The Vendée is one of the most popular destinations for camping holidays in France. Every year, visitors from all over the world are drawn here for the remarkable sunshine record and magnificent beaches.
The many miles of safe sandy beach and long sunny days, combined with lively resorts, fishing ports, delicious food and excellent water sports give the Vendée its universal appeal. However, what many visitors don’t expect is the beautiful countryside found inland. The scenic marshes, plains and wooded hills are steeped in legend and history.
For some, a holiday is all about relaxing and taking it easy, while for others activities are a must – the Vendée has all bases covered! The beach and water sports are the main draw, however walking and cycling are well catered for too. Canvas Holidays offers a choice of seven campsites in the Vendée, all perfectly located to discover the region and neighbouring areas.
The Vendée coast
140km of the Vendée coastline is made up of fine sandy beaches backed by pine-covered sand dunes. Beyond the dunes, there are three areas of marais (marsh) – Marais Breton in the north, Marais d’Olonne in the centre and Marais Poitevin in the south. The latter, known as the ‘Green Venice’ is especially attractive and can be explored by hiring a flat-bottomed boat or a canoe.
Scattered along the coast are relaxing holiday resorts. Many of the beaches at these resorts have been awarded a blue flag for cleanliness, and offer everything from surfing to a bucket and spade paradise. It’s easy to see why the Vendée is the perfect destination for families or couples in search of a beach break. The coast is also a thriving fishing area, and is packed with picturesque fishing ports full of life. You’ll see many shellfish farms harvesting mussels and oysters, and local fish markets offering the days catch fresh from the boats.
The beaches of St Jean-de-Monts
The popular seaside resort of St Jean-de-Monts in the north of the region is bordered by 8km of beautiful, safe sandy beach, lined by a long promenade. Here you’ll find a huge choice of bars, cafés and shops. Enjoy locally caught seafood at one of the many restaurants, or a drink overlooking the sea. You’ll find a variety of sporting activities from sand-yachting and golf to horse riding, tennis and archery. There is also plenty going on for young children, including swings and slides on the beach.
Canvas Holidays offer three campsites close to St Jean-de-Monts, all within walking distance of the beach. Camping la Yole is a relaxed campsite set amidst the forest, and is ideal for couples and families of all ages. The pool complex offers a large swimming pool, children’s pool, waterslide, heated indoor pool and jacuzzi.
Camping Acapulco is a five-star campsite with superb on-site facilities and activities including Canvas Holidays’ free FamilyExtra programme. The pool complex has five waterslides with their own splash pool as well as a children’s pool. Children will love playing at the well-equipped play area or in the large games room with pool table.
Camping le Clarys Plage is another lively five-star site close to St Jean-de-Monts. The facilities here are modern with a superb pool complex.
The glorious beaches of the Vendée may have contributed to attracting tourists, but today the countryside, history and culture bring in visitors who appreciate the calm of the area, finding lovely quiet spots even in the busy summer months.
The Bas-Bocage and La Roche-sur-Yon
The Bas-Bocage is the largest region in the Vendée. It’s a land of delicate rolling hills, interspersed with small fields and woodland. It surrounds La Roche-sur-Yon and continues towards the coast dotted with small farmhouses and cottages. Wandering around the picturesque countryside, there are interesting historic monuments to discover. The rivers of the Vendée shape the landscape. One of the largest is River Lay which provides ideal conditions for the production of wine around Mareuil-sur-Lay and Rosnay.
La Roche-sur-Yon was made capital of the region by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804. The town is a thriving commercial centre, with a huge statue of Napoleon in the centre. It is also home to the Haras National (National Stud Farm), and offers a good swimming pool and ice rink. Keen golfers will also appreciate the three golf courses located just a short drive from the town.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the coast, in the village of St Julien-des-Landes, Canvas Holidays offers two campsites both set in château grounds. Yelloh! Village la Forêt is a small campsite amidst rolling meadowland with plenty of space to relax, and Camping la Garangeoire is an intimate five-star rated ‘Castels and Camping’ site, awarded a prestigious ‘four red tents’ rating by Michelin with plenty to occupy both families and couples.
Les Sables d’Olonne to Jard-sur-Mer
The Vendée offers many charming and picturesque towns and villages to explore. One of the liveliest of these is Les Sables d’Olonne. The resort offers a large gently-shelving beach, busy fishing port lined with good restaurants and narrow streets filled with interesting shops. The striking glass building on the seafront houses the tourist office as well as a theatre, disco, restaurant and casino. In the evenings during summer the promenade comes alive with street performers entertaining passers-by.
Just outside the town centre is Zoo des Sables, with big cats, elephants, monkeys, sea-lions, reptiles and tropical birds. This is a fantastic day out for families – the keepers encourage visitors to join in and enjoy activities such as feeding the animals.
An hour’s drive from Les Sables d’Olonne is Puy du Fou – another exciting family day out. This highly-rated historical theme park features breathtaking re-enactments and shows. On summer evenings the park presents the ‘Cinéscénie’ spectacle, which claims to be the largest night display in the world.
Twenty kilometres south-east of Les Sables d’Olonne is the charming seaside village of Jard-sur-Mer, with a modern marina, sandy beaches and plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants. On the edge of town is the 11th Century church of St. Radegunde. Look out for the central pillar in the Renaissance-style chapel, famous for its palm leaf decoration. Set in unspoilt countryside on the edge of this seaside resort is Camping l’Oceano d’Or – a well-kept campsite with large swimming pool complex and plenty of sporting activities to suit all ages.
Each year the Vendée coast attracts many visitors just for the miles of wide sandy beaches, but also for the typical French fishing ports, the lively resort towns and the well preserved natural sites. Find out more and book your Vendée camping holiday today.