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Our 2020 Journées Patrimoine adventure is our 2021 recommendation!

Since OUR 2018 flash tour of the Vendée we have loved the annual Journées Européennes du Patrimoine! Since then, each third weekend of September we research & plan, top off the car with petrol, and program our trusted GPS. Oh, and we set the alarm clock on weekday time to get through or morning chores. Once the dogs are walked, everyone has been fed and our picnic is packed in the cooler, we lock the door behind us and exhale. Two days of exploring where we live. How does it get any better than that? In this article, we’ll show you what we did last year, in 2020. The only addition to our weekend: a surgical facemask and a bottle of disinfectant hand gel.What are the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine or European Heritage days? – Created by the Ministry of Culture in 1984, national museums and historic monuments are opened to the …

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COVID-19 Vendée

The Delta variant is a fact as it is in all of Europe, and the Colombian variant is also a player. The use of the ‘health passport’ in café’s, bars, restaurants, shopping centers and theaters went into effect in August. From 30 September this rule also applies to children aged 12 to 17. It is not required for children under 12. The health passport is one of the measures implemented in an effort to thoroughly multiply vaccination. In addition, starting in the fall, PCR tests will no longer be free unless you have a prescription, vaccination is mandatory for all health care workers, and a vaccination campaign for students begins with the new school year in September. Restrictions have been almost entirely lifted but we must continue to apply social distancing and other measures to fight the pandemic. Per the French diplomacy website the rules for travel to and from France …

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2021 Journées du Patrimoine Vendée: list of things to see

Welcome to the European Heritage days of 2020! The 3rd weekend of September ranks among the best weekends of the year for us! We challenge ourselves with a spring around our lovely Département du Vendée for the opportunity to visit well-known historical locations and monuments as well as sites that are rarely open to the public, for free or at a reduced rate. Join us for a list of options this year.Historically, how did the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine or European Heritage days begin? The French Ministry of Culture began the event  La Journée Portes Ouvertes in 1984. In the following year, at the 2nd European Conference of Ministers responsible for Architectural Heritage, the French Minister of Culture proposed that the project be internationalised under the European council. The Netherlands joined with their own Open Monumentendag in 1987, followed by Sweden and Ireland in 1989, and Belgium and Scotland in 1990. In 1991 the …

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Journées Européennes du Patrimoine 2021 in the Vendée: exceptional openings!

The European Heritage Days are the most renowned cultural event in which European citizens participate together. Launched in 1985 in France, the Programme has been a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Union since 1999. Make the most of the EUROPEAN HERITAGE DAYS on 18th and 19th SEPTEMBER. This year’s theme is HERITAGE FOR ALL. In this article we highlight interesting locations that are open exceptionally for the occasion, or uniquely provided with a guided tour. What are the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine or European Heritage days? – Created by the Ministry of Culture in 1984, national museums and historic monuments are opened to the public for free or at a reduced rate on the third weekend of September every year. All weekend long, well-organized guided tours, animated demonstrations of old techniques, concerts, theatrical performances, and more, shed a special light on French heritage. Route Planning and Preparation – …

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What’s shaking in the Vendée

In the afternoon of Friday 20 August 2021, the Vendée was shaken by several small earthquakes. One measured at a 3.5 magnitude and two more measured between 2.0 and 3.0 on the Moment Magnitude scale (Mw for short). The earth did not shake enough to have caused any significant damage, other than the odd statue or plate falling from shelves, or a crack in pavement or window, but it was felt as far south as Fontenay-le-Comte. Source Based on the preliminary seismic data issued by the Réseau National de Surveillance Sismique (RéNaSS) the epicenters were located near Cholet (Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire) and Les Herbiers (Vendée) but the exact magnitude, epicenter, and depth of the quakes may be revised as seismologists refine their calculations and more reports come in. There were a further six smaller earthquakes under a 2.0. magnitude. Do these sorts of tremors happen frequently? They do. …

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Empty Attic (Vide Greniers) & Flea Markets

