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Vendée

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The Vendée is both a department and the river that crosses it, a tributary of the Sèvre Niortaise. In the heart of the historic province of Poitou, the Vendée lies along the Atlantic Ocean. From fine sandy beaches to romantic marshes, it offers magnificent landscapes. Jewels of the coast, the islands of Yeu and Noirmoutier remain the lighthouses of the destination. Added to this is the Breton marsh at the gates of the islands, the best swimming spots, famous seaside resorts, the Poitou marsh.... Many historical sites evoke the great epic of the Vendée from prehistory to the wars of the Vendée, including the Middle Ages and the Renaissance! Among the best preserved remains: the Priory of Grammont in Saint Prouant and the feudal castle of Sigournais, classified as a Historic Monument. The natural heritage is not to be outdone with many parks and gardens, from Montaigu to Luçon and from Mothe Achard to Les Essarts. Among the highlights of Vendée tourism: the Cinéscénie du Puy du Fou, the largest night show in the world, the Mogette festival which pays tribute to the small Vendée bean and the departure of the Vent des Globes, the largest of all events, especially since it takes place only every 4 years. Finally, you should know that this destination is ideal for families and that you will enjoy a cuisine between land and sea.

What to see, what to do Vendée?

When to go Vendée ?

When to leave? The Vendée is a destination that experiences a tourist peak in summer. Les Sables-d'Olonne, Noirmoutier Island, Saint-Jean-de-Mont, the Marais Poitevin and Ile d'Yeu are the most popular, so you just have to go a little further away to find quieter sites. The charm of the coast operates all year round and the mild climate allows you to stay pleasantly in the Vendée, even in winter when the charm of the Christmas markets is added. Little rain, neither fog nor snow, generous sunshine, mild temperatures, everything contributes to the success of your stay

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Plutôt plage ou forêts ? Histoire ou balades ? Dégustation d'huîtres ou escalade ? Resto ou dégustation de vin ? Et si vous n'aviez pas à choisir ? Et si vous envisagiez votre séjour en Vendée sous un angle multi-facettes, à l'image de ce département qui se révèlera à vous jour après jour, au fil de vos explorations et de vos découvertes. Du Marais poitevin à Fontenay-le-Comte, des abbayes du sud vendéen au poumon vert de la forêt de Vouvant-Mervent, en passant par l'estuaire de Payré, La Roche-sur-Yon, le vignoble de Mareuil, Luçon, Talmont-Saint-Hilaire, les salines de Vendée et les Sables d'Olonne, une chose est sûre, votre séjour vendéen aura le goût léger et acidulé des plaisirs tout simples. Pittoresque aussi, lorsque vous flânerez dans le quartier de l'île Penotte aux Sables d’Olonne, et extraordinaire lorsque vous découvrirez les créatures qui peuplent la place Napoléon à La Roche-sur-Yon.

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Discover Vendée

A wild coastline, long sandy beaches bordered by dunes and pine forests, low houses with white walls and blue shutters, two islands, two jewels, one wild, Yeu, the other, linked by the mythical Gois: Noirmoutier. But the Vendée is not only its 140 km of beaches, it is also the bocage, a land rich in history, with hilly landscapes that is home to a world-renowned site: the Puy du Fou, twice elected "best leisure park in the world"! If one comes to the Vendée primarily for its beaches, one discovers an exceptional variety of landscapes: two marshes, to the north, the Breton Vendéen Marsh and its bourrines, to the south, the Poitevin Marsh with its enchanting spectacle of green lentils in the conches, lakes and the Yon valley. The Vendée is also a cultural heritage shaped by the small and large history, starting with its Napoleonic city.

Pictures and images Vendée

Plage de l'île de Noirmoutier THOMAS ESTANO - FOTOLIA
La pendule du remblai des Sables d'Olonne Linda CASTAGNIE
Cité médiévale du Puy du Fou Puy du Fou
Lac de Mervent. Pascal Baudry - Sud Vendée Tourisme

The 12 keywords Vendée

1. BRIOCHE

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It is impossible to leave the Vendée without having tasted a brioche. A true gastronomic institution, the brioche has been part of Vendée families since the dawn of time, or almost. The fruit of the "galette pacaude" and "braided crowns", it now has the Label rouge and is certified IGP (protected geographical indication).

