Chateau Cottage and Eglise House
Gite holidays in the Vendée





The Vendée

the Vendee - sandy beaches

Situated on the west coast of France, the Vendee is becoming one of France's most sought-after destinations, perfect for photographers. Its unique combination of coastline and diverse countryside make it a perfect location for living as well as repeated visits.

vendee vendee

It offers a taste of 'real France', with picturesque villages, historic towns, French culture and some of the best beaches in France - all this easily accessible from the channel ports, yet far enough south to enjoy reliable summers and a warm, sunny spring and autumn.

Each part of the Vendee has its own style and its own charm.

In north-east, there is the rolling countryside of the 'Bocage' with its undulating pastures and woods, offering an authentic rural setting. Further south are the dramatic expanses of the limestone plateau, with fields of sunflowers and corn, sleepy villages and only the occasional tractor to break the calm, peaceful ambiance.

boating on the marais poitevin, vendee

At the south, the plateau gives way to the reclaimed lands of the 'Marais' ('venise verte' or Green Venise), criss-crossed with drainage canals and abounding with bird life. Hundreds of years ago, many of the villages here were the only islands standing out in the shallow waters of the 'Golfe des Pictons', offering spectacular skies and a light all it's own.

cycling in the Vendee

The coast is characterised by miles of pine forest, leading to sand dunes and to safe, sandy beaches. From the point at L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer in the south, round to St Vincent-sur-Jard, the sandy beach extends, virtually uninterrupted, for over 12 miles. Further north-west there are delightful coves, rocky points and traditional ports.

The Vendee offers an extensive network of excellent cycle paths enabling riders to enjoy the countryside in total safety.

sunshine hours in the vendee

The Vendee has an average of 280 days sunshine per year, plenty of opportunity to appreciate the endless sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast.

vendee sandy beaches

From the marshes of Brittany to St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, from St-Jean-de-Monts to Les Sables d'Olonne and beyond, the 140 miles of sandy beaches are a delight. There are dunes, pine forests, farmlands and vineyards - as many different landscapes as you could wish for.

And that's just the coast: inland is a haven of treasures just waiting to be explored.

Venise Vert is the canal system the Vendée is famous for. There are numerous places (Maillezais with its fabulous abbey is one of the best) where small rowing boats can be hired (with or without guides). Maps are provided and you can navigate round canal systems to set routes. The canals range from 20m wide to narrow stretches barely wide enough for the boat. All the canals are completely covered with a very distinctive weed giving them the appearance of flat green land, hence the 'Venise Vert' name.

We have had many surfers stay and Les Conches is renowned as a surfers paradise within an easy drive of our gites and well recommended.

fontenay le comtecarnival in fontenay le comte

Close to the gite (20kms) you can find the lovely town of Fontenay le Comte; This beautiful renaissance market town is full of history and magnificent architecture. The 16th century Chateau Terre Neuve, the museum housed in old old rectory, and the church are surrounded by magnificent mansions telling of its rich historical past.

The numerous festivals, concerts and exhibitions throughout the year make it a fascinating place to visit at anytime.

puy du fou puy du fou

Puy de Fou is well worth a visit, by day there is a theme park which includes mediaeval jousting, villages with traditional crafts and actors dressed in the period of the day. The highlight is a twice daily display of falconry. The display is held in an amphitheatre with hawks, falcons and eagles swooping over the crowd and collecting food from the falconers who are dressed in traditional costume. This includes every bird of prey you have ever imagined including some enormous vultures. Great fun and highly professional ! By night during the summer Puy de Fou is renowned for holding France's foremost Son et Lumière spectacle. This is a re-enactment of the dress history in full costume by night and includes battle scenes, village life and laser special effects set around a castle and lake. It includes a cast of hundreds of locals and is carried out on Friday and Saturday nights. Every show is sold out in the height of summer, but tickets can be booked in advance. There is also an English translation available on cassette. If you wish to go to the evening event and get the translation this can be booked in advance by credit card.

Le Puy Du Fou: 7 millions spectators....The world's largest stage.

tour de france The Tour de France is a unique spectacular which winds its way through France in July every year; check out the route - part of it will pass nearby and its well worth a detour to pick up the atmosphere.

vendee globevendee globe
The Vendée globe takes place every four years and is above all human adventure. The race starts from, and returns to les Sables D'Olonne, with the competitors sailing single handed round-the-world.

Further info can be found at vendeeglobe.org

And just beyond the borders you shouldn't miss La Rochelle, Niort, Poitiers (with the Futurescope theme park), Nantes and much more Nantes Elephant

Île de Ré is a quiet island off La Rochelle, a new road bridge makes it accessible by car. It is picturesque and has numerous beaches, cafés, towns and parks. The cost for the toll bridge is approximately €12 but is free if you cycle or walk out to the island. la rochelle

Just under one hour away and slightly further afield lies the beautiful port of La Rochelle. We have no hesitation in recommending the fabulous fish restaurant Chez Andre in the old port.La Rochelle is France's 2nd largest boat building port and the historic Vieux Port remains largely unchanged. A daily fish market can be found in the old town until 12:00 midday. The port is very attractive and waterside cafés and restaurants offer a relaxing break. The seafood platters are their speciality and are excellent especially for large groups, where a single huge dish of shellfish is produced.

The new marina holds Europe's largest aquarium which is open 365 days a year and has a large selection of fish from highly coloured tropical types to eels and sharks. Well worth a visit as really is a good day out.

vendee food

France is synonymous with good food and the region has a diverse range of produce to please every palate and embrace all gourmet food lovers. Thanks to its position between land and sea the Vendée offers a comprehensive range of traditional flavours. The harvest of the sea and coast is a central feature of its dishes, from ortolan bunting to oysters and sole from Les Sables.

The Vendée's soil too yields up its treasures: Charolais beef, salt-marsh lamb, poultry from Challans, foie gras. Locally produced meat and poultry will satisfy all tastes, while the charcuterie on offer derives many of its flavours from the salt and samphire of the salt marsh. The traditional mogette beans and Noirmoutier's Bonnotte potatoes are delicacies for the palate, as are other locally grown vegetables, accompanied by Vendée V.D.Q.S. wines, products of a grape-growing tradition that goes back to medieval times.

And to finish on a sweet note, the Vendée's menus are rounded off with a wide range of desserts, brioches, fritters and doughnuts, not to mention small sweet delicacies, fruit-filled pastries and traditional confectionery.

We are more than happy to help clients with bookings and advice on the local area during the course of their stay and hope you will learn to appreciate the region as much as we do as it has so much to offer.