Vides Greniers or brocantes in France are a popular pass-time around the world. So too in the Vendée and lucky for those of those who enjoy upcycling or repurposing previously loved items. In 2021, there are fewer flea markets scheduled than what would normally be the case and due to the pandemic, please be aware there may be last-minute cancellations!  “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”!JUNE 2021 Vide-Greniers in the VendéeFRIDAY 11TH JUNE *Challans 85300   Vide Maison, Various household items furniture, knick-knacks, crockery, gardening accessories by the locals @ 125A Chemin du Gué aux Moines from 10h00 to 19h00. Free entry *Saint-Mathurin 85150   Vide Maison, Various household items, mechanical tools, masonry tools by locals @ 7 Rue des Mûriers from 8h00 to 18h00. Free Entry *Olonne-sur-Mer 85340   Vide Maison, Various household items by locals @ 114 Route des Pins from 10h30 to 19h00. Free entry. SATURDAY …

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Medieval Festivals Vendée 2021

Reminiscent of the big Renaissance Fairs or the all-immersive Feasts of the Hunter’s Moon in other countries like the United Kingdom or the United States, our Vendéen Medieval Festivals take you right into the heart of life in the Middle Ages with authentic food, demonstrations, reenactments, entertainment, and artist markets. The Medieval Festivals are fun for the entire family, a feast for the senses!Medieval festivals and Nocturnal events in the Vendée 2021 – TO BE UPDATED AS INFO BECOMES AVAILABLECHÂTEAU DES ESSARTS   No medieval festival announced but expanded programming in 2021 features nocturnal events three nights per week in July and August 2021 (see our events calendar or visit their website) Directions Reservations here ** Nocturne du Dimanche « Les Scènes Ouvertes » Every Sunday evening in summer from 21h00 the Château des Essarts makes its stage space available for various talented artists. Some are singers or dancers, others are comedians, some …

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Market Days in the Vendée

Outdoor markets in France are typically held in the mornings from 8h00 to 13h00. Which isn’t to say that all vendors are up and running by then! Arriving by 9h00 you’ll find the markets in full swing and the locals are out in droves to stock up on fruits and veg for the week. What can you find at the beloved village markets? Anything from cheeses, breads, organic/ bio, artisanal farm products, sausages, fish,  multi-cultural and freshly prepared street food, kitchen or other utensils, baskets, flowers, clothing, crafts, and more. (UPDATED JULY 2021) What’s in season? Markets are not only a great way to discover an area in France, and people watching whilst enjoying a coffee or a carafe of wine on a terrace… it’s a good time to practice the language. Our list of seasonal fruits and vegetables now include a glossary of their French word beside it.  Enjoy!Winter …

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Evening Markets Vendée

July 2021 evening markets in the Vendée.DAILY EVENING MARKETS  *SAINT JEAN DE MONTS 85160   (except on Sundays) @ avenue de la Mer and avenue des Demoiselles from 1/7/2021 to 31/8/2021  ——- THURSDAY 1ST JULY *Brétignolles-sur-Mer 85470   Art market @ La Parée from 18h00 to midnight. Free entry. *Jard-sur-Mer 85520   Crafts, books, flowers and local products @ le Port de Plaisance from 19h00 to 23h00. Free entry. *La Tranche-sur-Mer 85360   Marché Nocturne @ la Grière Beach from 21h00 to 00h00 (midnight). Free entry FRIDAY 2nd JULY *Vouillé-Les-Marais 85450   Entertainment for young and old, including music and food. cold meats, sausages, minced steak, fries, mussels, cheeses, candies, frills, wine,              refreshments (picnics not allowed) @ L’ Ile aux cinq villages SUNDAY 4th JULY *La Tranche-sur-Mer 85360   Marché Nocturne ARTISANAL @ la Grière Beach from 21h00 to 00h00 (midnight). Free entry MONDAY …

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These are the benefits of a Pass Vendée

Whether you are visiting the Vendée or live here, Le Pass Vendée is a great way to maximize your experience of this beautiful department in France. It offers access to seven cultural gems and two nature reserves for as many times as you want for an entire year. Especially if you have children, it’s a steal, because they don’t pay a thing! We heart France. We heart La Vendée!Family fun – Worry no more about finding things to do at any day of the week or weekend. The Vendée is charged with interesting sightseeing whether you’re into nature or you prefer historical sites or better yet… all-in-one! At each of the locations included in this article you can go for a brisk walk, browse leisurely, drink in your surroundings and learn about their role in the history and the very heart of the Vendée and its people. In more good news, adults …

