When you think of holidays to France, the Vendée might not be the first place that springs to mind. But it’s well worth taking a closer look at this coastal region for your next holiday – here are 6 reasons we love visiting the Vendée.
1. Super seaside resorts
[responsive-image id=’4520′ align=’center’ caption=’Le Littoral from the sky’ alt=’Le Littoral, Vendee aerial shot’]
Les Sables d’Olonne has a magnificent sandy beach and narrow cobbled streets packed with colourful restaurants and shops, including the Rue de l’Enfer – at just 40cm wide, it’s the narrowest alleyway in the world. The resort is also the main yachting harbour in the Vendée and there’s a chance you’ll see various races and regettas there throughout the season. Le Littoral is a brilliant beachfront parc that organises daily trips to the resort so you can explore!
2. An island of butterflies!
[responsive-image id=’4521′ align=’center’ caption=” alt=’15_Vendee_Noirmoutier_Island_of_butterflies_12′]
Set your holiday heart aflutter at L’Ile aux Papillons (the Island of Butterflies), an incredible tropical hall that houses 700 butterflies of all shapes and sizes. Walk through the greenhouse and see how many different kinds you can spot – one or two may even rest on your collar. This totally enchanting experience is just 20 minutes away from Camping la Forêt.
3. Surf’s up
[responsive-image id=’4522′ align=’center’ caption=’Surf’s up at St Gilles Beach’ alt=’Surf’s up at St Gilles Beach’]
Famed for its broad sweep of Atlantic coast and beaches for miles, it’s no surprise that surfing crashes into a league of its own in the Vendée. From St Gilles Croix de Vie all the way to La Tranche sur Mer, the Atlantic waves offer a surfing paradise for beginners through to experts. Bel is 300 metres from the beach and is a great spot to try windsurfing.
4. Fresh, delicious seafood
[responsive-image id=’4509′ align=’center’ caption=” alt=’Moules a la creme, France’]
The Vendée’s coastal location means great things for your dinner plate – freshly caught, delicious seafood every night. On menus you’ll spot bowls of Moules Frites, the national dish, and ‘Huîtres de Vendée Atlantique’, which are oysters, freshly caught in Atlantic waters. Stay at Sol à Gogo and try dinner at La Ferme de Melusine in nearby town St-Hilaire-de-Riez. It serves wonderful seafood and shellfish in simple, rustic surroundings.
5. Fly or catch the ferry
[responsive-image id=’3087′ align=’center’ caption=” alt=’Ferry travel’]
There are two main airports you can use to get to the Vendée: Nantes and La Rochelle. Both are serviced by low cost airlines from London, Manchester and Dublin, with an average flight time of around two hours. Alternatively, if you prefer to drive to your holiday destination, you can book an overnight ferry to St Malo and hit the road on the other side. That’s what Simon from Derbyshire did for his stay at Les Ecureuils:
“Our third holiday in the Vendée in a row – we love it for the ease of getting there. With overnight ferries we can be on the campsite by lunchtime and straight in the pool!”
6. A spectacular medieval show
[responsive-image id=’4523′ align=’center’ caption=’Lights, camera, Medieval action!’ alt=’06_Vendee_Puy-du-Fou_VV’]
Yep, that’s right. No trip to the Vendée would be complete without Puy du Fou – a spectacular medieval experience inspired by the history of France and Europe, set within an ancient forest. Over 30 million visitors have already enjoyed this unique live event, culminating in an open-air evening performance involving 850 actors, including 50 horsemen. La Garangeoire is just over an hour’s drive from Le Puy du Fou.