Holidays in Vendee

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The Vendée Overview

Visiting The Vendée

The Vendée is nestled in the north west of France and is famed for the broad sweep of Atlantic coast that hugs the region. Miles of beach and wide expanses of sea come as standard with any trip to the Vendée, but there is a lot more to explore if you can tear yourself away from the coast.  Think wine-tasting, hiking, medieval games and comedy festivals...

Feel The Vendée

Open your palms to the sun. Wiggle your toes in Atlantic waters. Pick up a surfboard. Ride rising waves. Wade in low-tide marshland. Spot your favourite species at a bird sanctuary. Unleash the wine expert within. Mull over a Muscadet. Gurgle a Gros Plant. Lace up those hiking boots. Squelch through a salt marsh. Watch jousting in an ancient forest. Take a toboggan at the waterpark. Feel the flutter at the Island of Butterflies.

Explore The Vendée

The Vendée is the ultimate outdoors destination for those searching for fresh air and fresh experiences.  This northwest region is peppered with some of France’s finest beaches, like the sandy shores of St Jean-de-Monts. There’ll never be a better opportunity to try your hand at watersports than here, with canoeing, sailing, windsurfing and many more available along the coast.

Once you’ve packed up your beach bag, take a trip to glittering resorts such as Les Sables d’Olonne and enjoy a sumptuous French dinner at the marina. If you’re after another day filled with outdoor pursuits, take your pick from the marshlands of the Ile de Noirmoutier or the wonderful bird sanctuaries of the Marais Poitevin.

Even after all of this, there’s still plenty of the Vendée to explore, so grab your hiking boots and take off along one of the miles of walking trails that wind round the region.

Places to visit - Sightseeing

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:

Nantes
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.

St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie
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.

La Rochelle
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.

Great for younger kids

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.

Great for older kids

Feeling Forest
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.

Atlantic Toboggan
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.

Places to visit - Activities & events

Watersports
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.

Golf
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.

Surfing
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.

Cycling
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.

Unmissable events in the Vendée

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.

Places to visit - Eating out

As you might expect, the cuisine of the Vendée includes plenty of fresh seafood, but it has a few surprises in store too:

  • Oysters – Huîtres de Vendée Atlantique as you will find them on menus here, are plentiful, relatively inexpensive and really fresh from the sea.
  • Barbecued Sardines – quick, inexpensive and delicious, the sardines, like all of the seafood here, are absolutely delicious.
  • Brioche – the brioches of the Vendee are rather special, often flavoured with orange water, and served as both a breakfast and a dessert.
  • Troussepinette – a powerful spirit made from blackthorn shoots, the Vendéeans serve it as an aperitif.

Campsites in region

St Jean-de-Monts Le Clarys-Plage pool
Le Clarys-Plage | St Jean Plage

How do you like the sound of sitting on the sun terrace, while the kids go down the water slide for the hundredth time? Say ‘hello’ to Le Clarys Plage.

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St Jean-de-Monts Camping la Foret beach
Camping la Forêt | St Jean Plage

So you’re looking for a family holiday at a small parc in the Vendée that isn’t just eco-friendly, but toddler-friendly, too?

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St Jean-de-Monts La Yole pool
La Yole | St Jean Plage

Come to La Yole and you’ll soon realise that this is a holiday where the kids are firmly in charge.

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St Hilaire-de-Riez Sol a Gogo waterslides
Sol a Gogo | St Hilaire-de-Riez

Where else on the Vendée can you get a thoroughly modern parc with direct beach access and a pool with a quirky, Roman ruins-theme?

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St Hilaire-de-Riez Les Ecureuils pools
Les Ecureuils | St Hilaire-de-Riez

There’s something about miles of sand on your doorstep and a family-run atmosphere that ticks a whole lot of boxes for toddlers and parents.

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Les Genêts pool
Les Genêts | St Jean-de-Monts

Les Genêts is a superb, lively parc with an array of activities to suit all ages. Here, you're also close to a lovely sandy beach making this a great choice for a family holiday.

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St Julien-des-Landes La Garangeoire pedalo on lake
La Garangeoire | St Julien-des-Landes

Fancy enjoying your slice of French aristocracy? Then why not stay in the grounds of a beautiful old château on your next holiday? Famously beautiful, La Garangeoire is a feast for the eyes.

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St Julien-des-Landes La Foret chateau
Château La Forêt | St Julien-des-Landes

Imagine staying with your family in the grounds of a stunning French château and deciding between a round of mini golf or a spot of paint balling to fill your days.

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L'Oceano d'Or pool and slides
L'Oceano d'Or | Jard sur Mer

A well-kept, modern parc located amidst lovely unspoilt countryside and close to the charming Jard-sur-Mer, L'Oceano d'Or is a great choice for a lively family holiday.

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Le Littoral | Les Sables d'Olonne

With easy access to the superb Atlantic coast and organised entertainment in the high season, Le Littoral has something for everyone.

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La Tranche-sur-Mer Bel pool
Bel | La Tranche sur Mer

Looking for the ideal base to get out and enjoy the ambience of France? Settle into Bel and you’ll be ideally placed to explore the resort of La Tranche-sur-Mer.

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Lac Du Jaunay Le Pin Parasol pool restaurant view
Le Pin Parasol | Lac du Jaunay

Picture a giant water slide in the woodlands or tennis courts next to a river bank and you’ll soon see that Le Pin Parasol is a parc full of wonderful contrasts.

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Apartments in region

Port Bourgenay Golf
Port Bourgenay | Talmont St Hilaire

Discover its winning mix of pine forests, wide, sandy beaches, traditional resorts and tranquil villages and, chances are, you’ll fall for the Vendée region of France.

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Chateau D'Olonne Pool
Chateau d'Olonne | Les Sables d'Olonne

Here, in the heart of Côte de Lumière, French living reaches its sublime and stylish best.

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Location reviews

Vendee reviews collected by Reevoo

Overall rating
8.4
Scores 8.4 out of 10 based on 1675 reviews
Reviews and scores from the last 12 months.
7 out of 10

Patricia

Norfolk
Like the Vendee were able to revisit an excellent restaurant we used to go to many years ago still there still fantastic the town and market we love just disappointed with accommodation found sea front expensive
Confirmed stay: 22 October 2013
10 out of 10

Gaynor

Portsmouth
St jean de monts and st gilies were beautiful. Would like to have been closer.
Confirmed stay: 14 September 2013
10 out of 10

Alison

Leominster
Great beaches, good cycling and walking. The weather is usually good too.
Confirmed stay: 11 September 2013
9 out of 10

James

Rochester
Real rustic France thats easy to reach within a days drive of Calais. Miles of great sandy beaches, quiet unspoilt countryside and close to other regions like Bordeaux and The Dordogne.
Confirmed stay: 09 September 2013
6 out of 10

Jennifer

St Austell
We didn't find much of interest in the area at first; the couriers were focussed on kids entertainment, and there wasn't much guidance for adult exploration.

There were good cycle routes in the lanes around the site but we found these on a board at the local village. A detailed guide of how to get to Lac Jaunay would have been very helpful.

There wasn't much of cultural interest in the area generally.
Confirmed stay: 09 September 2013
10 out of 10

Julie

Chichester
It is a beatiful area and there are a lot of lovely places to visit. Just wish we had more time.
Confirmed stay: 08 September 2013
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