First stop must be the highly informative website of the Conseil Général (the county council) of the
Vendée, which is strong on business and other information.
The site of the Vendée tourist board has plenty of
detail - this link should take you straight to the English version - about
what to see when you are in the area.
There’s a wealth of tourism information for holidaymakers on the Holidays in Vendée website, a
good place to look for B&Bs and self-catering holiday accommodation.
If you’d like a day out at a brocante
fair or a car-boot sale (vide-greniers),
here are two sites to help you know what’s on where. Brocabrac, and VideGreniers
AngloInfo is a useful series of sites covering different regions of France.
The site for Pays de la Loire (and
hence the Vendée) has invaluable information on exchange rates, books, maps,
weather, games, the latest films showing in English-language versions, a
what’s on guide for the region, classified ads and links to professionals
such as architects and surveyors.
French Entrée is another France-wide
site with a comprehensive guide to living in the Pays de la Loire
region, as well as hints on property-buying in the area. Editors David and
Gwen carry interviews and information on many aspects of Vendée living,
provide lists of emergency numbers, adverts for builders, a forum, and a useful
map that shows flights
to France from different airports in the UK.
Complete France has an
on which all sorts of subjects relating to the country are debated.
Weather reports for the next five
days can be found on the
B-&-Bs AND RESTAURANTS
Information on all these can be found on other pages of this site.
Suggestions for hotels,
B&Bs and holiday cottages appear on the Practical Information page; Restaurants have their own
page. Any additional recommendations always welcome...
Aizenay - what to visit in and around this busy little town.
Angles - check out this
attractive village, whose Romanesque church has a stone bear on the roof!
– This picturesque village is a
particular hit with British visitors for its ruined Renaissance castle and
its lakeside beach.
Aubigny - everything there is to know about this small town, with a Romanesque
- devoted to art, this pretty village south
of Aizenay has plenty of creative activity, including an attractive courtyard
called the Cour des Arts where you will find an artist Regis Delene Bartholdi,
a bookbinder and Antiqvaria - the
village's antiquarian bookseller.
Bouin, St-Gervais and St-Urbain - brief information
and some pictures of these villages near the mainland side of the Noirmoutier
Bourgneuf-en-Retz (on the coast, just beyond the northern limit of the Vendée) - the
brilliant local museum and the whole Pays de Retz area.
Les Brouzils – Near this village of the north Vendée is the atmospheric Refuge de Grasla, a reconstruction
of a hideout used by villagers during the 18th-century Vendée Wars.
Chaize-le-Vicomte - the highlights of a small town, east of La
Challans - the official site for this attractive market town has interesting
historic information and pictures if you go to "identité" and then
"histoire". And here is a site that gives a taste of the brilliant
old-tyme market, Autrefois
Challans..., that takes place twice in July and twice in August each
Chantonnay - a town on the edge of the plain; here is a page on
tourism in English. Roland Oziel and his companions have been out walking
with their digital camera around the Rochereau lake, just to the east of Chantonnay.
Cheffois – a delightful
village of the haut-bocage, with an ancient church.
Cholet - Large town on the north-east edge of the Vendée - actually in
Maine-et-Loire. The tourist board's comprehensive site takes in the town's
history (Cholet is famous for handkerchiefs!), and museums (excellent one on
the Vendée Wars).
Epesses - what to visit in this attractive hillside town
near the Puy-du-Fou.
Essarts - information on this little town that lies near an
important crossroads in the Vendée's autoroute system.
Faute-sur-Mer – The sound of seagulls and the breaking of
the waves on this site puts you in holiday mood.
Herbiers, and the surrounding area, in the
Jard-sur-Mer - a
site on this attractive seaside resort. And here's a site for the pretty
village of St-Vincent-sur-Jard where you can visit the retirement cottage that once belonged to
Longeville-sur-Mer – Here’s a page on the seaside resort of Longeville.
