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COVID-19 Vendée

The Delta variant is a fact as it is in all of Europe. In a new address to the nation on 12th July 2021, President Macron announced the following changes in a bid to drive up those numbers: the ‘health passport’ – proving that the holder has a negative Covid-19 test, is fully vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid-19 – will be required from August, including bars, restaurants, cafés and shopping centers  PCR tests will no longer be free of charge beginning in autumn, unless they are obtained with a prescription vaccination will become mandatory for all health workers: non-vaccinated health workers will no longer receive a salary nor be allowed to work after September 15 a vaccination campaign for high school, secondary school and primary school students will begin in the new schoolyear (September) Per the French diplomacy website “The rules for travel to and from France depend on the …

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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 Vendée FRIDAY 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 …

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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 AVAILABLE CHÂTEAU 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 …

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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! …

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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 …

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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, …

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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 …

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Daytrip to Le Tour de France 2021 from the Vendée

In 2021 Le Tour de France and all its craziness doesn’t go through the Vendée, but people who enjoy a little drive and travelling to this amazing event can definitely do so. Here is the short list and info about where you can witness Le Tour LIVE and up close, with our suggestions (i.e. the general areas we would choose personally), which does not mean you have to follow them! Do your thing, enjoy yourselves observing and making new memories with the family. And, making new friends too! Detailed schedule and map Stage 4 on 29/06/2021: from REDON TO FOUGERES (Bretagne) – See Stage 4 time schedule Stage 6 on 01/07/2020: from TOURS TO CHATEAUROUX (Loire Valley) – See Stage 6 time schedule NOTE: The time schedule is rather meticulously kept. What would be our choice for a spot? Stage 4 REDON TO FOUGERES (Bretagne) The Finish line today is …

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Join our Facebook Group for THE BIG GIVEAWAY

YES! We’re giving away something magical to one of our readers!  In collaboration between inthevendee.com and Chateau de la Preuille we are giving away DRRRUMROLL!! A ROMANTIC WEEKEND STAY AT CHATEAU DE LA PREUILLE !!!!  STAY IN THE BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED MEDIEVAL TOWER “LE DONJON” VALID FOR 2 PEOPLE, INCLUDES BREAKFAST & A BOTTLE OF THE LOCAL VINTAGE! PRIZE DRAWING 16TH JUNE. The winner can redeem the grand prize in the autumn. Would you like to participate? In this space we are issuing the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. Relax, there are only a few easy steps you need to do to ENTER TO WIN THE PRIZE DRAWING. If you have already done Rule 1 and 2, you can skip straight to Rule 3.  RULE ONE LIKE OUR INTHEVENDEE FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/inthevendee RULE TWO JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP https://www.facebook.com/groups/1912025715513887 RULE THREE HELP US SPREAD THE WORD TO FRIENDS YOU WOULD LOVE TO SEE WIN THIS …

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The Legends of the Pinecones

“Les Cinq Pineaux” and the “Trou du Diable” can be seen near Sion-sur-l’Océan in Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez, Vendée. The “Five Pinecones” and the “Devil’s Hole” used to form a piece of land jutting out into the ocean – a cape that has eroded by the wind and the pounding of the sea over the years. In local folklore exist the legends of how these natural phenomenon came to be! Legends of the Vendée A bridge to reach the island of Yeu In the VIth Century, Saint-Martin -Bishop of Tours- came to the Vendée region to preach the Good Word. One day as he worked along the beaches, he noticed the shimmering of an island off the coast (Ile d’Yeu) and promptly expressed that he wanted to go there to continue the quest of evangelizing the population. For reasons unknown, no boat could take him there. The devil, having heard about the plight …

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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 …

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Sharing Vouvant with the World

I am Marie Vivies. I was born in Fontenay le Comte and I grew up in a rural Vendée village called Antigny. I have always been attracted to the English language, that is why I focused my studies on discovering the working of its mechanisms. I also wanted to discover my own country, so I attended university in various cities around France: Angers, Rennes, Poitiers and Lyon. It was thrilling to experience life in a big city, but the years I spent there also made me realise how deeply I was attached to the Vendée. I taught English for 5 years but something was missing. It took time to understand that teaching English was not making me happy. Practicing it in conversation with people not known to me was more pleasant than explaining the language to youngsters. In fact, what I really liked was making someone discover something during a …

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Abbeys in the Vendée

Stunning in their dimensions, tranquil locations, state of ruin or architectural beauty, the abbeys  offer intrigue with a significant glimpse into French history and geography. Build an Itinerary – It would be difficult to see all of the abbeys in one day, but some could be looped together. Fortunately there is enough to find nearby them to venture out, perhaps with a picnic basket or beach toys, and definitely a camera, creating memorable days in the Vendée. In more good news, three of the abbeys are included in the Pass Vendée. Pass Vendée – the Vendée Pass is a cultural pass for €21 that allows you to visit 9 cultural and 2 nature reserves, as many times as you like for a year. It is available online (currently the site link is not secure, be aware of this) or in each of these locations where you can also use it:  Historial de la Vendée, Logis de la …

