Why are places near the coasts pleasant

Location of Places in the Vendee Reviewed in This Article

{"lat":46.675797000000003,"lng":-1.5049589999999999,"zoom":9,"mapType":"HYBRID","markers":[{"id":72106,"lat":"46.790146","lng":"-2.081802","name":"Saint Jean de Monts","address":"Saint-Jean-de-Monts, France","description":"A great holiday resort; with beautiful beaches, hot sunny weather, and great for French shopping on the Vendee Coast in France."},{"id":72107,"lat":"46.720203","lng":"-1.945917","name":"Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez","address":"Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez, France","description":"Not far from Saint Jean de Monts, another great holiday destination we frequently visit when holidaying in the Vendee on the west coast of France."},{"id":72108,"lat":"46.844830","lng":"-1.880412","name":"Challans","address":"Challans, France","description":"Second largest town in the Vendee do annual events when they step back in time; the whole town becomes as if in the past; an experience beyond words."},{"id":72109,"lat":"46.889603","lng":"-0.928116","name":"Le Grand Parc du Puy du Fou","address":"Puy du Fou, 85590 Les Epesses","description":"Great Theme Park for the whole family in the Vendee; with all the side shows and featured events allow two days, even then it\u2019s a packed two days."},{"id":72110,"lat":"46.461143","lng":"-1.329405","name":"Parc Floral et Tropical","address":"Parc Floral de la Court d'Aron, La Cour d'Aron, 85540 Saint-Cyr-en-Talmondais, France","description":"If it\u2019s not beach weather, or you wish to do a bit of sightseeing, then spending a pleasant day at this most beautiful park is well worth the visit."}],"moduleId":"36771675"}

A

Saint Jean de Monts:

Saint-Jean-de-Monts, France

get directions

A great holiday resort; with beautiful beaches, hot sunny weather, and great for French shopping on the Vendee Coast in France.

B

Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez:

Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez, France

get directions

Not far from Saint Jean de Monts, another great holiday destination we frequently visit when holidaying in the Vendee on the west coast of France.

C

Challans:

Challans, France

get directions

Second largest town in the Vendee do annual events when they step back in time; the whole town becomes as if in the past; an experience beyond words.

D

Le Grand Parc du Puy du Fou:

Puy du Fou, 85590 Les Epesses

get directions

Great Theme Park for the whole family in the Vendee; with all the side shows and featured events allow two days, even then it’s a packed two days.

E

Parc Floral et Tropical:

Parc Floral de la Court d'Aron, La Cour d'Aron, 85540 Saint-Cyr-en-Talmondais, France

get directions

If it’s not beach weather, or you wish to do a bit of sightseeing, then spending a pleasant day at this most beautiful park is well worth the visit.

Location of Places in Southern France Reviewed in This Article

{"lat":45.046135,"lng":-1.116106,"zoom":7,"mapType":"HYBRID","markers":[{"id":70916,"lat":"44.394661","lng":"-1.164218","name":"Biscarrosse, France","address":"Biscarrosse, France","description":"Biscarrosse; typical of beaches in southern France, a great relaxing holiday destination for sunny soft sandy beaches with warm seas, hot sunny skies."},{"id":72112,"lat":"45.690273","lng":"-1.179729","name":"La Palmyre","address":"La Palmyre, 17570 Les Mathes, France","description":"If travelling further south on the French coast than the Vendee La Pamyre with its beaches, town and fantastic zoo is a great holiday destination."},{"id":72113,"lat":"44.640209","lng":"-1.018812","name":"Parc Ornithologique du Teich","address":"Parc Ornithologique du Teich, Port Street, 33470 Le Teich, France","description":"If you love nature reserves and wildlife bird parks, and holidaying in southern France near Bordeaux then plan a day trip to this spectacular park."},{"id":72114,"lat":"44.590889","lng":"-1.213399","name":"La Dune du Pyla","address":"La dune du Pyla, 33260 La Teste-de-Buch, France","description":"From a top the largest dune in Europe is a fantastic spot to watch and film one of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring sunsets I\u2019ve ever seen."}],"moduleId":"36772517"}

A

Biscarrosse, France:

Biscarrosse, France

get directions

Biscarrosse; typical of beaches in southern France, a great relaxing holiday destination for sunny soft sandy beaches with warm seas, hot sunny skies.

B

La Palmyre:

La Palmyre, 17570 Les Mathes, France

get directions

If travelling further south on the French coast than the Vendee La Pamyre with its beaches, town and fantastic zoo is a great holiday destination.

C

Parc Ornithologique du Teich:

Parc Ornithologique du Teich, Port Street, 33470 Le Teich, France

get directions

If you love nature reserves and wildlife bird parks, and holidaying in southern France near Bordeaux then plan a day trip to this spectacular park.

D

La Dune du Pyla:

La dune du Pyla, 33260 La Teste-de-Buch, France

get directions

From a top the largest dune in Europe is a fantastic spot to watch and film one of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring sunsets I’ve ever seen.

