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Best museums in the Vendée

Museums are not for everybody. We get that. Most would rather spend time outdoors while on holiday and perhaps museums invoke school trips more than family vacation. One of the coolest things about the Vendée is how well educational experiences while on vacation are disguised as super fun family activities. Many of the museums here have an interactive component in such a way that children learn while playing. As family time goes… they are opportunities not to be missed! Here are our recommendations (in no particular order). Enjoy!Chocolate Museum In La Roche-sur-Yon, very close to the big shopping center, is the beautiful chocolate museum of master chocolater Patrick Gelencser… … and that is something you should not miss, especially if you love chocolate. In this museum you go on a journey through the history and flavors of cocoa, from the Mayan civilization to modern times and everything in between. A …

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Best amusement parks in the Vendée!

The Vendée is a perfect area for families to enjoy a holiday together! Through the amusement parks located in (and one just outside) this area, you will find there is something for everyone whether you’re interested in history, or pre-history, or adrenaline rushes, or just good old fashioned family fun that evokes nostalgia for one’s own childhood. In this article we list the best amusement parks the Vendée has to offer. We’ve included where you can bring a picnic and not forgetting about our four-legged friends, where you can bring them along as well. Enjoy!Château des Avonturiers This lovely XVIth century French Renaissance château dates back to 1555. It was built for Jean Girard, who, at the time was the royal breadmaster (panetier) to King Henri II. The person in charge of the King’s bread was an important role in the royal household and held a proper title (as a side …

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Vide Greniers & Brocantes Vendée

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”! Vides Greniers or brocantes in France are a popular pass-time. So too in the Vendée and lucky for those of those who enjoy upcycling or repurposing previously loved items. In 2022, there is a resurgence of flea markets but please remain aware that due to the pandemic last-minute cancellations are possible !MAY 2022 Vide-Greniers in the VendéeSATURDAY 21st MAY * BOUIN 85230      Vide-Maison – St Michel Route du Petit Bossis from 09h00 to 20h00 (private home) * BRETIGNOLLES-SUR-MER 85470    Vide-dressing garden and garage in private homes at 12 Rue des Trois Tours from 10h00 to 18h00 * CHÂTEAU-D’OLONNE 85180    Vide maison, vide dressing, vide garage 29 Avenue Condorcet (private home) from 09h30 to 18h00 * LES HERBIERS 85500    Vide-Maison 13 la jaudronniere (private home) from 10h00 to 18h00 * LES SABLES-D’OLONNE 85100    Vide maison at 9 Impasse des Barge from 09h00 …

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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 your area in France, there is people watching whilst enjoying a coffee or a carafe of wine on a terrace AND… it’s a perfect time to practice the language. Our list of seasonal fruits and vegetables now include a glossary of their French word beside it.  …

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COVID-19 Vendée

France is relaxing its Covid-19 regulations. As of Monday, May 16, the wearing of a mask on all public transportation (metro, bus, train, plane and cabs) is no longer required. (Note: this article will be updated again but all links are included for you to research the sources.) French Government UPDATE 16/05/2022 Current measures The “vaccination pass” has been suspended Wearing of a mask remains necessary in healthcare facilities, retirement homes, establishments for people with disabilities. when around people who are at high risk of developing serious illness around people who have tested positive and contact cases The mask is no longer compulsory in closed places but remains required in all manner of public passenger transport until May 16th.  Use your best judgement always carry a mask! In small spaces e.g. an elevator, it’s probably best to wear a mask! maintain vigilance and sanitary habits: 1.5m (6ft) distance, frequent washing …

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Best beaches in the Vendée

About the beaches in the Vendée One can hardly mention the weather without stirring up controversy, but ask any local, native or transplanted soul in the Vendée and he or she will not hesitate to claim the weather here is the best in France. Because Vendéen weather patterns are heavily influenced by the Atlantic ocean on the west and southwestern borders there are nearly 2000 sunshine hours annually with average high temperatures of around 20°C (68°F). Winters are cool, while autumn and spring seasons are mild. As a result, the landscape is green for most of the year, though summers are typically hot and dry. Thanks to this lovely climate, tourism and agriculture are the main sources of income. Fauna and flora are rich and varied. Tropical varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers including palms, oleander, mimosa, magnolia, and hibiscus—plants found in holiday spots like Spain, Crete, U.S. states such as …

