May 2016
(entries in red indicate new additions)




This website is really just a supplement to Angela Bird’s guidebook, The Vendée (left), which gives full details
in its 176 pages of hundreds of interesting and off-beat tourist sites throughout the region.
What you see on the website consists of either extra topics not covered in the book (Calendar, Restaurants, Travel routes, Internet links etc), or updated information (new tourist attractions open – or old ones closed)
since the most recent edition of the book appeared.
For the complete picture, order The Vendée through bookshops in the UK and Ireland
, or from Amazon ; it is also on sale in good bookshops throughout the Vendée.

The listings on this site are supplied in good faith, gathered by the author from various Vendée sources.

However it is always wise to check details with organisers or tourist offices before making a special journey.





Until 1 May 2016

Festival “Kid’s Folies”  Lots of fun events for children, this year on the theme of “paintings” – from cave art to street art.



Until 18 Sept 2016

Le Port des Sables-d’Olonne  Exhibition about the history of the Vendée’s largest fishing port, from the days it was created in the late 18th century.

Until 1 May, daily 3-6; 2 May-3 July, daily 10.15-12.30 & 3-6. Tues-Fri 2-6; Sat, Sun 11-1 & 2-6.

Admission 5,00 €.



Musée de la Mer et de la Peche, Chateau St-Clair, La Chaume, nr Les Sables

Tél : 02 51 32 01 16


Until 25 Sept 2016

Le Grand Parc. New season for the hugely enjoyable “historical theme park”. High points include the storming of the “donjon médiéval”, the “Vikings”, and a fabulous falconry show. The “Renaissance at the Castle” show is enacted within the ruins of the Chateau du Puy du Fou. Among other dazzling entertainments are chariot-racing, and faithful recreations of medieval, 18th- and 19th-century villages. Apr, May open stated days only (see brochure), 10am-7pm; plus evening shows of musical fountains “Organs of Fire”

One-day pass: 37€, children 26€ (if booked in advance, 32€ & 22€); 2-day pass 55€, children 39€ (advance 48€ & 33€); 3-day pass 60€, children 44€ (advance 53€ & 38€) . Under-5s free.

Puy du Fou, Les Epesses, nr Les Herbiers
(tel : 02 51 64 11 11).



1 May


Labour Day (public holiday)




1 May


Vide-Greniers   Car-boot sales. Usually about 10am-6pm.


La Caillière ; Mareuil-sur-lay-Dissais ; Nalliers ; all Vendée. Clion-sur-Mer, near Pornic, (Loire-Atlantique)






5 May 2016



(public holiday)






5-7 May 2016

La Déferlante  Annual festival of street theatre, presenting a dozen or more shows at resorts along the coast from St-Brevin les Pins to La Tranche sur Mer.


From St-Brevin les Pins to La Tranche sur Mer.


5-7 May 2016

Vendée Va’a  Marathon boat race, with 6-man crews paddling Polynesian-style canoes on a 100km course from Les Sables to the Ile d’Yeu, to St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie, and back.


Start & finish Les Sables d’Olonne beach

5-8 May 2016

Quatre Jours en Chantonnay. Four-day walking festival, with non-competitive events for walkers of all standards, and even Friday night-time rambles.


Various venues, Chantonnay area.


6, 7 May 2015

Festival La 7e Vague  Brétignolles’ now-traditional Ascension-weekend event offers an eclectic range of music for all ages. 2016 sees a new location, 10 min from the beach.


Brétignolles-sur-Mer (booking & info Bretignolles tourist office; Tél. 02 51 90 12 78)


7  May 2016


Fête de la Bonnotte  The famous early potato of Noirmoutier has its special day. Lifted in the early morning, it will be the subject of meals and tastings throughout the day.



Cooperative agricole de Noirmoutier, Le Petit Chessé, nr Noirmoutier town, Noirmoutier island.


7 May 2016

100km de Vendée/Marathon de Vendée  This day of extreme running races also includes a « relay marathon ». From 7am; prize-giving 2.45pm (marathons) and 6pm (100km race). Meal and dancing from 7.30pm.




8 May


(public holiday)






10 May 2016

"LA FILLE DU FAR-WEST"   Live relay of Puccini’s opera “The Girl of the Golden West” from La Scala Milan.  Conductor Riccardo Chailly .

Sung in Italian, with French subtitles.

Starts 8pm.


Cinéma Espace, Boulevard Phelippon, Luçon

(tel 02 51 27 94 22)

12-15 May 2016

Saint-Jazz-sur-Vie  Annual jazz festival, with music at La Conserverie, in church, and in the streets



14, 15 May 2016

Championnat regional de twirling  Competition for cheerleading – a popular pastime for girls in these parts.


Vendéspace, Mouilleron-le-Captif, nr La Roche sur Yon

14-16 May 2016

La Biennale  Procession of paper-flower-decorated floats made by people from six different districts of the town.  A biennial event, held in even-numbered years, at Whitsuntide.


Fontenay le Comte

15 May 2016

Fete des Fleurs  Grand Whitsun event on the island of Yeu, held in even-numbered years. Procession starts 2pm Parking de la Chapelle, and visits most corners of the island, ending on the waterfront at Port-Joinville at 10.30pm. with music and dancing.


Ile d’Yeu

15 May 2016

Semi-marathon des Olonnes  More than 1,000 athletes compete over a 21km course, much of it along the seafront from Les Sables to Le Chateau d’Olonne. Starts 5pm, Parc de la Rudelière; finish, Avenue Rhin et Danube; Les Sables-d’Olonne.


Les Sables-d’Olonne area.


21 May 2016

Nuit des Musées Special evening events at many museums throughout Europe. This year they will be encouraged to give prominence to a work of art representing Night.

 Throughout the Vendée

28 May 2016

La Déferlante  A day of free street performances at different venues throughout the resort.


Les Sables d’Olonne and La Chaume

Next in May 2017

Fête de la Meunerie  This attractive village steps back in time as 800 locals carry out old crafts and traditions. 
(It is held on Whit Sunday and Monday, in odd-numbered years.)


Nieul-sur-l’Autise, nr Fontenay-le-Comte


The Conseil-Général’s website also has a regularly updated calendar of events
on its site, under “Agenda”.

A free quarterly publication called Musique-Danse lists many concerts of all kinds in the Vendee. You can find it in Mairies and tourist offices.
There is an online version here.




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