ranging from the coastal delights of the Golf des Olonnes Golf de St Jean de Monts to the inland splendours of Gold des Fontelles and Golf de la Domangère. Green fees are also very reasonable here.
While we’ve already discussed watersports, surfing really demands a mention all of its own, as the Vendée offers a true surfer’s playground, with superb surfing beaches from St Gilles Croix de Vie all the way to La Tranche sur Mer.
They love cycling here, and have now created a network of more than 1,000km of safe cycle routes across the region, including a truly spectacular route that stretches along 160km of coastline, from North to South of the Vendée region.
Festival of Noirmoutier en l’Ile
Held every August in the courtyard of the lovely Noirmutier Castle and the St Philbert courtyard, this dramatic festival involves a dozen or so plays and dramatic shows held over a fortnight.
Festival of the History of France
This three day event in Sante Hermine usually takes place in early August, and explores the wonders of the Belle Epoque through a country fair, shows, dances, silent films and reconstructions of historic events.
Face and Si Festival
Every September in Mouilleron le Captif, this three day festival brings everything from big name musicians to local comedians together in a huge, good-natured and truly eclectic entertainment festival.
Vendée Cheval, Le Festival des Arts Equestres
This weekend event in Saint Hilaire le Vouhis is a wonderful countryside celebration of all things equestrian, with a range of activities including national-standard harnessed horse competitions.
As you might expect, the cuisine of the Vendée includes plenty of fresh seafood, but it has a few surprises in store too:
With a choice of outstanding beaches nearby, and a superb pool complex, Le Clarys-Plage is a popular choice. Yet the local restaurants are also well worth discovering.
Just a short stroll from an excellent sandy beach, this small and placid parc offers many shaded and secluded pitches, as well as fascinating towns to discover nearby.
With an excellent pool complex at its heart, La Yole is also justly popular for its superb children’s playground, sandy beach nearby and evening entertainment.
As if the gorgeous beach and Roman-themed pool complex weren’t enough, Sol à Gogo also offers a host of activities and many exciting resorts nearby.
Les Ecureuils is a beautifully landscaped parc, offering an enviable location next to a magnificent beach, if you can tear yourselves away from the lovely pool complex.
Famously beautiful, La Garangeoire is a feast for the eyes. Yet even beyond the parc itself, the surrounding area is just as pretty and authentically French as it could be.
Set in the grounds of a fabulous château, close to the lovely old village of St Julien-des-Landes and enjoying a parkland setting, La Forêt is an absolute delight
Bel is a small and friendly site, which still offers excellent facilities, making it a popular choice for families. It is also close to one of the Vendée’s finest beaches.
With great views of Lake Jaunay, the outstanding beaches of the Vendee close by and the superb pool complex Camping Le Pin Parasol is the perfect base for a great holiday.
The Vendée region of France is still a secret to many. But, for those who've discovered its beguiling mix of pine forests and wide, spangly beaches, of traditional resorts and fair climate, it's a secret they're happy to keep.
In the heart of the Côte de Lumière, Le Château d’Olonne is next to the lively resort of Les Sables d’Olonne, one of France’s most stylish seaside towns offering plenty to see.
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