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Ode to the miracle of my parents

Cour du Miracle. Translated to English, it means ‘Miracle Court’. The legend has been told since the early 18th Century, a part of Vouvant’s history, if you will. Today, however, I am sharing my very own, personal story of the ‘Miracle Court’, and the café that occupies it: Café Cour du Miracle. I am the eldest child of its new owners, Sue and Dean Richards, and the 20th of October, 2019 marked eight months since Mum and Dad left Perth, Western Australia to start a new chapter in Vouvant, so I feel it is only fitting to reflect on their decision to migrate to France. Our family have called Perth home for the past 26 years, though whether Perth or another city, being lucky enough to have a family as close as ours, home could have been anywhere in the world. We immigrated from England to Australia in 1993 as …

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Vegetarian Butternut Pie – an autumn delight!

Last year in fall or winter, Sky News announced the upcoming UK budget revelation with an infomercial where the main character was a pie… a wintry pie that looked delicious and easy enough to try to make. The infomercial showed the pie being made from scratch, and even without an actual recipe, I thought well, come on, you can figure this out. So, here it is, probably not exact and really it doesn’t matter. Because this pie is delicious, and it’s vegetarian. That makes it pretty much perfect for me. The question was, would my husband -the carnivore- like it too? Ingredients Vegetarian Butternut- pie: method NOTE: this pie is perfect to serve with roasted potatoes or a wintry salad (e.g. with pear and walnuts), or as a new twist in your roasted turkey Thanksgiving or Christmas menus. It is a great alternative to pumpkin -or sweet potato pie, or …

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Le Tour 2020 Announced – and it’s GOOD news!

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 Tour, or, if you just give it a year or so chances are it will come virtually on the doorstep wherever you may live. Now WE, are lucky enough to live in the Vendee, one of France’s most popular cycling destinations and home of the Harmonie Mutuelle-Vendee cycling team. Fist-pump! Now, they did announce to talk about the tour, take pictures of the presentation to share on social media etc and so, Monsieur Preudhomme, best tour director ever, don’t mind if we share the good news that next year our Vendeen residents and tourists will not have to travel far to steep themselves in your …

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Journées Régionales de la Visite d’Entreprise – Open Door Days Vendée

For the fourth time since its inception, the public is offered a chance to go behind the scenes of small, medium and large companies spread throughout Pays de la Loire’s departments, including our own beloved Vendée. From October 24th through 26th, sectors such as industry, craft industry, agribusinesses, building, environment, oenology, fashion, transport, services and more open their doors to the public. The open doors are a unique opportunity to allow young and old, families and schoolchildren, job seekers or the  curious, to discover company histories, to get an idea of the techniques used to manufacture products we may or may not be familiar with,  to understand the organization or the production from A – Z. The public is invited to a screening of a film about the history of the company, a presentation of the group’s activities and a visit of all its workshops. The world industry leader of agricultural machines …

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Halloween in the Vendée

Halloween originated as the Celtic and Gallic feast of Samain some 2,500 years ago, a feast during which our ancestors celebrated the end of summer and the impending arrival of the new year. It was believed this passage of time opened a gap between the real and the imaginary world, allowing the spirits of the dead to come and haunt the living.  It was believed that the bridge between the two worlds canceled their invisibility. The feast of Semain was a week of celebration with abundant feasts, ritual sacrifices, divine chastisements. Enter your location for directions to Chateau de Talmont Enter your location for directions to the Vendee aquarium Enter your location for directions to Odyssea PLEASE NOTE: This beautiful garden is closed in 2019 and 2020. NO EVENTS SCHEDULED. Their traditional Halloween event will return in 2021. Enter your location for directions to Le château Renaissance d’Apremont Enter your location for directions …

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Landmark English Bar Le Clemenceau in Mouilleron-en-Pareds closes its doors

We are sad to announce the closure of our beloved Bar Le Clemenceau, a charming English run café-restaurant in the heart of Mouilleron-en-Pareds (Mouilleron-St-Germain.) Owners Ali and Tim Goodgame closed its doors permanently on Friday, 27th September 2019 after a busy night during which many loyal customers stopped in for the last Vendée Chippy’s fish and chips event in the popular location. For five years Tim and Ali have successfully brought locals, expats, and tourists together through beer, conversation and events. Their hospitality and the lively spirit of the bar played an important part in the community far beyond Mouilleron-en-Pareds. In fact,  whether you stopped in for an apéro or a cream tea, you could always count on a cacophony of languages at Le Clemenceau. Ali says: “We have absolutely loved the last 5 years, but after much thought and quite a few tears, we have decided we would like a …