The Vendee Coast

After a few summers exploring Northern France, which we often found to be overcast and windy and almost as wet as Britain, we started venturing south; a little further south year by year first starting with Quiberon, a southern tip of Brittany stuck right out into 'The Savage Coast', very aptly named as the western side of this peninsular is fully exposed to the Atlantic Ocean and the whole time we were there the sea was 'savage'. In contrast the eastern side of the peninsular being protected from the westerly winds and savage seas, looking inland towards mainland France was much calmer and warmer; but nevertheless was still a little too cool for our liking and just a wee bit too overcast too often.

So the following year we travelled just a little further south, past Nantes and onto the Vendee Coast, about halfway down France. Jackpot; still northern France but just far enough south to pick up the start of the Mediterranean type weather; hot glorious sun and blue sky's almost guaranteed with temperatures in the low 30's (30C or 86F) sometimes reaching 35C (95F).

As it's such a wonderful place we returned to the Vendee Coast for many years, lapping up the gorgeous long sandy beaches with warm seas and exploring the area; visiting chateaus (castles) local attractions, displays, shows and the local markets in the towns and villages such as Saint-Jean-de-Mont and Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez. Every year we made a point of visiting the various evening open-air shows and displays (usually held from 8pm until midnight) after the heat of the day; entertainment such as 'fireworks to music' and the Parade of the boats' in Saint Gilles Croix de Vie; and most commonly, medieval festivals.

The only down-side if you're from England and use to shops being open all day, every day, is that (apart from tourist's shops) shops are closed on Sundays and during the week in the afternoons from midday until 4pm e.g. their siesta; but a small price to pay for such a glorious holiday spot.

Puy du Fou (a Theme Park that outshines all other Theme Parks) is without doubt the highlight of any holiday to the Vendee. We stumbled across it by accident on our first visit to the region, we seen it advertised in a local 'Tourist Information' shop one lunch time just as they were closing so had to wait until 4pm (when they re-opened) to buy the tickets; which at that time was just 20 each for a full days entertainment; good value for money.

We'd been to Disneyland Paris years previously but in comparison Puy du Fou was far more entertaining, so much so that a few years later we made a special point of returning the Vendee specifically so that we could spend a full two days at the Theme Park. If you want to also see the evening show at Puy du Fou you need to book on their website at the beginning of the year because these tickets sell quickly.

Brouage Fortress and Village (Founded 1555)

Medieval Fortress Village in the Salt Marshes South of Rochefort, France

Having made a quick visit to Rochefort in the morning we decided to explore further afield and on consulting our road atlas noted a number of ‘points of interest’ marked along the D3 just south of Rochefort; so with the Sat Nav programed we set out for what was to become a most exciting afternoon.

Rather than taking us down south on the main roads to Marennes and then bringing us back up on the D3, about 15 miles, our Sat Nav (TomTom) took us by the quickest route (across the salt marshes) which was hair raising in that the road (a single track lane) was not really suitable for vehicles, and quite perilous; but we made it to the first village on the D3 (which was not that inspiring). However, from here, once on the D3 which is mostly a single track road we decided to head north to see what all these ‘points of interest’ symbols in the road atlas really were. Just a few miles further and we came across Brouage, a most wonderful village in the middle of nowhere (in the middle of one of the largest salt marshes in Europe). In spite of being so isolated Brouage is a thriving fortified village, dating back to 1555, built inside a fortress. Our visit happened to coincide with their medieval festival celebrating Napoleon’s occupation of the fortified village and using it as a military garrison.

The village itself is idyllic with thriving tourist shops and restaurants, but for the life of us it’s hard to imagine how such an isolated village can be thriving (as the photos below show); it’s a reminder to us that life in Southern France is often at a much more leisurely pace than we’re used to in Britain. Nevertheless, the medieval festival was worthy a visit, making for a very enjoyable afternoon. Made all the more enjoyable with their much more relaxed attitude to Health and Safety, enabling us to get much closer to the action than would otherwise be allowed in Britain; a relaxed attitude to Health and Safety that we’ve so often seen in southern France when visiting zoos and other public events; a refreshing contrast to Britain where barriers are set up keeping you at a considerable distance from the action. At this event there were no barriers which gave the public (including us) a real opportunity to get really close to the action; and with the right camera get good action shots.

Two of the main events we watched at this medieval festival were the firing of the canon and the falconry. The canon was fired several times and the only safely precaution was that the crowed was asked not to stand in the direct line of fire of the burning paper ball as it shot out of the canon and travelled a good 100 yards. In contrast to Britain (where the birds of prey are often flown high so at best you only see a dot in the sky, and the public are often kept behind barriers far away from the action) this falconry show was spectacular in that the public were politely asked to line up on either side creating a narrow corridor along which the falcons could fly low and close to you; as shown in the photos below.