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Why you should travel with your European Health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card is without question one of the most privileged benefits of living in one of the EU member states. The health card, also called EHIC, is issued to anyone who is insured by or covered by a statutory social security program of the European Economic Area countries and Switzerland. It allows the card holder to receive medical treatment in another member state for free or at a reduced cost. Everyone should have one, but many don’t realize the existence of this benefit until they are asked for it in an emergency situation. So, why should you never leave on vacation without it. to whom it applies and where can you get one? We have some answers to your burning questions.What is the European Health Insurance Card? The EHIC gives travelers insured by or covered by a statutory social security program of the European Economic Area countries and …

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Our Facebook group’s recommendations for great places to eat in the Vendée

Our Facebook group consists hundreds of members… locals, expats of all nationalities who live here permanently, people who own a holiday home or second home, and tourists. We all have our favourite places to put our feet under the table and tuck in to a nice meal and/or have a cocktail with family and friends, or just for a bit of romance. We have pooled together their recommendations in various areas of the Vendée.  Not to show favoritism, we have listed them alphabetically by name, so if you happen to be in the neighbourhood, you’ll know exactly where to go for a meal recommended by your Vendéen friends! All tastes – all budgets.Listed alphabetically Ateapick – Fontenay-le-Comte 85200// tapas, burgers, cocktails, small but varied menu €€ – play a game of boules  24 rue Louis Auber Zone Saint Médard Some vegetarian options +33251539433 Website Map + reviewsBistro Des Halles – …

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What is le Puy du Fou?

Located in north-Vendée, the theme park le Puy du Fou is a multi-award winning park without rides or rollercoasters. And yet, it is deemed by many the best in the world. Why is that, you wonder? Spread across 50-hectares are venues that are home to the most epic, period-specific shows you’ll have ever experienced. These shows depict true stories in our history from Ancient Rome through the Viking invasions, from the Middle Ages all the way to the belle-epoque and the World Wars. And everything in between. That is Puy du Fou described in a nutshell. And no, you should absolutely not miss it!The ultimate historical exploration In 1977, the ruins of the chateau at le Puy du Fou ware discovered by park founder Philippe de Villiers. So inspired was he by the surroundings that he imagined a large show to take place here depicting the history of the Vendée, …

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Family Fun in the Vendée

Families who like to spend time together immersed in nature and history will find the Vendée to be a rich playground. From water sports to horse riding, to salt mining and a variety of other adventures like a day at world-famous theme park Le Puy du Fou, there is a lot to do. The Vendée is perfect for a holiday filled with adventure and learning, for local travel discovering wildlife, tropical flora, ancient windmills and medieval history, old customs, and endless outdoor activities. Whether you visit or reside permanently, the Vendée is a place the entire family will want to explore year-round. Welcome to our guide to the Vendée with children!Why the Vendée? One can hardly mention the weather without stirring up controversy, but ask any local, native or transplanted soul in the Vendée and he or she will not hesitate to claim the weather here is the best in France. …

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Medieval Festivals 2022

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 2022 – TO BE UPDATED AS NEW DATES ARE ANNOUNCEDCHÂTEAU de COMMEQUIERS Announced for Saturday 6th August 2022 at 16h00 and Saturday August 7th, 2022 at 11h00 Details to be announced. Directions CHÂTEAU DES ESSARTS   To be announced (visit their website) Directions CHÂTEAU DE TALMONT Sunday June 5 2022 from 10h30 to 21h30 Enjoy medieval workshops, street performances, artisanal market, medieval camps, archery and crossbow shooting, calligraphy, a mini-farm…  Equestrian show at 19h00 (5€ per person in addition to the …