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Journées du Patrimoine 2019 Vendée – EVENTS

Why do we love the Journées du Patrimoine? For the younger generations it’s important to learn, for tourists an interesting way to travel deeper, and by travelling local, expats embark on yet another avenue in the multi-faceted integration process. Heritage = treasure! Plan ahead to make it an adventure on 21 and 22 September this year [2019]! ABOUT THIS LIST: we have done our best to mine the Internet for as much information as possible. We may have missed some locations, but there are simply so many events – we think no matter where you are in the Vendée, this will allow you to build a comprehensive itinerary for both days! Please use the ‘directions’ links to plug in your point of departure to get directions specific to you! Share this Post

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Bakery at Mouilleron-Saint-Germain is re-opening!

After the rather abrupt closure of the popular bakery in the village formerly known as Mouilleron-en-Pareds followed by many months of the Vival shop serving as bread-depot, there is finally good news for the community of Mouilleron-Saint Germain! The bakery is reopening on  Thursday, September 19th, at 06h30 with Vincent and Sébastien (bakers) and Adeline and Léa (pastry chefs) Merci Mouilleron-Saint-Germain, Vincent, Sébastien, Adeline and Léa! Share this Post

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Photography tips part 2: Social Media

Imagery can cause an instant click in the web-user’s mind.  There are simple things you can do to raise the visual impact of your business representation on social media. Following the steps of our basic tips and tricks will take your various online shop windows from amateur, to professional, in just a few simple steps! First, let’s recap! As mentioned in our ebook “23 Effective Marketing Strategies for your Hospitality Business” (we’re giving it away, just let us know you want it!), visually striking content is part of the psychology of the Internet. Along with interesting written content, it a driving force of what keeps us searching and clicking. So, ask yourself, compared to the images you pursue online, the images that make you feel an emotion, how does your own social media feed hold up? Are you giving the user what you yourself enjoy? No matter the format of …

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Prehistoric Vendée

One of the most unique features of the Vendée is the opportunity it lends to travel from time period to time period throughout history, and even pre-history. With evidence of life in the area dating back to Neolithic times, the Vendée proves ideal to take the entire family on a fun learning expedition away from school! The graph below left shows early neolithic movement originating from the south-east of Europe. There was a gradual progression of behavioral and cultural practices such as the creation of settlements, the use of wild and domestic crops, and of the domestication of animals. Crops included lentils, einkorn wheat, millet, and spelt, By about 6,900–6,400 BC, in addition to the keeping of dogs, sheep and goat, farming also included domesticated cattle and pigs. The center graph shows a map of prehistoric locations in the Vendée today.  Scroll down for a comprehensive list (not including the monuments that were removed or destroyed or became a part of …

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Support Fête de l’Agriculture de Vendée & your local farmers!

We bid you caution: large machines and fascination ahead! Let us tell you all about how and where you can support our local farmers and the young Vendées farmers association  whose annual festival is one of our top recommended events in the Vendée! We don’t even mind telling you: we had so much fun during the 2018 edition we gave up on taking pictures so we could fully immerse ourselves in the experience! France, land of agriculture – with over half of its territory dedicated to farming, France is responsible for nearly one fifth of agricultural revenue in Europe (or 1.5% of French GDP). The raising of livestock and cultivation of crops is as important now as it was centuries ago. Nurturing the flavours of the land (terroir) and the trade that follows, has not changed. Consumer demand, however, has. The average Joe’s lifestyle is bigger and busier than ever; we travel …

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Another drought! Prefecture decree ceasing unnecessary use of water in the Vendée

Summer 2019 appears to be a repeat of summer 2018 in the Vendee and across France. In fact after last year’s drought, nature hasn’t adequately recovered. While Thursday evening a few hours of rain was enough to cool us down and make the air crisp again, it was the first rain we saw in weeks and with another heatwave on the horizon, the department has issued a decree to cease all unnecessary use of water! Share this Post

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Make it a Saturday in Fontenay-le-Comte!