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Activities guide to the Massif Forestier de Mervent-Vouvant

In south-Vendée where the rivers Mere and Vendée converge lies a hilly forest of some 55 square kilometers called Le Massif-Forestier de Mervent-Vouvant. It consists of accessible private and public domain and contains nine villages: Mervent, Pissotte, Bourneau, L’Orbrie, Foussais-Payré, Saint-Michel-le-Cloucq, Saint-Hilaire-des-Loges, Xanton-Chassenon, and Vouvant – one of France’s most beautiful. The villages are mere dots, leaving 5519 hectares of dense forest featuring beautiful hardwood trees. Whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth, as soon as you step foot beneath their canopy and lay eyes on meandering brooks sounding like little bells, and the abundant carpet of wildflowers, realization will strike that this forest exudes something absolutely magical. Whether you live in the Vendée year-round or like to visit with the seasons, these woods hide a plethora of activities to please the solo adventurer, the athlete, and the whole family. Use images below (and the UP arrow) to easily navigate our guide, or scroll through.A brief history …

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Guide to Fishing on Foot

Food and the outdoors are probably among the most beloved activities in France. In the Vendée we are lucky to be near the Atlantic coast. On sunny days we can flock to the beaches at low tide, armed with wire baskets, spoons, shovels and rakes. We can go on a mission, striding across the wide beaches with purpose because low tide has given way to hidden treasure: the ingredients for a delicious shellfish dinner. Welcome to the what, the where, and the how of the oldest form of fishing known to man: hand gathering or pêche à pied.What is pêche à pied – First let us state we’ve had a difficult time finding the right translations or terminology in both English or Dutch for this particular activity. Shore fishing, hand gathering (also a sewing term), clam digging… To be honest, we find the French term for this popular pass-time the best. It describes …

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The history of May First in France

The first of May has been a day of symbolism in France and other countries for centuries. To those of us in the workforce it means a day off, the first of many in the month of May here in France, a reason to rejoice and something to look forward to after months with only one long weekend to give us a little breathing room. But why is May 1st so special and why are lilies of the valley such a big part of the tradition? The  Legend & symbolism of the Lily of the ValleyVIth Century folklore In a French legend dating back to the 6th Century, Saint Leonard -Leonard of Noblac- who was a friend of King Clovis, lived the Vienne Valley, near Limoges. Both Leonard and the King were converted to Christianity at Christmas 496AD. Following this event, Leonard wanted to spend the rest of his life as a …

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Lentil farming in the Vendée

Known historically as one of the oldest dried legumes, demand for the humble lentil has tripled in recent years. Since the Vendée is an area of significant prehistoric activity, it’s easy to assume that the wild lentil was already on the local menu some six thousand years ago. It is a plant that can be found on just about every continent, producing seeds in all sizes and colours, rich in vitamins and proteins, fiber, and minerals. Lentils are inexpensive. The increasing desire of balancing meat and vegetable proteins in our diet has a direct impact on how farmers and larger agriculture organizations meet those demands. So, too, in the Vendée, where the green lentil represents a growing part of the grain legumes crop, just behind mogettes.The growing value of Lentils – Sustainability – The cycle of demand and supply is blowing more and more new life and new ideas into the …

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Passage du Gois, Vendéen road of mythic proportions

The world counts a few roads that even die-hard adventure bloggers tell you to avoid; roads that consistently make the list of “most dangerous” to traverse. There’s the Stelvio Pass in Italy. And the Yungas Road in Bolivia which hugs the side of a mountain without guardrails; or Skippers Canyon Road in New Zealand which is prohibited for rental cars because no insurance will cover them. And then there is famous French causeway that gives way to the Atlantic Ocean twice per day. Welcome to the Passage du Gois, historic monument in the Vendée and one of the world’s most dangerous roads!Nature’s punishment – Linking the mainland at Bauvoir-sur-mer on the gorgeous French Atlantic coast with Barbâtre on the Island of Noirnourtier is the Passage du Gois, or the Gois, a road that many will recommend avoiding at all cost. They are not wrong. While not the only tidal causeway in …