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Hidden Corners in the Vendée

Driving through endless farm fields across the rolling hills of the Vendée, adorable villages present themselves from a distance with ancient church steeples peeking over trees or clay rooftops. Why not slow down time itself to discover their hidden secrets? At inthevendee.com we swear by this method of travel. It’s a great way to explore in all tranquility and occasionally meet likeminded people for a chat on the unbeaten paths of France. Prehistoric and Romanesque – How much do you really love history? Or adventure? Enough to ignore the incessant ‘recalculating’ voice of the GPS and point the nose of the car toward the slightest hint there may be something unique or interesting to see?  The hand of History –  Have you ever heard about the age-old tradition of gathering to wash laundry in a village pond still being honored? Or discovered a centuries-old chapel in a picturesque valley? Have you ever touched a …

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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 …

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Daytrip from Vendée to Clisson & Hellfest Park

Clisson offers a curious panorama of French-medieval history seen through a Tuscan window. Or vice versa. Is it France? Is it Italy? The short answer: it’s a combination of the two. This small village with its imposing castle perched atop a lovely valley where the Sèvre-Nantaise and La Moine rivers merge, was set on fire by the Republican General Kléber during the Vendée Wars. Located on the edge of the Vendée (Poitou) and Loire-Atlantique in an important strategic position, Clisson was home to the Lords of Clisson since the XIth century, from 1089 to 1789! Today, this small town is not only famous for its position in French history and its interesting architecture. For one weekend a year, its just over 7,000 inhabitants grow by about 180,000. The reason? The biggest and roughest rock music festival in Europe…. Hellfest. An eventful history – Clisson’s history and that of the Vendée …

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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. Introduction Once 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 …

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Discover Montaigu-Vendée

In Gallo-Roman times on an intersection of two important Roman ‘highways’ grew the village of Durivum. Situated in the very north of the  department of  Vendée, the village known since 2019 as Montaigu-Vendée is a treasure. The vision of the Lords of Montaigu included a focus on education, a vision whose affect can be felt even today, making Montaigu and its array of fused villages a desirable place to live. But the area is also hilly and, thanks its many streams and rivers, lushly green and ideal for viticulture. Our investigation not only revealed Durivum’s intersection in Roman times… in the Vendée we know that where a rich history, water, vineyards and castles meet, we have discovered an ideal spot for exploration and discovery. Welcome to Montaigu-Vendée! History – The ancient Durivum (also Durinum) was a historic village between Brittany, Anjou and Poitou. In Roman times it may have been …

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What it means to be a responsible tourist

The concept of tourism is going through a massive shift. The term awareness has entered our bloodstream. Climate change as a global concept has been presented to us for years as an abstract need to heal our home Mother Earth but through it all we just kept on travelling, setting our bucket list as the higher priority without the necessary imagination to understand or embrace responsible travel. There is nothing like a pandemic to make us see how fast the environment can heal and how we can have a positive effect on the world by taking travel away. Now we’re learning  about the effect of our carbon footprint and the effect we have on local economy. We long to travel and we want to be a responsible tourist. But what is that? As late as last year’s travel trends, travelling was seen as an activity with nothing but positives attached. …

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Vouvant, Painters’ Village in the Vendée

Resting snugly in the arms of the Mère river at the edge of the largest oak tree forest in France lies one of the most beautiful villages of France. Vouvant, whose narrow streets demand a languid stroll in admiration of ancient architecture and a colorful plethora of flowers, seems to have been kissed by the gentle lips of history and tended by the loving care of faeries. A lovely drive toward the south-east corner of the Vendéen countryside will quickly point in its direction. Accept the challenge of discovery and you will quickly understand why Vouvant is lovingly referred to as the painter’s village. An introduction – The beginnings of Vouvant are somewhat mystical according to legend. The tale goes that the original castle here was created in just one night by the fairy Mélusine as a gift to the village. Of this castle only the donjon that dominates its …

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National holidays, Celebrations, and Cultural Events Calendar in France 2021