Located on the banks of the Vendée river and historically the former capital of the Vendée, Fontenay-le-Comte is picturesque at any day of the week. But on Saturday mornings there’s a popular market we don’t want you to miss! Like the rest of the Vendée, the area of what is today the beautiful city of Fontenay-Le-Comte has seen settlements since prehistoric times. The land was rich with game for the hunting, and at the time the area bordered the Gulf of Poitou which meant abundant fishing. For a long time, Fontenay was a port on the ocean. On the small islands dotting the Gulf, abbeys were taking shape under Roman rule. Throughout the next centuries, monks used an ingenious way to claim the land and make it fertile, creating a vast landscape of canals used for transportation and irrigation known today as the Marais Poitevin. The city must have been …

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Present your business with GOOD images! PART 1: food

Imagery can cause an instant click in the web-user’s mind. Time and time again. It explains why travel -and food photography has become so important online. Do you feel like that’s not you? We don’t want you to worry! There are simple things you can do to raise the visual impact of your online business platforms, social media and/ or website. They are, after all, the windows to your services. Our tips and tricks are especially written for people who feel overwhelmed by the digital side of the business. They will help you to bring various shop windows from amateur, to professional; and help boost your picture repository to use for months to come! As mentioned in our ebook “23 Effective Marketing Strategies for your Hospitality Business” (we’re giving it away!), we mention that psychology is very much a part of  the picture for our online presence. If button colours …

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The days to avoid driving in France this summer

Summer is HERE, and not just in the form of the first heatwave of 2019! Nope. We mean traffic… T.R.A.F.F.I.C! After the shortest night of the year (summer solstice), European schools gear up for the summer holidays. Fortunately, to keep order in chaos, the end of school is staggered from country to country and even divided into zones within countries. Belgian schools let out on the last weekday of June. and France at the end of the first week in July. The Netherlands on the other hand divides its end-of-school-days in zones south, north, and middle and sends its children on holiday (in that order) on July 6th, 13th and 20th in 2019. Germany, a much larger country, consists of even more zones starting about mid-June through end-July. According to Schengen.com (Schengen visa area’s website), France remains the most popular travel destination in Europe with over eighty-one-million worldwide visitors per year! …

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Did you feel that? Earthquake in the Vendée!

An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.3 on the Richter scale struck throughout the region of Pays de la Loire on Friday, June 21st, 2019. Around 06h50 UTC – 08h50 local time – a loud noise was followed by a 10-to-15 second tremor. The epicenter [47.172°N 0.597°W] was located some 3.4km deep west-north-west of Vihiers, a commune of Maine-et-Loire some 31km south of Angers. The quake was felt as far as the south-Vendée and Niort. Needless to say social media shook quite instantly with people wondering what had happened or even excitedly posting the “freaky” occurrence. Some had never experienced or even felt a quake before and were as curious as shaken up about it. Fortunately, there are no reported injuries or property damage, but there are reports of aftershocks. The last time an earthquake occurred was in February 2018 and the force was like Friday’s. Earthquakes happen more often; …

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Fête de la Musique: a worldwide phenomenon rooted in France

Let’s be honest… what better way–major sporting events, war or natural disasters aside–to find solidarity and companionship, other than experiencing [live] music?! Don’t you agree? Should it be any surprise that the Fête de la Musique (or Music Day, or Make Music Day or World Music Day), has grown to be a world-wide phenomenon each year on 21 June? Music is so many things! To the ears, to our sense of rhythm and self-expression, to our emotions and need for togetherness, to being lost in a performance, music speaks a common, universal, language. But to what do we owe the annual celebration of music and why is it on June 21st? The concept Since that day in 1982 the idea has taken root in many countries across the globe including Belgium, China, India, Germany, Jamaica, Italy, Greece, Russia, Australia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and over 100 more! …

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About Les Journées du Patrimoine de Pays et des Moulins