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Fishing in the Vendée

From the Atlantic ocean, to lakes, to rivers, to the marais, and even fishing ponds, the Vendée catch (2nd category) includes bass, large conger eels, eels, trout, carp, pike, pike perch, roach, bream, rudd,  tench, sardines, and more. In the marais even the Louisiana red crayfish is present. With a total of 4,500 kilometers of waterways and approximately 1,400 ha of dam lakes (for production of drinking water) Vendée offers an ideal spot for every experienced to novice fisherman or fisherwoman.IntroductionOnce tourism season is over in the Vendée and holiday makers have returned home, the hotspots for fishing revert back to the tranquil retreats fishermen love. Hotspots for sea fishing include the beaches in La Faute-sur-Mer, L’Aiguillon-sur-Mer, and Les Sables d’Olonne. Where the Lay river meets the ocean, a sandy beach with a bridge over the river is an inviting spot from which to cast a line. Further north there …

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How the Bird Flu could affect us in the Vendée

Cases of HPAI serotype H5N8 virus or the Avian Flu, more commonly known as ‘the bird flu’, have recently been observed in Germany, the Netherlands, UK, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium and in recent days also in France. Because we are in migratory season – in autumn large groups of wild birds migrate south for the winter – France is on high alert. The Vendée is one of 45 departments on high alert listed in the government’s recently issued decree. What does this mean for our department and for our families? We’ve gathered some history, information, and reading materials.What is the Avian Flu? – Avian Influenza (or bird flu) is a highly contagious viral infection that can affect all birds and cause misc. issues depending on the pathogenicity of the virus and on the species. A Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) – strain H5N8 has been detected in wild birds, especially ducks, geese …

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Ile d’Yeu prefecture’s controversial allowance for the Belgian King & Queen

One February 2nd we noticed the increased traffic to the Île d’Yeu article on our e-magazine website and thought “Wow! People are really shopping around for their summer holiday today.” We hadn’t noticed the news that the Belgian Royal family had requested and received a permit to build an annex to their home on the island, to the protest of some islanders, in particular the local butcher. King Phillipe and Queen Mathilde are, despite rising republicanism of the Flemish population in Belgium, quite a beloved royal pair in their country. They are gentle and kind, and just like his uncle King Baudouin and aunt Queen Fabiola back in the day (Boudewijn died in 1993 and was succeeded by his brother, Phillipe’s father Albert II for 20 years before retiring in 2013), their hearts seem to genuinely beat among the Belgian constituents. But even a hard working king and queen need …

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Why oyster shells should be recycled

Do you enjoy a meal of oysters on the half-shell at your favourite restaurant or at home? Recycling programs in coastal regions world-wide, including the Vendée, are popping up just about everywhere to ensure the shells are redeployed as a vital natural resource. Oyster shells provide the best material… to rebuild oyster reefs. As an oyster lover, contributing your household shells back to the reefs is probably the most responsible way to recycle them, but it’s certainly not the only way in which oyster shells can be re-used.What is an oyster shell recycling program – Oyster are a fundamental species for water filtration to maintain estuaries and healthy coastal ecosystems. As a result, oysters are also used to gather information on the overall health of the surrounding ecosystem. Healthy coastlines mean more tourism and water sports, which suggests that oyster reefs provide not only ecological, but also economical and recreational benefits …

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Recycling wine corks in France

Are you one of those people or families that save wine corks in a gigantic vase? We’ll join you in raising our hand. The reason for doing so can range from good intentions (upcycling projects), to proudly displaying just how much you have embraced living in the land of the Wine River. Saving corks seems for many to inevitably result in an overflow, while the unique ecosystem of the cork oak forests suffers from climate change, overharvesting, and other damaging activity.What is cork and why participate in a recycling program – Cork is a natural and biodegradable material made from the bark of the cork oak trees (Quercus suber L.) that predominantly grow in a narrow geographical range of the Western Mediterranean basin of North-Africa, Spain and Portugal. Cork is removed in sheets from the trees when a tree is 25 to 30 years old and about 60 cm in circumference at breast …