2. CAMPSITE

The Vendée isthe leading French department in terms of the number of campsites, with around 360 establishments, and is a paradise for lovers of nature and open-air holidays. A family destination par excellence, everyone will find what they are looking for: bungalows, tented lodges, chalets or classic tents for the die-hards who love tents and sardines.

3. SEAFOOD

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Bouchot mussels and oysters are well represented on the stalls of fishmongers and on restaurant menus. It must be said that the 250 kilometres of coastline are rather favourable to the cultivation of these little delicacies of marine gastronomy. Not forgetting their cousins: sole, hake, sardines (from Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie!)... Let's eat!

4. FORESTS

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In the Vendée, nature is omnipresent, and the forest is at least as important as the coastline. And in the Vendée, there are some green treasures, even a green and blue jewel, the forest of Mervent-Vouvant and its 5 000 hectares. The nature of the Vendée also includes 18 lakes, the largest of which is the Apremont lake, a real fisherman's paradise.

5. VENDÉE WAR

Of course, it is less fun than the Puy du Fou, but the Vendée war is inseparable... from the Vendée! It is anchored in the history of the territory, in its culture. Flashback: the Vendée war was on one side "the blues" (the republicans) and on the other side "the whites" (the royalists), all against the background of the French Revolution.

6. MARAIS

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There is not one but two marshes in the Vendée! The Marais Breton, in the north, and the Marais Poitevin, in the south, also called "Green Venice". The latter, classified as a Grand Site de France, covers more than 112,000 hectares and is home to an abundance of flora and fauna. Let's go for a boat ride on the canals, a hymn to serenity!

7. BEACHES

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With more than 140 kilometres of fine sand, the beaches represent more than half of the Vendée coastline. There is plenty of room for swimming, sand castles, lounging and beach volleyball. Some names? Saint-Jean-de-Monts, Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez, La Tranche-sur-Mer... The beaches of these seaside resorts are waiting for you!

8. PUY DU FOU

We can't talk about the Vendée without mentioning its cult park, voted "Best theme park in the world" (in 2012 and 2014). The Puy du Fou is the history of the Vendée revisited through grandiose scenographies. It is adventure and emotion. The Vikings, the Middle Ages and the musketeers. To be experienced, at least once.

9. SURF

Surf a la Sauzaie © mikisa studio - stock.adobe.com.jpg

It is well known that the Atlantic coast and surfing are a beautiful love story. And a story that lasts in the Vendée, where surfers have at their disposal some exceptional spots to offer themselves extreme sensations. Among them, two spots have a reputation that goes far beyond the borders of France: La Sauzaie and Bud-Bud.

10. BIKE

Nearly 1,800 km of cycle paths are waiting for you if you are a cycling enthusiast. To get around and forget about the car, for a day trip or a multi-day tour, the bicycle is king in the Vendée! All that remains is to choose the itinerary, depending on whether you prefer land or sea, whether you are a seasoned cyclist or a weekend rider...

11. VENDÉE GLOBE

Every four years since 1989, the town of Les Sables-d'Olonne has been vibrating to the rhythm of the departures and arrivals of the solo adventurers in the famous round the world race. Single-handed, without assistance and without stopovers, the Vendée Globe is a human as well as a technical challenge. A legend whose history has been written by so many sailors

12. VENTRACHOUX

But why are the people of the Vendée nicknamed the "ventre à choux"? If several explanations exist, it is the one from Lucie's grandmother that we prefer... When they harvested the cabbages, the women put them in their apron, which they raised to maintain the whole. So they had the cabbages on their stomachs. Hence the ventrachoux!

You are from here, if...

The three "B" words hold no secrets for you: bédame, bonnotte and bourrine. You will hear the first one very often, which means "obviously". The second is a variety of early potatoes from the island of Noirmoutier and the last one is the traditional dwelling of the Breton marshes of the Vendée, recognizable by its reed roof and its walls made of a mixture of water, sand, earth and straw.

You are definitely addicted to cycling and outdoor activities of all kinds, nautical or not: hiking, fishing, paddle, sand yachting, climbing..

Mogettes are a part of (almost) every dish and meal.

You are a shuffleboard fan, and you indulge in this little game after the family meal on Sunday afternoon.

The sardines are inevitably from Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie and the oysters from the port of La Guittière.

You are proud of your history, or at least that of your department, and proclaim it loud and clear.

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