The Heritage Days of Land and Mills are a national event highlighting the heritage of the French countryside and its diversity takes place every third weekend in June. Perhaps less known than its Journées Patrimoines sister-event which takes place every 3rd weekend in September, Les Journées du Patrimoine de Pays et des Moulins was created to honour, celebrate and share heritage, landscapes and traditional know-how. Too often, history is presented as an abstract, depicted on a national scale. Living in an area so culturally and historically rich as the Vendée, it’s sort of normal to drive through the landscape without seeing it. We become conditioned to the vast contours of an ancient castle, or the wings of a windmill frozen against the horizon. But if history were presented as a puzzle, its many individual pieces are the parts that form the whole picture and they were created not in a …

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Why your website matters more than ever

So, here’s a question: before the Internet, would you ever have considered starting a business without being listed in the Yellow Pages? Recently, during a business lunch with a group of fellow small business people, someone said to me that he had canceled his website. I’m not sure I managed not to physically cringe. When I asked for a further explanation, that person explained that the website received zero traffic. He had even paid someone to update it, but this had not generated traffic either. Ergo, the website received the ax. Have you ever felt the need to erase your entire online business presence? Or, do you believe a Facebook business page, and/or a listing on a travel e-commerce website provide enough exposure? The truth is that clients and potential customers want to find your services at their fingertips. And by this I don’t mean via the Yellow Pages. Phone …

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SSL Recommendations for your small business website explained

As a small business owner with a website advertising your goods, from products to services to the tourism industry, you might be aware of news reports indicating trends are evolving toward all sites being updated with an SSL certificate. In other words, making a website ‘private’ through encryption, making it more secure. Why it is so important for 2018, and is compliance required? We have been asked this question often in recent weeks, and in the same breath we hear people being told that website encryption may be an unnecessary expense for them. Up until recently, this was true, but only if a website was not handling sensitive personal data e.g. with log-in, password, email, payment information, etc. Before 2018, there were already two major reasons to fortify your website with an SSL certificate: What encryption does, is hide your http://yourwebsite behind a closed door, which is indicated in the …

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Your business with Google

If you’re one of those small business proprietors who haven’t figured why you and Google should be like two peas in a pod, you are not alone! AND this blog post is definitely for you. In our blog post Why your Website matters more than ever we have discussed why it’s important in today’s marketing world, to have a website. But it’s important to understand that gaining traffic to a website is not as simple as ‘having a website’. There are many more components to being seen online than meets the eye. You see, to be found by the almighty Google search engines and for your information to be shared with their users (that is, persons using Google to perform Internet searches), it is vital to register – or CLAIM- your business with them. But there is more: But there’s more! BEST PRACTICE TIP: to avoid an out of control …

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A look at 2019 travel trends

The higher purpose of social media – It was bound to happen that social media would become a goldmine for measuring travel statistics and especially trends. In addition to tourism statistics released annually by your local tourism board such as the Vendée Tourism Studies 2017 (French only), social media can offer useful insight into how our travel habits as a society evolve over time. Especially Pinterest and Instagram have become the go-to research -and travel journal medium for travellers. Over-tourism – iconic destinations live not only in our own dreams and goals, but in that of just about everybody. Who doesn’t want a holiday in Paris or Barcelona or Rome or New York or London, the French or Spanish Mediterranean? In fact, the most popular places are probably at the top of our own bucket-lists more often than not. In some ways these destinations are the victim of their own success. Overcrowding …

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Medieval Festivals 2019

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 2019 Share this Post

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Asparagus for breakfast, lunch & dinner

Before I share these simple meals there are three things you should know about me: I love an elaborate breakfast, try to limit my meat intake and [un]fortunately I’m the only one in the house who loves asparagus! Which means I don’t buy them often and when I do, I feel compelled to make the most of them. Read through the entire article to see how. Being Flemish, I must say that Asparagus à la Flamande is one of my favourite appetizers ever, so simple and with a surprising burst of flavour. My grandmother-of-the-heart was crazy about the ‘white gold’ of the Belgian soil and prepared them every which way possible while asparagus were in season, but her favourite was Cream of Asparagus Soup which means I always have to make my own version of it in her honour. But as mentioned I do love an elaborate breakfast, especially on a …

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In the footsteps of Georges Clemenceau

