ANGELA BIRD'S

 

The
Vendée 

 

 

WHERE TO EAT IN THE VENDÉE,

 

3. LUÇON, LA TRANCHE AND THE MARAIS POITEVIN

L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer, Angles, Arçais, Chaillé-les-Marais, Coulon, Esnandes, La Faute-sur-Mer, Longeville-sur-Mer, Luçon, Maillé, Maillezais, Marans, Mareuil-sur-Lay, Moutiers-sur-le-Lay,
La Rochelle, St-Cyr-en-Talmondais, Ste-Hermine, St-Michel-en-l'Herm, La Tranche-sur-Mer, Triaize, Velluire, La Venise Verte.

 Key
Blue text = restaurant with view over water (sea, lake or river)
Red text = hyperlinks to relevant web pages



Photo: Angela Bird

L'AIGUILLON-SUR-MER
Chez Gégène, Le Port (tel: 02 51 56 40 43)
ERNA DE CLERCK WRITES:
This large bar-restaurant across from the fishing harbour is the perfect place for lovers of shellfish. Oysters and mussels are practically landed at your feet, so they couldn't be fresher!
(Angela adds:  I stopped here to enjoy a plate of mussels for lunch in Feb 2009, and was hugely disappointed. The place was packed with people enjoying seafood platters, and seeming very happy. I chose the town’s speciality of “moules”, and as its variation -  “gégène”, or house, style.  Almost half the mussel shells were empty; the flesh that there was was scrawny; the “gégène sauce” was a horrid, cold tomato sauce plonked on top, and in no way part of the cooking process. Stick to the seafood platters here is probably the answer...)

 

 

CHARRON (Charente-Maritime)
Theddy Moules, 72 Rue du 14 Juillet (tel: 05 46 01 51 29)
The plumpest mussels anywhere are served at this rather basic roadside eaterie on the north side of the village.  The succulent molluscs are cultivated on stakes and on ropes in the mud-rich Aiguillon Bay, a mussel-shell’s throw down the road. Menu express: “Theddy” moules (cooked in cream and Pineau sauce), chips and fruit tart 14.50€ (2007). Also à la carte. You can buy fresh mussels to take away amd cook yourself. Open May to September only.

 


Photo: Angela Bird

LONGEVILLE-SUR-MER
Les Flots Bleus, Plage du Rocher, Les Conches
JO DALE WRITES:
One of our favourite bistrots/cafés, within walking distance of La Tranche, serving omelettes, salads, galettes and - especially - desserts. Open all year round (our children had breakfast there on New Year's Day!). Very busy in season; English spoken. The beach is a wonderful hunting-ground for fossils (look near the low-tide line).

 



Photo: Gareth Parfitt

LONGEVILLE-SUR-MER
Bud House Cafe, Les Conches
GARETH PARFITT WRITES:
The best pub/bar in the Vendée, with keen prices, pub games, regular live music - and a great, friendly atmosphere. Located near one of the Vendée's best surfing beaches, it has a large decked promenade out front leading to pseudo-hawaiian bar area. Proprietor Michel Bouisson is a rugby fanatic, and keeps a collection of sporting memorabilia in the adjacent "Bar des Six Nations". Good snack shack selling tasty and inexpensive food, and a good restaurant next door, too.

 

 


Photo: Au Fil des Saisons web site

LUÇON
Au Fil des Saisons, 55 Route de La Roche (tel: 02 51 56 11 32)
MARTIN HOLMES WRITES:  Under new ownership since 2007, this friendly hotel-restaurant on the north side of Luçon serves inventive and surprising cuisine – which you can enjoy outside in the garden in the summer. The carte, changed completely every couple of months, features lots of local produce, and has a sort of "Vendee tradition re-visited" flavour. Two- or three-course fixed-price formulas start at around 25€ (2008), plus à la carte. Menus are fully translated into English, and Madame Soulard speaks very good English.  And you can treat yourself to a Cognac that's your own age - they have all years back to 1955, so I'm still just in !

Restaurant closed Sat lunch, Sun evening and all day Mon.

 

 



Photo: Angela Bird

LUÇON
Café du Commerce, corner of Rue Clemenceau and Place du Commerce, outside cathedral
Good croque-monsieurs (toasted cheese sandwiches) at this busy café, opposite Richelieu's statue, left, on the north side of the cathedral. Easy parking in the huge square opposite the cathedral's main door.

 



Photo: La Mirabelle web site

LUÇON
La Mirabelle, 89 bis rue du Président de Gaulle (tel: 02 51 56 93 02)
ERNA DE CLERCK WRITES:
Owner Benoit Hermouet produces fine cuisine, using specialties of the Vendée and of the sea. On the  expensive side (menus 23-46  euros, 2007).

 

 

 

MAILLEZAIS
Le Collibert, Rue principale (tel: 02 51 87 25 07
)
CHARLES HARRISS WRITES:
If the sight of Maillezais' imposing ruined abbey on the edge of the marshes is not enough, then this restaurant on the town's main street will provide an experience of a different kind. Bernard Patarin's menu is very much "terroir" (based on traditional local produce), and includes eels and the "dish of the 27 snails (or lumas)". We lived to tell the tale, but it's probably not for the faint-hearted. Menus from 130F-350F (2000). Closed Jan and Feb, and Sun evening and Mon out of season.




Photo: Court d'Aron web site

 

ST CYR EN TALMONDAIS
La Court d'Aron, 1 Allée des Tilleuls, on edge of the Parc Floral (tel: 02 51 30 81 80)
CHARLES HARRISS WRITES:
Dominique Orizet cooked in the UK for years and so "English-is-spoken" with a vengeance at this pretty place, in the shadow of a 19th-century château. Confident cooking of a high standard. Not cheap but always good value. Check out the website for some sample menus.
Closed Sun -Tues evening and Wed in winter; mid-season closed Sun evg and Wed; summer closed Sun evg.

 

 


Photo: Stephanie Nestor

SAINTE-HERMINE
Le St-Georges, 11 Place de la Mairie, St-Juire-Champgillon (tel: 02 51 27 86 91)
STEPHANIE NESTOR WRITES:
Very chic dining room in an old building, with wrought-iron furniture, slate flooring and original artworks.  Fantastic; sophisticated; and certainly not French provincial.  I rang ahead to book my vegetarian meal  - 26 euros for 3 courses - which was excellent.   My husband had the “spring menu” for 36€ (2010): millefeuille of avocado and langoustines,  followed by lamb.   We both had a pink rhubarb, strawberry, and very cold mascarpone dessert.   Each course was separated by an amuse- bouche;  petits fours and chocolates accompanied the coffee, which was just 1€.   Wine list is good.  We loved it! Open Tues-Sun, lunchtime and evening. Menus from  11.50€ inc a quarter pichet of wine (lunchtime); evening menus 17€-55€.

 

 



Photo: from Auberge website

VELLUIRE
Auberge de la Rivière, Rue Fouarne (tel: 02 51 52 32 15)

In a tranquil position overlooking the river Vendée (watch for signposts from village centre), this 11 room hotel, a 2-chimney Logis de France, has a dining room at the water's edge. Under new ownership, the food from the kitchen of Fabrice Riefolo is to die for, and still surprisingly reasonable in price (menus 26 to 50€, 2008). Rooms, some in a building across the courtyard, are simple, modern and pristine and priced from 50€.
Closed Sun evening and Mon (July-Sept, closed Mon lunchtime only).

 

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