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Adopt, foster & volunteer with Galia

Association Galia was formed in August 2008 in response to the ever-growing numbers of dogs, cats and kittens being found as strays or abandoned for various reasons. Galia is a small, independent French refuge, a charity, that rehomes around 300 dogs every year. Dogs that may not have otherwise survived. With a “no kill” policy, even the sickest dogs are cared for (often with one of our volunteer foster families) and given every chance to recover. All dogs are microchipped, sterilised, flea treated, wormed, and have the necessary jabs ready to be rehomed. Galia takes in dogs from local pounds (where law states that they must be euthanised if not claimed/ rehomed within 8 day) as well as street dogs in kill centres in Romania, Serbia. Dogs arrive with us for so many different reasons – owners divorcing, moving home, owners going into retirement home or hospital long term, a …

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Safe and sustainable mushroom foraging

Mushrooms are beautiful and mysterious organisms that live mostly as a mycelial mat in the soil. The functional structure we see growing above ground is the reproductive, spongy structure that grows by soaking up water and disperses spores. Mushroom hunting is a beloved autumn activity in France, one that without the proper knowledge can be dangerous  and also destructive to future harvesting.The etiquette of mushroom picking – That there are (or should be) common sense rules when it comes to the harvesting of food resources in the wild, we don’t only mean that when it comes to identifying edible mushrooms some knowledge is required. It also means leaving something for the next person that comes along… A courtesy that runs so much deeper than what’s right in front of us. In 1833, the British economist William Forster Lloyd wrote about the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’, a citation that to this day is …

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Journées du Patrimoine 2020: list of places to see in the Vendée

Welcome to the European Heritage days of 2020! The 3rd weekend of September ranks among the best weekends of the year for us! We challenge ourselves with a spring around our lovely Département du Vendée for the opportunity to visit well-known historical locations and monuments as well as sites that are rarely open to the public, for free or at a reduced rate. Join us for a list of options this year.Historically, how did the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine or European Heritage days begin? The French Ministry of Culture began the event  La Journée Portes Ouvertes in 1984. In the following year, at the 2nd European Conference of Ministers responsible for Architectural Heritage, the French Minister of Culture proposed that the project be internationalised under the European council. The Netherlands joined with their own Open Monumentendag in 1987, followed by Sweden and Ireland in 1989, and Belgium and Scotland in 1990. In 1991 the …

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Your new Girl Friday in the Vendée

Do you have a list of chores that need doing but you just don’t have the time, or are unable to do for health reasons? Ali’s return to excellent customer service in the Vendée is wonderful news and we’re delighted to help her announce her new business! We all need a little help sometimes… Girl Friday help, that is!Hi! I am Ali Goodgame. Many people in the Vendée may remember me as your friendly expat landlady from Bar Le Clemenceau in Mouilleron St. Germain. Since we made the difficult decision to stop the bar in September 2019, I had an immersive experience working at the well-known local food processing business Fleury Michon. I enjoyed working with my French colleagues very much and the job gave me a routine and focus through the difficult lockdown period due to the pandemic.While working there I realised just how much I have missed working …

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Business opportunity!

Actual image of portion of our stockIf you are looking to set up a business in France, this could be the opportunity for you. Due to impending retirement we are selling our stock of 15,000+ second-hand books in English. The stock includes everything from classics, novels and bestsellers, biographies and memoirs, self-help, cookbooks, children’s books etc. Note: the image left is a portion of the actual stock.  The shop has been open since 2015 and is currently based in an outbuilding on our property. For further info, please do not hesitate to contact Cindy via email – cindy.allen@hotmail.fr Until then, it’s business as usual and everybody is welcome to browse and purchase books! (Please note: the main image is generic and not representative of the inventory that is for sale.)Share this Post

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Where Vendéens can see Le Tour de France September 2020