When Georges Clemenceau left his birth village of Mouilleron-en-Pareds to take him to great heights and across the world, the Vendee stayed forever in his heart. We have lined up the places that were important to this very unique French president. Who was Georges Clemenceau? –  The enigmatic and much adored Vendéen-born Clemenceau was a controversial figure strong in journalism as well as politics. After spending his childhood here, he went on to Nantes where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Letters (1858) at the Lycée. After this achievement, Clemenceau went on to Paris to study medicine, (graduating in 1865) where he became a political activist and author. At the onset of his career as a senator, Clemenceau was a radical socialist in an extremely conservative senate. However, it wasn’t until after he broke away from the socialist party in 1906, that he became premier or prime minister of France …

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Le Puy du Fou for Notre Dame Cathedral

Has it been just hours since fire ravaged France’s most majestic cathedral? Did it really happen? In the Vendée we share immense sadness with the rest of France – and the world – for seeing the 855-year old structure so badly damaged. WHEN: Friday, June 7, at 22h30 (10:30PM) TICKETS ON SALE AT THE PARK FROM 17TH APRIL OR ONLINE from April 18th  A HUGE THANK  YOU to Le Puy du Fou for this BRILLIANT idea!  Share this Post

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To the Vendee with children: a DIVERSE 5-day itinerary!

The Vendée offers sightseeing and adventure for the whole family. This beautiful area is also ideally located for travelers looking for a more all-round vacation in France. We have a ready-made travel route for them, with at the heart of it … the Vendée! A 5-day itinerary with a purpose  – Any number of  activities in the Vendée could fill weeks of travelling fun with the family. Not everything is history orientated. From water parks to karting, paintball, amusement parks, rock climbing and sports on and off the water, really, it’s no wonder so many visitors choose to return to the Vendée again and again… or simply stay an entire summer. A taste of France through Paris, the Vendée and its medieval history, island life, and the Loire Valley – Unfortunately this is not an option for everybody: those who travel a great distance at significant expense, with a curiosity …

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New proprietors at Café Cour du Miracle in Vouvant

We have the honour to announce a change of ownership at our beloved Café Cour du Miracle, a charming English run café-restaurant located at the heart of one of France’s petites-cités-de-charactere, Vouvant. Karen and Paul. the current proprietors, have announced their retirement! For nine years they were part of the community in Vouvant and the surrounding area, serving great food and afternoon teas with a warm welcome. Karen says: “We have enjoyed our time at Cour du Miracle. We’ve met lovely people over the years, tourists and locals alike. We have good memories to carry away with us. Now it’s time to travel and enjoy our retirement. We have plans!” Paul and Karen would like to thank everybody for their loyal patronage and support over the years and they hope to see you in or around the Vendée. In recent weeks the new owners, Suzanne and Dean Richards, have been …

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How to use our marketing ebook

Let’s keep this introduction very simple! We wrote our little ebook simply to provide information on the techniques you can apply to your Vendéen (or any) small business to gain more attention on social media and drive more traffic to your website (tip# 1). If you’d like to learn how to marry your physical business with good digital business practices and the Internet – resulting in visibility and (ultimately) sales, we encourage you read it. Grab pen and notebook. Roll up your sleeves.  By moving today’s digital marketing trends and techniques from theory to practice, your online presence will gain its footing. The ebook contains 23 tips, some of which already contain a little more information, and some of which will be further unraveled in related blog posts. THE GOAL OF “23 EFFECTIVE MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR YOUR HOSPITALITY BUSINESS” HOW THE eBOOK WILL BENEFIT YOUR SMALL-BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Talking about yourself …

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Castles to see in the Vendée

Not all chateaux in the Vendée are open to the public. In fact, many are privately owned, often with holiday accommodations available. Our selection represents the Vendéen castles open to the public, in season. Is the Vendée paved with castles like its neighbouring Loire Valley? – No, it isn’t. There are numerous (neo)-renaissance-style castles and even some art-nouveau style castles – many of them private. Some are for sale so if you would like to venture into the footsteps of the Intrepid Chatelaine (Instagram) of Chateau de Bourneau in the Vendéen village of Bourneau, let their journey  of renovation be a beautiful inspiration to you and give them a follow!  It’s all about the medieval – But if you know just a little bit about the  history of the Vendée, it’s no wonder medieval times are so revered. The legacy of Vendéen ancestors, whose blood runs through its very soil, …