France counts many national holidays, wonderful cultural events organised nationwide, and just like any other country in the world celebrates mothersday, fathersday, grandparents etc. Summer months on French motorways are also quite notorious! As a resident of France or as a tourist, it’s difficult to keep it all straight! That’s why at inthevendee.com we have created a handy **PRINTABLE** guide to those important days you want to be aware of. You needed this in your life, didn’t you? We did! National holidays, Celebrations, and Cultural Events Calendar in France 2021 DATE DAY 2021 EVENT IN FRENCH WHAT IT MEANS JANUARY 1 Jan Friday New Year’s Day Nouvel An Public holiday FEBRUARY 14 Feb Sunday Valentine’s Day St Valentin 16 Feb Tuesday Fat Tuesday Mardis Gras Carnival MARCH 7 Mar Sunday Grandmother’s Day Fête des Grands-mères Celebration 20 Mar Saturday March Equinox L’équinoxe de mars / Printemps Spring Season begins 28 …

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The days to avoid driving in France summer 2021

France is the most popular travel destination in Europe with under normal circumstances over eighty-one-million worldwide visitors per year, but it is unclear how the Covid-19 pandemic will affect traffic on French motorways in 2020. France typically sees top traffic every July and August weekend. However, the outer European borders of countries where the virus-related health situation is not under control, remain closed. Travelers’ fears of contracting the disease abroad will also have an adverse affect on travel to or through France. This year, however, French natives may decide to vacation in-country, choosing a driving holiday over flying which may balance things out again. Additionally, the extra measures put in place at borders to control and to trace the spread of the disease, may put people off traveling. It’s also important to note new peeks of Corona virus in certain areas such as Catalonia in Spain, with governments (e.g. Belgium) …

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Getting to the Vendée

Travelling to the Vendée is easy thanks to the proximity of airports, railway stations and well-maintained access routes. If your destination is Le Bocage Vendéen (the countryside) or the Marais Poitevin, narrow country roads add another dimension to the charm and authenticity of the area. No matter your point of departure or mode of transportation, we hope to see you soon in the Vendée! Airports and countries With some planning ahead you can get very affordable flights from within Europe. to Nantes or La Rochelle airports. Planning itineraries from elsewhere in the world to these airports can be expensive but allowing yourself enough time and by splitting the itineraries, it could be done. Research to find best options! Fly to the Vendée via Nantes Airport from these countries and cities ▸ Austria Innsbruck Vienna ▸ Algeria Algiers ▸ Belgium Brussels ▸ Bulgaria Burgas Varna ▸ Canada Montreal ▸ Croatia Dubrovnik …

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Château de l’Hermenault and Garesché: connecting Vendée to world history

Chatting with the current châtelaine of Château de l’Hermenault, it came to light that the person who sold the beautiful castle to her forefather in 1806 had been Daniel Garesché, mayor of La Rochelle in 1791-1792. In our pleasantly lengthy conversation, the kind châtelaine said “Garesché family is fascinating. You should look it up.” … So, we did. We found in Daniel Garesché a man who was part of a veritable dynasty. A family that, to put it mildly, left their at times muddy boot prints on the history of France, Haiti, and the United States of America. With the motto “Jamais sans Espérance” (Never Without Hope) to lend a strong hand, it is the story of close-knit family built on patriarchal opportunism and survival spanning centuries, and touching the Vendée along the way. To truly understand the opportunistic make-up of this family it is necessary to travel back to …

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USA to Paris to the Vendée: Our European Family Vacation

There is nothing like a pandemic and lock down to make you appreciate your past travels. It is hard to believe that it has been one-and-a-half years since my husband and I decided to take a trip to France. With the children. I had been homeschooling my son, Jake (then 9yrs old) and has an affinity for geography, history, culture, and travel. To help encourage these interests, my former colleague and dear friend, Brenda, who now lives in France, began writing to him to share her experiences and adventures abroad. Their correspondence through letters and postcards sparked Jake’s eagerness to go and visit his new pen pal! After some planning and research together with Bren, we decide to introduce the kids to the thrill of international travel. As our family clunk our way down the narrow aisle of the plane, my toddler daughter Sara’s car seat in tow, I pull …

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Castles to see in the Vendée

Not all châteaux in the Vendée are open to the public. In fact, most are privately owned, sometimes with holiday accommodations available. The selection of twenty Vendéen castles in this article represent those accessible to view in high-season or year-round, or those which are open for sightseeing, reenactment spectacles, medieval festivals, and adventure parks. Is the Vendée paved with castles? – Yes and no. From medieval, to renaissance or neo-renaissance-style castles, and even some art-nouveau style ones, the number of chateaux in the Vendée is quite astounding. But most of them are private residences tucked away in sleepy villages or seemingly endless forests. You may run into them quite randomly or look for them in the 3rd weekend of September each year, when many have events or an open house in light of the European Heritage days (Journées Patrimoine) It’s all about the medieval – If you know just a …

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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 …

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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 region 1. Brem sur Mer vineyards CAVE PAJOT LAURENT *AOC. AOC Fief Vendeens Monday to Friday 11:00 – 12:30, 17:00 – 19:00 Saturday …

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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 AVAILABLE CHÂTEAU 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 …