Are you excited? WE ARE! At inthevendee.com we are fervent ‘course’ fanatics from the winter cyclo-cross season to the Classic Road Races to the big tours. Of course, nothing is as fantabulous as Le Tour and everything that surrounds moving this massive production across the streets of France. And yes, we know that’s not a word… but it’s a word at hour house when it comes to everything cycling. So, we will be gathering all possible information we can find because we want you and your guests to experience the circus that is Le Tour de France as well. Can you feel our enthusiasm? Yes? Good. Find updates here up to Monday 7th September. Because on the 8th and the 9th, we will be out of office! Dear readers, cyclists, caravan… the whole circus… See you somewhere along the route! See maps and local details below for stage 10 on …

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Vineyards and wine tasting in the Vendée

Since Roman times there have been attempts at growing grapes and making wine in the Vendée, but it wasn’t until medieval times that the activity became successful. The monks of the many abbeys around here didn’t only manage to turn the ocean into fertile land while creating the Marais, they also had a hand in the proper cultivation of grapes. Historically we owe the production of good wine to them and to the Cardinal Richelieu who In the XVIIth  century donated wine lands to the farmers of Luçon. Another reason for successful viticulture in the Vendée is the region’s temperate oceanic climate, with mild, wet winters and cooler summers. The oceanic climate is warmer than the continental climate but less warm than the Mediterranean climate.Vendee vineyards listed by region1. Brem sur Mer vineyardsCAVE PAJOT LAURENT *AOC. AOC Fief Vendeens Monday to Friday 11:00 – 12:30, 17:00 – 19:00 Saturday 10:00 – 12:30, 16:00 …

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Le Tour 2020 postponed until August!

Vendéens have another opportunity to experience Le Tour de France in 2020. Due to the corona-virus pandemic, the most beloved sporting event in the world had to be postponed to August 2020. Le Grand Depart is scheduled for August 29th in Nice. Le Tour is set to arrive in Paris on September 20th, 2020.  UPDATE RESCHEDULED TOUR – see below schedule and map: Stage 10 on 08/09/2020: from Ile d’Oleron via the Marais and La Rochelle to Ile de Re (St. Martin de Re)  Stage 11 on 09/09/2020: from Chatelaillon-Plage to Poitiers Dear readers, cyclists, caravan… the whole circus… See you somewhere along the route! Having just watched the live presentation of the Tour de France 2020 with all its stages, we at inthevendee.com are excited! How wonderful it is to live in a place where every year we have the opportunity to travel to the spectacle that is Le …

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Medieval Festivals 2020

Reminiscent of the big Renaissance Fairs or the all immersive Feasts of the Hunter’s Moon in other countries like the United Kingdom or the United States, Vendeen Medieval Festivals take you right into the heart of life in the Middle Ages with authentic food, entertainment and artist markets. Fun for the entire family!All Medieval festivals and events in the Vendée 2020 – TO BE UPDATED AS INFO AS INFO BECOMES AVAILABLECHÂTEAU DES ESSARTS       POSTPONED TO 2021      Open BY RESERVATION ONLY      ADVENTURE AND STORY TELLING WALKS  IN JULY AND AUGUST (from 14h00 – 19h00) ; AND on Wednesday and Sunday in SEPTEMBER      Directions CHÂTEAU DE TALMONT    MESSAGE FROM THE CHATEAU    From Monday 06 July 2020 to  Friday 28 August 2020: Following the health crisis, linked to Covid-19, all the chivalry, falconry and nocturnal shows as well as the medieval workshops (crossbow …

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A radical life-choice and a patrimony restoration project

For 15 years we were happy on the east side of Paris. My husband, Paul, with his international career for Disney, and I myself was happy as a full-time mother of our four children. Life was good, stable, and every project in the house was done. But when our children became teenagers, Paul had seen too many airports, and I myself needed new challenges. More and more, we discussed what new adventures we could experience. For both of us it was clear: we wanted a change in life. On our wish list was: living in a sunnier area, closer to the sea, old building with character and a terrain with endless possibilities, close to a big city and a train station nearby. It seemed like searching for a needle in the haystack. In the spring of 2019 we made a road trip that started in Biarritz. In advance we made …