The Vendée has many points of interest. If one were to be singled out for special mention, it would have to be its magnificent coastline of fine sand beaches facing the Atlantic Ocean.
But let’s not forget other advantages this département has to offer, such as ease of access, a wide choice of high-quality accommodation and facilities for recreational pursuits, and water sports of all kinds.
This is a family destination, steeped in history, where you can cycle through amazing natural landscapes, and enjoy countless leisure and sporting activities. And thanks to a micro-climate which boasts almost as much sunshine as the South of France, the Vendée is a place you can visit all year round.
So why not make the Vendée your next great holiday destination?
What kind of landscapes can I explore?
There is more than just one Vendée for you to enjoy.
In the “blue” Vendée, sea and sky come together. Relax in the sun and dream your days away on our unspoiled coastline, where enchanting islands and fine sand beaches stretch far into the azure distance. Or step out and discover an unexpected variety of fascinating landscapes, from sand dunes and rocky headlands, to forests and salt marshes.
Between land and sea lie the marshes, a symbol of man’s constant struggle against nature, which provide an important wetland habitat for thousands of birds.
In the “green” Vendée, history, nature and culture take centre stage. To the north, the wooded Bocage gives way to an undulating terrain of hills and valleys, while to the south, a visit to the Marais Poitevin reveals the secrets of “Green Venice”, a vast network of navigable waterways hundreds of kilometres in length, which criss-cross the land between ancient abbeys and forests: Maillezais Abbey, Nieul sur l'Autize Abbey...
With over 700 châteaux, logis, castles, abbeys and medieval fortresses to visit, not to mention countless parks and gardens, you’ll never run out of interesting places to explore.
What types of accommodation are available?
There is a wide and varied range of high-quality accommodations available in the Vendée, each designed to provide a welcome and well-appointed “home away from home” for you and your family.
With so many hotels, residences, holiday villages, camp sites, rental properties and B&Bs to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect holiday base from which to explore the region.
Where can I find the best beaches?
With 250 km (~155 miles) of protected coastline (80% of which is undeveloped), and 140 km (~87 miles) of beaches, the Vendée will delight sun worshippers and wilderness lovers alike. Boasting ultra-clean bathing waters, and safe, gently sloping beaches of fine sand, it represents the perfect holiday destination for the whole family.
When you are spoiled with choices, deciding where to go is not so easy. Some beaches stand out, such as those on the IIe de Noirmoutier, the Plage du Veillon at Talmont Saint Hilaire, and the southern beaches, where maritime pines provide welcome shade from the sun.
But don’t forget to dip your toes in the water off some of our more traditional bathing beaches, such as the Grande Plage at Les Sables d’Olonne, reputed to be one of the finest beaches in Europe, and the 8 km (~5 miles) stretch of beach at Saint Jean de Monts.
What offshore water sports are available?
Blessed with a plentiful supply of sunshine and sea breezes, the Vendée coast is the perfect place to enjoy water sports of all kinds. Depending on the wind conditions, why not have a go at dinghy or catamaran sailing, surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing, wave skiing, sand yachting or speed sailing?
You can try out all these and more, either on your own, or in the company of professionals. For beginners, several schools are on hand to provide instruction in the basic techniques, while for the more experienced, there is a wide choice of equipment available for rent.
Alternatively, head out to sea on board a tall ship, or explore the world beneath the waves on a diving club adventure.
What activities can I enjoy away from the coast?
With vast areas of unspoiled and protected wilderness to discover, the Vendée is a great place to explore on foot, on horseback, or by canoe/kayak.
Thanks to the variety of landscapes this département has to offer, a whole new panorama awaits you every time you set out. In all, the Vendée boasts some 4,000 km (~2,485 miles) of long distance footpaths suitable for experienced walkers and families alike, 165 km (~103 miles) of designated woodland bridle-paths, and hundreds of kilometres of navigable waterways. The Vendée also boasts an extensive network of first class cycle routes, currently totaling over 900 km (~560 miles) in length.
Golf enthusiasts are particularly well catered to in the Vendée, where no less than five, attractively landscaped 18 hole courses are open to the public. Swing into action at the Olonnes course (3 km from Les Sables d’Olonne), at Saint Jean de Monts, Port Bourgenay (Talmont Saint Hilaire), Les Fontenelles (near Saint Gilles Croix de Vie), or la Domangère (not far from La Roche sur Yon).
The PUY DU FOU®: more than just a theme park, a unique experience in the world!
Let lavish shows, authentic villages and distinctive hotels transport you through the centuries on a journey you will never forget at the Grand Parc du Puy du Fou.
And as darkness falls, marvel at the legendary and unforgettable Cinéscénie® du Puy du Fou, the greatest night-time spectacle in the world.
Don't miss the Vendée Globe Departure
In November 2012 from Les Sables d'Olonne, you really should not miss the Vendée Globe, which takes place every 4 years. This round-the-world race is for lone yachtsmen and women, who must sail the course unaided and without stopping.
Visit Vendée, your next great holiday destination !
How do I get to the Vendée?
- By rail: From London to Lille, then to La Roche sur Yon station.
- By air: To Nantes-Atlantique Airport, 83 km (~51 miles) from the Vendée.
- By road via ferry or tunnel: To Saint Malo from Porstmouth (with Brittany Ferries). To Calais from Folkestone (Eurotunnel).
45 boulevard des Etats-Unis
85006 La Roche sur Yon
Tel : 02 51 47 88 20 / Fax : 02 51 05 37 01