Family Holidays in the Vendee: our top reasons to visit
The Vendee is a popular holiday destination along the French Atlantic coast, just south of Brittany and Nantes, and north of La Rochelle. Its setting, within two to five hours of the various western ferry ports, makes it a relatively easy trek from Britain and Ireland.
The endless stretches of golden coastline tends to be the main draw of the Vendée. Familes searching for sand-castle fun and a gently sloping beach are in their element, with the sea being kept scrupulously clean and many stretches are patrolled by lifeguards during the summer. Some parts of the southern Vendee coastline also offer some surf opportunity – dig out the body-boards and big-time surf boards for a bit of wave action.
2. The much-talked about micro-climate
The South of the Vendée brags the much talked about ‘micro-climate’ giving the region a level of summer sunshine bettered in France only by the Côte d’Azur. The region enjoys around 2,600 hours of sunshine per year, (compare that to a typical 1,490 hours of sun for London!). Its coastal location gives the area a mainly maritime climate, wonderful weather with warm breezes to cool off hot summer days.
3. The Main attraction – Puy du Fou
Travel back in time courtesy of this unique historical theme park that offers a great day out for all the family. Featuring falconry shows, medieval battles, Roman chariot-racing and more, plus demonstrations of rural crafts and reconstructions of villages of different historical periods, this will keep the youngsters entertained for hours. The ‘Cinescenie’ – promoted as the greatest sound-and-light show in Europe – is ans open-air night-time show that uses sophisticated special effects to tell the history of the Vendée.
4. The natural way
The Vendee offers a surprising variety of wildlife to explore. The marshy region north of La Rochelle at Marais Poitevin is a peaceful and unique marshland region, teeming with bird life. You can easily while away a day here on the tranquil waterways known as the Venise Verte or “Green Venice”. Take a boat out to explore the quiet island of Ile d’Yeu and its old chateau. The Massif Forestier of Mervent-Vouvant, in south-east Vendee is an extensive (13,000 acres) region, largely wooded, and criss-crossed with rivers, footpaths, cycle trails etc and has a lake where water-based activities can be enjoyed. and a journey across the incredible causeway that links the island of Noirmoutier (north-west of the Vendée) to the mainland at low tide.
5. Cycling madness
Cyclists will love this region with over 1000km s of family-friendly s cycle tracks and paths which are well marked and maintained. You can explore various routes both along the picturesque coast and inland, and varying in length from about 20-65 kilometres – ask for the brochure ‘Les sentiers cyclable’ in any Vendee tourist office. There are plenty of bike hire shops in each resort – offering a variety of bikes, trailers, tandems, even 4 or 60-seater buggies!
6. Adventure & Fun Parks
If you decide on a day off from the lazy beaches, then you’ll find full-on frenetic adventure at a variety of adventure or water parks across the region. Adventure parks include Mervent Adventure, the Indian Forest and Parc de Pierre Brune include activities including trampolines, bumper boats, tree-top adventure courses, maxi-bungee etc etc. The Vendee seem to know how to do waterparks with some real state of the art locations giving hours of fun. Some of the best include Atlantic Toboggan in St.Hilaire-de-Riez, Park des Dunes at Brem-sur-Mer and Oceanil at Noirmoutier-en-l’ile..
Also worth a visit
Although it’s not in the Vendee, Futuroscope is one of France’s most popular theme parks, and is top our list of favourite attractions! The park is perhaps best described as a ‘science theme park’, with interactive films on giant Imax screens, 3D rides with 4D effects, live shows and much more. Futuroscope is around two hours drive from the Vendee, find out more on our dedicated Futuroscope page.
Here’s more information to make the most of your visit to the Vendée: