Something for everyone - there is always a place to see, something to do...
Here is just our small personal selection. Don't hesitate to go further with the links provided.
(FR) indicates a site in French, but you can use automatic translation.
Situated on the west coast of France, the Vendee is becoming one of France's most sought-after holiday destinations. Its unique combination of glorious coastline and diverse countryside make it perfect for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. It offers a taste of 'real France', with picturesque villages, historic towns, true 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 the northern half, there is the rolling countryside of the 'Bocage' with its undulating pastures and woods, offering an authentic rural setting. The valley of the river Sevre is particularly attractive, flowing through the towns of Tiffauges, Mortagne sur Sevre and Clisson. Futher 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.
Nearing the coast, the plateau gives way to the reclaimed lands of the 'Marais Desséché', cris-crossed with drainage canals and abounding with birdlife. Hundreds of years ago, many of the villages here were the only islands standing out in the shallow waters of the 'Golfe des Pictons', now replaced by fields of corn and sunflowers and offering spectacular skies and a light all it's own.
In the south-east, around the courses of the rivers Sevre and Vendee, extends the famous 'Marais Mouille' (Green Venice) where the network of canals and waterways densely bordered with trees can be explored by punt or canoe. Many villages in the south-east corner of the Vendee offer punt hire or guided trips; Le Mazeau, Velluire, Vix, Damvix. Maillezais (FR) offers a good restaurant next to the embarcation as well as the ruined abbey to visit
At St Cyr-en-Talmondais. Thousands of rare plants in a delightful setting of sumptuous gardens. Spectacular lotus flower lakes in bloom from June to September. See more details (FR).
See also :
Perfumed Gardens Les Olfacties at Coex - A unique collection of fragrant plants from all over the world, boutique of natural perfumes. See Les Olfacties.
Steam train rides
At Commequiers - A 10km ride through the countryside on a pedal-driven rail cart along the former railway lines. See more details (FR).
In the north of the Vendee at Mortagnes sur Sevre - 22km of steam train ride between Mortagnes and Les Herbiers through picturesque valleys and over impressive viaducts. See more details (FR).
Plenty of facilities for kite-surf, stand-up, wind-surf and sailing at La Tranche sur Mer with equipment hire and tuition. Several good surfing spots. See surfing at Les Conches.
Nearby Mareuil sur Lay has a signposted wine trail, around local producers. There is also the Mourat (FR) wine discovery centre.
The nearby forest of St Gemme la Plaine can be explored on foot or go directly by bike from Les Tamaris. The huge forest at Mervent, near Fontenay le Comte, offers endless trails and its impressive lake.
Ferme et Nature
25 acre wildlife park on a farm theme with around 500 animals of 40 different breeds. Wildlife trail through the woods. See more details (FR).
Aquarium 7th Continent
Near Talmont St Hilaire. Various natural habitats from all over the world recreated in 12 vast pools. 400 species. Sharks' feeding time 15.30. See more details (FR).
Chateau Talmont St Hilaire
Medieval fortified chateau which was Richard the Lionheart's hunting residence. Discovery trail through the chateau grounds. Demonstrations - knights on horseback. Crossbow shooting, costumes, calligraphy. Illuminated pageant in the summer evenings, early July to end of August, weekdays at nightfall. See more details.
Zoo Les Sables d'Olonne
200 animals in natural settings amongst 7 acres of forests and gardens. Big cats, monkeys, giraffes, otters, pandas, penguins, vultures, wolves, reptiles as well as many little known species. See more details.
The nearest 18 hole course is La Domangere (20 minutes), and there are others at Coex, Port Bourgenay, St Jean de Monts and Les Sables d'Olonne.
See details of Vendee golf courses
Buy golf passes on-line
Les Machines de L'Ile
The island of Yeu
La Rochelle is one of the places that you must visit on the Atlantic coast. The fascinating old town has some buildings dating back to the 15th century and is a marvelous place to stroll around - cafe terraces, great restaurants, tempting boutiques. There is also the famous port, the huge aquarium and several museums. La Rochelle is just 45 minutes from Les Tamaris. See more details.
Nantes and the Loire valley
The historic town of Nantes is just an hour away. An historic town with plenty to see. A must-visit - Les Machines de l'Ile. The chateaux and vineyards of the Loire Valley are easily accessible for day trips (Angers 1½ hours). See Loire Valley photos.
As well as the well-known Futuroscope theme park, the town offers a delightful historic centre and is an ideal shopping venue. More details on Futuroscope.
Island of Re:
Reached by bridge from La Rochelle, or by boat from some of the coastal resorts. Charming port of St Martin-sur-Re, beaches, lighthouse to visit, excellent cycling in the salt-marshes.
Island of Yeu:
1 hour by boat from St Gilles Croix de Vie or Fromentine. Really beautiful. You can go right round by bicycle in a day (hire available), passing sandy beaches, wild moor land and rocky coves.
Linked to the mainland by bridge and by the famous causeway (Le Gois), exposed at low tide.