The Vendée department is in the region of Pays de la Loire, south of Brittany. With a long coastline and excellent countryside peppered with villages plus home to the Marais Poitevin marshlands, there’s loads for the whole family to enjoy here.
With 18 famous seaside resorts, you’ll never run out of beach activities. 250km of protected coastline and 140km of golden sandy beaches give you plenty of choice for where to lay out your beach towel. Many beaches have blue flag status and you’ll find activities galore including sailing, fishing and surfing – try La Tranche sur Mer which is famous for its Atlantic rollers and regularly holds championship contests.
The most popular beaches include the island of Noirmoutier, with its mimosa trees and picture postcard pretty whitewashed fishing villages, iconic St Jean de Monts in the north, and Sables d’Olonne with its buzzing harbour and lots of shops.
Popular with the French, the Vendée beaches can get busy in the summer but out of season, the vast beauty of the coastline is simply stunning and largely uncrowded.
Amazing theme parks
Puy du Fou is one of the most famous and popular tourist attractions in France. Multi award winning, this is a theme park on a grand scale on several levels. Don’t expect a park full of rides at but be assured the wow factor is off the radar. The shows here are monumental, think Universal studios plus plus plus. From the Romans to the Vikings, and shows which represent historic events up until the 20th century. Ships set on fire, thousands of actors, incredible stunts, stunning special effects, I promise you’re never going to be bored for a single moment when you visit this place. There’s far too much to take in in one day so pick what you really want to see and don’t miss the Bal des Oiseaux Fantômes, the Ballet of the Birds. It includes falcons, vultures and owls which swoop from a large air balloon in the sky and perform above your heads! It’s truly astonishing. Details: www.puydufou.com
Grand Defi is where you’ll find the Parcour Des Arbes, like Go Ape in the UK, but on a much bigger scale. There are family trails and incredible zip slides across a lake, paintballing, pony rides, galactic laser and more. Do as many of the 22 trails and zip slides as you like in a three hour slot (no need to book in advance).
Explora Parc is a smaller trail park and includes base jumps an activities like archery.
The Mairais Poitevin is a sleepy labyrinth of canals lined with poplars and weeping willows also known as the “Green Venice”. It was first created in the 10th century by monks and later refined by the Dutch. Here you’ll find punting, artists and the stone cottages of Arcais with its Angelica liquor and twisting streets. Don’t miss the pretty village of Benet and the waterside town of Damvix.
Head inland to discover the bocage, countryside, of the Vendée. Rolling hills, dramatic lakes and rivers, historic, fortified market towns and unspoilt forest. Field after field of sunflower field mingle with lush vineyards. There are hiking trails and freshwater swimming lakes, and dozens of picturesque towns and villages that beg you to stop for a homemade dish, a glass of wine and the chance to enjoy the gorgeous views.
At French Connections, we have lots of lovely holiday homes in the Vendée, nip over to our listings search pages and find the holiday of your dreams…