Ode to the Vendée… The Green Vendée. The Blue Vendée. The Vendée of the Poitevin marsh, that of the marine landscape. The red and white Vendée in the colors of its logo, everywhere present. The emblem of his flag is displayed at the department entrances, on communal panels, but also glued with conviction on the rear window of registered cars 85 ! A Vendée with evocative names : Puy-du-Fou, who celebrated its 40 years ago, Les Sables-d'Olonne, La Tranche-sur-Mer or Noirmoutier. And then the islands, the fiery coastline and peaceful countryside… A vast department that cultivates its diversity with a certain pride.
At the foot of the Atlantic Ocean, 250 km of coastline, 140 km of beaches, 18 seaside resorts. Before stretching north into a perte of sight-loss beaches, the coast of the Vendée reserves itself to the salt marshes, the land of asylum of thousands of birds and game. Salt has long been the department's main wealth. To measure the importance of white gold in vendéenne history, follow the sauniers guides that organize visits during the summer. Otherwise, take the Perrier to a boat ride. A little further south, in the village of Sallertaine, you will go to the canoe to discover the « étiers », the other name given to these canals. " Capital "of the salt marshes, Beauvoir-sur-Mer opens the door to the island of Noirmoutier through the passage of Gois.
Long before the bridge was built, with access now free, this ford was the only way to go to the island. The Gois discovers twice a day for only four hours, because it can only be crossed at low tide.
Noirmoutier and the island of Yeu, pearls of Vendée
Noirmoutier has treasures of beauty nestled around its salt marshes, near the beaches to the immaculate pale or behind its woods. The wood of La Chaize is the most frequented site on the island. Do you come to admire the association of strawberry, green oaks and maritime pines or the elegant villas villas around its trees? Certainly for both reasons, but also for the serenity of the places, as peace is the watchword. They are tasted at the Guérinière, in Barbâtre, at the Épine, her neighbour. typical villages that make photographers or simples happy. Rent a bicycle and go down in the narrow streets to admire the lime-whitewashed houses and covered with pink tiles. A few miles from the coast, the island of Yeu is made by boat because there is no road access. Des await you at the ports of Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, Fromentine and in Les Sables-d'Olonne.
A long necklace of beaches
Return to the mainland, to the " larger sand bin of the west ". Welcome to Saint-Jean-de-Monts, a true paradise for the youngest ! In Saint-Jean-de-Monts, along its 8 km of fine sandy beach, our dear blonde heads are invited to take advantage of the numerous games spaces, clubs and animations specially designed for their attention.
The same dynamism is found in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, which combines three richesses: seaside resort for children and their parents supported by the family plus label, water town to promote sailing practice for small or large and finally fishing port. By strolling along its quays, we are seduced by this well-known place of all sailors, a good place to host a magistrale flotte: dozens of fishing boats are located in the harbour offering a charming taste. First port of France for the sardine fishery, please ! It is best to check with the auction machine, to assist the landing of fish that still frétillent in their salted bins. Once again, we are seduced by the fine sandy beaches that make œillades for a double invitation to bathing and sun.
In the beautiful days, outside its shores where it is good to enjoy, the Flot basin of Les Sables-d'Olonne remains the major attraction of the visitors. The tradition of fishing is firmly established at the Sands, so let us not fail to welcome one of the most important ports on the Atlantic coast.
To the south of the department, the beaches of fine sand are through each other. More than 13 km of sand line La Tranche-sur-Mer, the fun resort of the Atlantic coast, where the amateurs flow into the desirable rollers.
The inescapable poitevin marsh
The Poitevin marsh covers three departments, the Two-Sèvres, the Charente-Maritime and the Vendée. Here you will be in communion with one of the parties most respectful of the natural space, the least affected by the commercial aspect of a particularly tourist sector. Authenticity is preserved with sincerity, and the boats do not follow the tail leu leu. Through this maze of canals and rivers, thousands of water lenses form a green carpet on which you will cross. In the discovery of the lush flora, the change is guaranteed, especially if you have taken care to ask for some advice to the oldest of the villages to know the best routes. Set in a traditional boat, called " flat ", you enter a beautiful green landscape. You're miles away from your exciting lives, no need for frills : we feel good. A visit of the marsh to the summer torpor is pure happiness. The serenity of the place recalls another country, in Italy, where a boatmasters guides us through channels and alleys of a serene city. No wonder " Green Venice " is the other name of the Poitevin marsh.
Going north, towards the region of the Beds, a stopover is required in the town of Fontenay-le-Comte, classified by the national heritage as one of France's finest detours. Renaissance buildings, curiosities of the Middle Ages, special hotels, rich bourgeois mansions, the city has an immensely rich heritage.
The prestigious Puy-du-Fou
On the Puy-du-Fou route, the relatively windy Mount des Mirrors is one of the department's highlights. Although we are far away from our dear Alps or Pyrenees, this plateau is one of the best natural observatories in the Vendée, where the hills and valleys blend harmoniously with the rivers. The natural alliance of water and wind explains a larger presence of mills.
But the notoriety of the Vendée owes much to the Puy-du-Fou who celebrated its 40 years in June 2017. In the north-east of the department, over 40 hectares in the heart of the town of Des, we are engaged in a journey over the centuries. Day : place in the first park with historical and ecological themes in France, where you discover History by fun as crazy. The night came : place the biggest night show in the world. On a giant stage of several dozen hectares, we enter the Great history alongside more than a thousand actors thanks to a show sound and quality light never incomparable. If you want to attend the Cinéscénie, pre-empt your visit to Puy-du-Fou and book your evening, because this gigantic light and light is only available on Friday and Saturday evening from June to September. Priceless!
When? In all seasons, of course, but to take full advantage of the joys of the Vendée, summer is the right time.
Get there. By car, (A 87), by plane (Nantes) or by train (La Roche-sur-Yon or Les Sables-d'Olonne), everything is possible. For the island of Yeu, the seaway must be used: daily crossings (35 to 45 min) from Fromentine.
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