- Information on this pleasant cathedral town in the south-Vendée
Maché - Jean-Claude Robert gives a run-down of the history, businesses
(including quail-rearing!), and picturesque corners of this little commune in the lower bocage.
Machecoul - the site of this attractive Loire-Atlantique town, north of
Challans. Here’s a link to the various “heritage”
sites in and around the town, and here’s a link direct to the tourist
office page. [September
2012: These pages look a bit odd
at the moment, but you can still follow links from them.]
Mervent – some brief
details on this village hidden deep in the forest of Mervent, north of
Fontenay-le-Comte, plus a site for the Pierre-Brune
activity park (day-long activities for children).
Montaigu - everything you want to know about this busy market town of the
northern Vendée. And here's a link to a site about the nearby Maison de la Rivière,
a waterside visitor centre that tells you about river life.
Mortagne-sur-Sevre - a fact-filled site about this attractive little town on the
north-east border of the Vendée.
La Mothe-Achard - a small market town,
now bypassed by the La Roche-to-Les Sables highway, but worth a visit for its
imposing market-hall (Friday market), and in summer for the pumpkins and
other marrow-related plants grown at Le Potager
Mouchamps Picturesque little hilltop town, that has many connections
with French WWI politician Georges Clemenceau. Here is a page
with details of the various places to visit in the neighbourhood; don’t
miss the extraordinary monument to local aviator René Guilbaud.
Mouilleron-en-Pareds. – A charming village that was the birthplace of two celebrated
Frenchmen: politician Georges Clemenceau; and military leader Jean de Lattre
de Tassigny. Here is a rather sketchy page on the heritage
sites around the village – which are much more appealing than they
Les Moutiers-en-Retz - Loire-Atlantique
again; lots of pictures and information about an attractive seaside village
in the Pays de Retz.
Moutiers-les-Mauxfaits – the website for this ancient village, clustered around a
picturesque 18th-century market-hall.
Nesmy – the website for a village that is known for its pottery, its
golf course, and some lovely waterside walks.
Niort - the capital of the neighbouring county of Deux-Sèvres (79) is famous
for angelica, and has a lovely market hall as well as a sensational legend
about a dragon. You’ll find tourist information under the drop-down menu
“decouvrir Niort” near the top left of the page.
– English-language version of a
slightly disappointing website on this island that is known for its
sea-salt-making, fishing, growing of early potatoes and – especially
– for the 4km-long causeway (known as the passage du Gois) linking it to the mainland at low tide. (There
is also a bridge, for the less intrepid.) The Foulées du Gois website gives
information about an annual running race in June in which athletes set out on
the causeway route with the incoming tide lapping their ankles.
Notre-Dame-de-Monts - plenty of information about entertainment and tourist sites in this
popular seaside resort.
Olonne-sur-Mer – charming village just inland from Les Sables d’Olonne.
- a fascinating site about the underground passages of a strange village,
where witches are supposed to have passed though on their way to their
Bourgenay – information on activities around Port-Bourgenay
and neighbouring Talmont-St-Hilaire. The resort has a seaside golf course.
Pouzauges - an excellent site by the local council, that is both informative and
easy to use.
Réaumur is a small village boasting an association with the 18th-century
scientist René-Antoine Ferchaud de Réaumur, famous for inventing the
thermometer. This link
takes you to a site offering a ramble round the area with Roland and his
Roche-sur-Yon - everything that's going on in the Vendée's county
town. Here is a link to the official
site for La Roche, and to a French site about the county's archives,which
are held in La Roche.
Sables-d'Olonne - no shortage of information on this attractive
seaside town, and its interesting museum. The local tourist office has its
St-Denis-la-Chevasse - spruce village, memorable for its delightful museum of kitchen utensils.
St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie A good selection of
things to see and do in and around this attractive seaside resort. Click here
for webcam views
across the harbour mouth. The local speciality - the sardine - has
its special website.
