ANGELA BIRD'S

 

The
Vendée 

 

 

 

SOME USEFUL VENDÉE LINKS

 

 

 

VENDÉE INFORMATION


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.

 

 

completef

Complete France has an excellent forum on which all sorts of subjects relating to the country are debated.

 

 

 

Weather reports for the next five days can be found on the MeteoConsult site.

 

 

HOTELS, 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 pages. Any additional recommendations always welcome...

 

 

INDIVIDUAL TOWNS AND VILLAGES

If you need a little help with the language, you can copy-and-paste French text into the Bing translation software.   It may come out in slightly dislocated English, but you should be able to get the gist of the information.

 

A-E
Aizenaythe tourist office page for this busy little town.
Angles
- check out this attractive village, whose Romanesque church has a stone bear on the roof!
Apremont – 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 church.
Beaulieu-sous-la-Roche - 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.
Beauvoir, Bouin, St-Gervais and St-Urbain
- brief information and some pictures of these villages near the mainland side of the Noirmoutier causeway.
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.
La Chaize-le-Vicomte
- the highlights of a small town, east of La Roche-sur-Yon.
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 year.
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).
Les Epesses
- what to visit in this attractive hillside town near the Puy-du-Fou.
Les Essarts - information on this little town that lies near an important crossroads in the Vendée's autoroute system.


F-L
La Faute-sur-Mer
– The sound of seagulls and the breaking of the waves on this site puts you in holiday mood.
Les Herbiers, and the surrounding area, in the north-east Vendée.
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 Georges Clemenceau.
Longeville-sur-Mer
– Here’s a page on the seaside resort of Longeville.
Luçon - Information on this pleasant cathedral town in the south-Vendée


M-N
Maché
- 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.  
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 Extraordinaire. The local tourist office has laid a lot of geocaching trails in the countryside around, which will make some good walks if you are into this pastime.

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. (There are several pages of visitor sites, so click at the bottom of the page to see them all.)
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 look here!
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 – statistical and other information 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.
Noirmoutier island – 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.


O-S
Olonne-sur-Mer
– charming village just inland from Les Sables d’Olonne.
Petosse – statistical and other information about a little village near Fontenay-le-Comte, a strange place through which witches are supposed to have passed on their way to their Sabbaths.
Port 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 Oziel and his "baladins".
La Roche-sur-Yon - everything that's going on in the Vendée's county town (click on the link for “Ce mois ci” to see the longest list.). 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.  And you can also get a foretaste of the wonderful mechanical animals that entertain visitors to the town’s central square, Place Napoleon.
Les Sables-d'Olonne
- no shortage of information on this attractive seaside town, and its interesting museum. The local tourist office has its own page.
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 and of local surfing “spots”. 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 resort.
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
– Statistical and other information about this village in the eastern Vendee that holds an annual St-Valentine festival in February.
St-Vincent-Puy-Maufrais
- yet another of Roland Oziel's rambles, with plenty of photographic illustration.
Sallertaine
– information on this pretty village in the heart of the marshes, which is full of craft shops during the summer months.
Soullans
– the site for this marshland village south of Challans, home of the painter Charles Milcendeau.


T-Z
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.
Tiffauges – here’s a site about  Bluebeard's castle, where you can see demonstrations of medieval siege machinery and have fun trying some medieval activities.
La Tranche-sur-Mer
- seaside resort eternally popular with surfers and windsurfers.
Yeu island
- lots of information about the attractive, unspoilt island, known as the Ile d'Yeu. This link tells you how to get there by ferry from Fromentine, on the mainland. And if you need to park your car for a day, or longer, in Fromentine while you visit the island, then you'll need to check out the site for Blanchard car parking.

 

OTHER USEFUL LINKS
Service 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.
French Tourist Board
Western Loire 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.
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.
Budget hotels throughout France, France for Families website is useful if you want a cheap overnight stop on the way through France.

Conseil Général de la Vendée - the county council's excellent official site.
Vendée Tourist Board – the site promoting the food, accommodation and tourist attractions of the county.
Vendée tourist offices - a map showing all of the county’s tourist offices.
Vendée Préfecture - local government offices, in La Roche-sur-Yon.
Vendée postcodes
Vendée picnic spots - here is a list of all those little wooden tables and benches for your delight...
Antiques 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.
On-line telephone directory - "pages blanches" and "pages jaunes" (white and yellow pages).
The “Complete France” forum - 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.
DEFRA, the official UK government website about taking pets abroad.
and
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.

 

LOCAL PRESS
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 Roche-sur-Yon area.
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 know that...)

 

 

BRITISH PUBLICATIONS ON FRANCE
French Property News – advertisements and tips for intending purchasers.
"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 free).

All the above three magazines are part of the Archant group.


The Connexion - a long-standing monthly publication that aims to bring news, comment and advice to anglophone readers on all aspects of living in France. Available on subscription, and also from some newsagents and supermarkets throughout France.

 

 

CAMPING AND CARAVANNING LINKS
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.
Vendée-Loisirs-Vacances - an English welcome to mobile homes and villas at seaside locations near St-Jean-de-Monts.

Return to my Practical page for links to UK camping tour-operators' sites.

 

 

PROPERTY BUYING AND SELLING LINKS

Buying Property in France is a helpful resource that outlines how to find and purchase a property in France.

French-Property.com  Another information-packed site.

Currency Index has useful exchange rate and a host of information on moving, letting, inheritance etc.

French Connections

French Entrée

 

 

TRAVEL LINKS
Brittany Ferries
P&O
Condor
Irish Ferries
Eurostar (for passenger rail services from London St Pancras 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)
City Jet - for daily flights to Nantes from London City airport and from Dublin
FlyBe - for flights to Nantes from various UK airports.
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 is http://www.leisurecars.com/
Route-planning - driving through France with the help of Mappy, a French site giving town plans or excellent suggested routes through France.
Bison Futé (or "Crafty Bison"), English version of a French government website that shows you which days to keep off the roads to avoid French holiday times.

 

Do send me details of any good sites I may have missed!
Address at bottom of index page

 

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