The Vendée is one of the most popular holiday destinations in France, visitors are drawn here for its remarkable sunshine record and magnificent beaches. Located in western France on the Atlantic coast, the Vendée is just south of Nantes and north of La Rochelle, both excellent cities that are ideal for a day trip. Alongside the stretches of sandy beach and long sunny days, the region offers lively resorts, fishing ports, delicious food and excellent water sports. There is also beautiful countryside to be found inland, including scenic marshes, plains and wooded hills. Here are a few of our essential tips for the perfect adventure through the Vendée.
Relax on the sandy beaches…
Spend a relaxing day by the beach as there’s plenty to choose from, from St Gilles Croix de Vie to les Sables D’Olonne. With the majority of beaches in the region achieving the blue flag for cleanliness and typically sandy, they are ideal for families. In the seaside resort of St Jean de Monts you’ll find huge stretches of fine sand. Parking can be quite difficult around these beaches but that won’t be a worry if you are staying at Camping Amiaux located just a stone’s throw from the beach.
There are around 8 miles of beautiful beaches at La Tranche sur Mer, just 700m from Camping du Jard. Set up at the beaches closest to the town if you’re traveling with young children as this is where they are gently sloping with protected waters. There are plenty of amenities nearby including shops, restaurants and cafés so you can easily spend an entire day by the seaside. With all these great beaches there is of course plenty of water sports available from sea kayaking to sailing school and beyond.
See history come to life at Puy du Fou…
Unlike most theme parks, Puy du Fou doesn’t have massive roller coasters and seemingly endless queues, it is a completely different entertainment experience. Puy du Fou, located in les Epesses in the heart of the Vendée, aims to bring history to life with it’s slogan ‘L’Histoire n’attend que vous’ (History is waiting for you). The park is actually the second most popular theme park in France (after Disneyland Paris, of course) bringing in over 2 million visitors yearly.
The park is located on the grounds of the ruins of a 16th century castle, it has four historic villages to explore and around 15 shows (or grandes spectacles) dramatically reenacting a range of historical eras. There are also themed restaurants such as ‘La Halle Renaissance’ where you can enjoy a feast inside a Renaissance tent. Make sure you stick around until night fall for the climactic finale ‘Cinéscénie’ where over 1200 actors and extras perform an unmissable display of dance, light, water and music against the backdrop of the old Château du Puy du Fou. This is a truly unique experience and the kind of theme park you won’t find elsewhere – we highly recommend checking it out.
La Garangeoire is the closest campsite to the theme park, although all of our Vendée sites are within an hour to two hour drive of the park. If you somehow still need convincing, check out their website which features tons of videos that will get you booking your tickets asap!
See the Vendée from new heights…
One of the most unique ways to see the beautiful sights of the Vendée region is from the skies in a hot air balloon. Float across the stunning countryside for unbeatable views. Hot air balloon rides take off from Puy du Fou or Poupet in the valley near the Sèvre Nantaise. You can either choose to watch the sun rise or set depending on your departure time. There is also the option of beginning your flight from Fontenay Le Comte aerodrome in the south Vendée, these only depart at sunrise but float across the Marais Poitevin a unique region of marshland and canal system dubbed the ‘Green Venice’.
Day trips to the Zoo…
The Vendée is home to some great zoos, perfect for a day out with the kids. The Natur’Zoo de Mervent is just over an hour’s drive from Camping Atlantique. It features the usual lions, tigers and bears (oh my) alongside some unusual animals like white nosed coatis, african wild dogs, lemurs and a variety of exotic monkeys. There is also a mini farm with goats, donkeys and alpacas. Close to les Sables D’Olonne (a beautiful seaside town that’s definitely worth a day trip) is an Eco-zoo offering guests a chance to get up close and personal with hundreds of species of animals, including tropical birds and reptiles, in an environment that is as realistic to their natural habitat as possible. The Zoo des Sables D’Olonne is just a 20 minute drive away from Camping Bois Soleil.
Closest airports: Nantes and La Rochelle
Closest ferry ports: St Malo and Roscoff