St-Hilaire-de-Riez – tourism information on the seaside village, plus an unofficial site on the
St-Jean-de-Monts - An excellent web site telling you (in French only
at present) plenty about this popular seaside resort, and with a webcam so
you can check how many people are on the beach today! Visitors to the nearby
open-air farming museum might like to check out its attractions on the Ecomusée du Daviaud site.
St-Laurent-sur-Sèvre - Roland Oziel takes
us on a tour of
this attractive town, full of religious institutions.
St-Martin-des-Noyers - the essential information on this village.
St-Michel-Mont-Mercure – Village in the hilly "bocage" region on the eastern
side of the département, which is
the highest point of the Vendée. Here is another of Roland Oziel's "balades"
around the area.
St-Nazaire - Across the Loire and out of the Vendée, but this shipbuilding town
is full of World War II history.
St-Pierre-du-Chemin - images and comments about the village's February St-Valentine
St-Vincent-Puy-Maufrais - yet another of Roland's rambles, with plenty of photographic
Sallertaine – information on
this pretty village in the heart of the marshes, which is full of craft shops
during the summer months.
Soullans - a page on the history of this village south of Challans, home of the
painter Charles Milcendeau.
Talmont-St-Hilaire – tourist site for this former seaport, dominated by its historic
ruined castle, built by Richard Coeur-de-Lion. Another excellent site
gives plenty of detail about Talmont's motor museum;
and a Port Bourgenay site gives yet more Talmont
Tiffauges – here’s a site about
where you can see entertaining demonstrations of medieval siege machinery.
Tranche-sur-Mer - seaside resort eternally popular with surfers and
island - lots of information about the attractive, unspoilt
island, known as the Ile d'Yeu. And if you need to park your car for a day,
or longer, in Fromentine on the mainland, while you visit the island, then
you'll need to check out the site for Blanchard car parking.
Public – The site of the French Civil Service gives links to the
English pages of websites relating to various French official institutions
such as parliament, the law, the armed forces etc.
Tourist Board - the regional tourist office (known in French as
Pays-de-la-Loire) that includes the Vendée and neighbouring counties of
Loire-Atlantique, Mayenne, Maine-et-Loire and Sarthe. Mail them on email@example.com and ask for
the free "Western Loire Holiday Magazine".
Pays-de-la-Loire facilities - important tip: Select Pays-de-la-Loire rather than typing in
"85" or "Vendée". And here is an excellent site
for finding accommodation in the region; click on the Union Jack for the
English version, and click on "Vendée" to fine down your search.
Distinct France -
good links to a variety of sites dealing with French travel, and the
different areas of western France.
Enhance France is a lively site
created by Alan Biggins - author of the popular books A Normandy Tapestry and Selling
French Dreams. The website has many useful links to tell drivers about
the rules of the road in France and to help find hotel accommodation.
Budget hotels throughout France, useful if you want a cheap overnight
stop on the way through France, are dealt with on a couple of sites: villages-hotel.com and hotel-bb.com
Conseil Général de la Vendée - the
county council's excellent official site.
Vendée Tourist Board - strong
on French-style romantic descriptions of where to go and what to do, rather
than on hard facts, but some interesting information nonetheless.
Vendée tourist offices
- a complete list
South Vendée - a
what's-on guide, and other information
Préfecture - local government offices, in La Roche-sur-Yon.
Vendée picnic spots - here is
a list of all those little wooden tables and benches for your delight...
and junk shops - a list of those throughout the Vendée.
Weather reports / forecasts
– the French Met Office.
Health for expats -
a clearly-written guide, in English, to the French healthcare system.
telephone directory - "pages blanches" and "pages
jaunes" (white and yellow pages).
Travel insurance - Europ
assistance needs no introduction.
A lively forum, called
"la Mairie" - indispensable for exchanging practical
information. Divided into categories like "renovating property",
"education", "travelling to France", and various regional
groups, it is reached via the website of "Living France" magazine.