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Fishing in the Vendée 2022

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 to fishing in the VendéeOnce 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 …

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Travel Trends 2022

In 2021, Covid-19 guided our travel behavior. This year’s trends are a further enigma to the pandemic fall-out. The dominos continue to roll down the path of how the disease affects our lives. But they are taking a slightly different turn. Australia was predicted to be a major destination with borders expected to open, however, the government has closed at least a part of the country again in recent days with a 2-week quarantine to boot. Long-distance vacations are at the top of the list… as long as people can find flights and accommodations that offer failsafe options for cancellation. Last year, we chose destinations close to home or staycations. The 2022 travel trends point back to bucket lists and a general Covid/ lockdown fatigue that has us throwing the door to life’s opportunities wide open. Let’s have a look!New in 2022 – Since vaccines and booster jabs, the implementation …

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The days to avoid driving in France summer 2022

The traffic info below shows the summer 2022 weekend days by codes orange, red & black.  In Southern Directions Fridays and Saturdays from June 25 through 13 August 2022 Orange or red on all routes ***Black Saturdays***  30th July and 6th August 2022 everywhere Saturdays 9th,  16th, 23th July 2022 Red on all routes Saturday 6th August 2022 Red on all routes In Northern Directions Friday – Saturday from  July 8th to August 27th 2022 orange or red all routes Weekend 29th – 30th July 2022  orange all routes Saturday 6th August 2022 red all routes Weekend Friday 12th August through Monday 15th August 2022 orange everywhere BUT red in direction Rhone valley – Languedoc Friday 19th, Sunday 21st. and Monday 22nd August 2022 orange everywhere Saturday 20th August 2022 red on all routes Friday 26th August and Sunday 28th August 2022 orange everywhere Saturday 27th August 2022 red on …

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National holidays, Celebrations, & Cultural Events Calendar in France 2022

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, & Cultural Events France 2022 DATE DAY 2022 EVENT IN FRENCH WHAT IT MEANS JANUARY 1 Jan Saturday New Year’s Day Nouvel An Public holiday 6 Jan Thursday Epiphany Jour des Trois Rois Enjoy a traditional galette FEBRUARY 2 Feb Wednesday Candlemas Fête de la Chandeleur Day to eat Crêpes 14 Feb Monday Valentine’s Day St Valentin Day of romance and love MARCH 1 Mar Tuesday Fat Tuesday …

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How to Travel as an Introvert

Being seasoned introverts, your admins at inthevendee.com understand the joys of solo travel. When it comes to exploring the world, the idea of group travel can be quite uncomfortable for an introvert. But so are issues of safety, risk taking, the possibility of things going wrong and the idea that being alone in a crowd is not quite being introverted enough. As a result you might think that solo travel is impossible. But nothing is further from the truth. We can only encourage you to travel alone, no matter your age or where you live. To help you thrive on vacation, we have invited Regi Publico, a blogger, to write about how to travel as an introvert.The common perception people have for introverts usually connote being unfriendly, antisocial, or lonely, which is not true for many. Compared to extroverts who draw energy from being around other people, introverts are the …

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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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New Dutch owners at Base de Loisirs La Tardière! An interview

After years of exploring Europe by motorcycle and camping in a small tent, Dutch couple Leonoor and Arno decided it was time to run their own campground… To offer the friendly hospitality they had always experienced, to others. Their search for the perfect place, the campsite that “spoke to them” took years and finally brought them to the Vendée. At inthevendee.com, we extend a warm welcome to them, and we hope that YOU will take advantage of their excellent facilities at the Base de Loisirs in La Tardière, whether you want to camp or spend a pleasant family afternoon by the lake with a cup of coffee or a drink on the terrace. With this interview we’d like to introduce you to our new Dutch neighbors!Welcome to the Vendée! Introduce yourselves. Who are you, what is your background, where do you come from? Hello! We are Leonoor and Arno. It …

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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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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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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 in …

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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 VendéeA 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 of Saint-Martin, …

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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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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 Chabotterie, Château …

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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 circa …