If you have any questions about life in France, you are bound to find an
expert here who can advise you!
Michael Julien's links - a
comprehensive list of sites connected with France, including travel,
newspapers, business and other topics.
official UK government website about taking pets abroad.
In the Vendée – a new
English-language website, with useful links and a forum for exchanging of
information on anything to do with the region.
French Entrée – a website
about buying a house and living in France. It has a good discussion forum
full of information for would-be purchasers.
Total France – a site
relating to all t hings about living in France, with classified ads, a good
forum, and some authoritative articles with vital information for ex-pats,
such as education, or registering a business.
Le Journal des Sables - local
paper for the Les Sables-d’Olonne area: click on “Articles” and then
“Actualité” for recent stories; some of the others look a bit old..
Le Courrier Vendéen Weekly newspaper based in Challans and
covering the north-west Vendée.
Journal du Pays Yonnais The weekly paper for the La
Ouest-France - regional newspaper.
Most local to the Vendée are the news issues in the pages on La Roche-sur-Yon.
Revue 303 - glossy quarterly French
arts magazine produced by the Pays-de-la-Loire (Western Loire) regional
tourist board. The slightly bizarre title is the sum of the numbers
representing the different counties: 85 for Vendée, 44 for Loire-Atlantique,
49 for Maine-et-Loire, 53 for Mayenne, 72 for Sarthe! (Not a lot of people
BRITISH PUBLICATIONS ON FRANCE
– a relaunch of the former Camping
in France magazine, this monthly publication contains well-researched
articles on what to visit during your holiday in France.
Property News - home page gives the exchange rate of the day between the
UK pound and the franc.
"France" magazine -
interesting pages and indispensable information from the English-language
magazine for Francophiles.
"Everything France" magazine - monthly mag with a large
section on property for sale.
"Living France" magazine
- lots of sound advice for property-owners and intending property-owners in
this monthly magazine. Also a lively forum available from the magazine's main
website (you have to register if you want to post contributions, but this is
The French Paper - a new monthly
publication that aims to bring news, comment and advice to anglophone readers
on all aspects of living in France. Available from newsagents throughout
France from early June 2009.
AND CARAVANNING LINKS
The Camping and
(travel wing of the Camping and Caravanning Club)
The Caravan Club
Camping France Direct -
Camping France Direct - a well laid-out website from a company that offers a
range of upmarket camping holidays.
The Annuaire Français du
Tourisme has links to sites all over France (type the county code 85 into
the box to find sites in the Vendée).
- an English welcome to mobile homes and villas at seaside locations near
uk.rec.caravanning - a newsgroup full
of holiday tips and shared experiences that even non-caravanners will
The website associated
with the above caravanning newsgroup.
Voilà is a French search engine. Type in
vendee, click on "rechercher" and among the pages that come up are
many of the region's campsites.
Return to my Practical
page for links to UK camping tour-operators' sites.
Eurostar (for passenger rail services
from London Waterloo to France and Belgium)
Eurotunnel (for car travel by the
tunnel from Folkestone to Calais)
Eurolines (for coach travel between
London, and Nantes/Niort/La Rochelle)
SNCF (French railways)
Air France/Brit Air - for daily
flights to Nantes
Airways/GB Airways - for daily flights to Nantes.
Air miles - for using those hard-won
“miles” to reach France.
Ryanair - for cheap flights to La
Rochelle, Poitiers, or Dinard (near St-Malo).
Carhire4less - a website
comparing rental offers from Hertz, Avis, Alamo and Europcar. Also worth
trying are http://www.leisurecars.com/
Route-planning - driving through France.
Mappy - a French site giving town plans or
excellent suggested routes through France. (There's an English version if you
click on the word "English" at the top of the introductory page.)
Bison Futé (or
"Crafty Bison") shows you which days to keep off the roads to avoid
French holiday times.