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COVID-19 Vendée

Per the website of the Gouvernment, the following announcement was made on 28-4-2021: “President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron announced in an interview a deconfinement in four progressive stages, from May 3 to June 30, conditional on the health situation in each department. These national measures may be tempered by “emergency brakes” in territories where the virus is circulating at a rate of above 400 infections per 100,000 inhabitants; sudden increase in the rate; risk of saturation of resuscitation services.” First stage: May 3, 2021 End of attestations and travel restrictions. Second stage: May 19, 2021 Curfew from 9PM to 6AM and reopening of shops, terraces, museums, cinemas and theaters with limited capacity. Third stage: June 9, 2021 Curfew from 11PM to 6AM and reopening of indoor cafés and restaurants and sports halls. Relaxation of teleworking, in consultation with the social partners at company level. Open for tourism. Fourth stage: …

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Springtime coral lentil soup (v)

Healthy and refreshing Cool mornings and warm afternoons can be a bit of a puzzle when it comes to figuring out what to eat. It’s too warm for hearty winter fare yet, too cold for summer food. If you’re the go-to cook at your house, you know the happy medium can be frustrating to achieve. Well, here’s a wonderful little recipe to the rescue: this coral (or red) lentil soup will warm your bones and give you a taste of summer all in one healthy bowl-full. The secret ingredient? Lemon! Ingredients and preparation – springtime coral lentil soup (vegetarian) 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped 1 large carrot, chopped small 1/3 cup of finely chopped bell pepper (paprika) – trio (red, green, yellow) 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 tsp. ground coriander 1 tsp. ground cumin 1/2 tsp. sweet …

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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 Valley VIth 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 …

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Green lentil & tabbouleh salad with feta and endive (v)

Packed with nutrients Learning about lentils was quite eye-opening. Of all the legumes I love, I’ve probably cooked with lentils the least. No idea why, but it’s going to change. Experimenting with different recipes to bookend our article about green lentil agriculture in the Vendée, I fell in love with this (vegetarian/ vegan) salad. I knew bulgur loves lemon, and that lentils love lemon. Put the three ingredients together, and it’s like a new trinity. The perfect combo that not only tastes fresh and delicious, but is so full of nutrition that even Popeye might completely burst out of his clothes. Enjoy it for lunch with fresh pita, or with some lean chicken or fish, or as I did accompanied by an endive salad and you’ll know you’ve done something good for your body. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do! Ingredients and preparation – Tabbouleh & green lentil …

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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 …

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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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Asparagus for breakfast, lunch & dinner

Before I share these simple meals there are three things you should know: I love an elaborate breakfast, try to limit my meat intake and [un]fortunately I’m the only one in the house who really loves to eat asparagus! Which means I always have a supply of the jarred white as well as green asparagus in the pantry as a quick go-to veg when I want soup or something special with either a hot lunch or a salad. That spring is one of my favourite seasons is no secret, but part of that is because there are fresh asparagus to come by. Buying fresh asparagus is not necessarily cheap though and that’s why I feel compelled to make the most of them! In this recipe post you’ll learn how I split 1 to 2 bundles of white asparagus into 3 portions + 1 jar for 4 meals (this is 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 …

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Brownies

Outside of the people who are allergic to chocolate or don’t enjoy chocolate… who doesn’t love a well-prepared brownie? Since the very first time I tried one many years ago, I have learned and re-learned one golden rule about baking brownies: creating the perfect brownie is not just baking. It’s an art form. Why? Because a brownie is not cake. A brownie is not fudge. The perfect brownie is something in between: a thin layer of crunch on the outside, followed by what’s not quite a cake structure, and semi-gooey center. Best consumed a little warm with a scoop of vanilla-perfumed ice cream and a little warm chocolate sauce. Ingredients and preparation – Brownies For 6 – 9 people About 2 cups (392 gr) sugar, it may be less if you want to experiment 1 cup melted butter that has cooled (you can also use vegetable oil) 4 eggs – …

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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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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, …

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Super easy apple tart

Someone in my house doesn’t love cooked apples (hint, it’s not me!). But I’ve finally come up with an ‘apple pie’ – actually it’s an apple tart – that my husband likes. Hurrah! What’s even better, it’s super fast and super easy to make. Honestly, if you mess this one up, just maybe it’s time to avoid the kitchen altogether. But this might just be the dessert that proves you DO belong in the kitchen, and it’s easy for beginners and children too! A timer and some aluminum foil is recommended! This lovely apple tart is prep to table in under an hour. Ready for after lunch coffee or tea? Ingredients and preparation For up to 6 people pâte feuilletée (puff pastry) – 1 pie crust (ROUND) 4 to 5 cooking apples (start with 4) 3 tablespoons sugar (regular or dark brown) 3 tablespoons butter 1 lemon 1 teaspoon of …

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Scampi Diabolique (devil prawns)

FROM BAR FOOD, TO FANCY APPETIZER, TO MAIN COURSE Prawns or scampi diabolique is an absolute staple in any restaurant or pub where I come from. In a restaurant it might be offered as an appetizer or a main course; and in a pub setting it’s the perfect dish to accompany a bottle of wine, friendly conversation… a boozy night on the town. I like the latter purpose of devil shrimp, served with crusty baguette to dip into the spicy sauce. You’ll find many ways to prepare this lovely dish and in time I’m sure you’ll choose one and make it your own. In my kitchen, I make the “short” version with help from the supermarket. I use canned lobster bisque as a base for my sauce. It’s a personal favorite for me, something that is both humble and fancy. For guests I may serve it with rice or fresh …

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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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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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Simple tips to boost online visibility and direct bookings

At inthevendee.com we have been fierce supporters of direct bookings versus OTA (online travel agency) bookings long before it became a movement. It’s painful seeing small businesses in our community commit a significant percentage of their income to online travel agencies whilst losing a grip on direct bookings. We understand the Internet. We understand that the relationship between hospitality businesses and OTA’s can become toxic. Hospitality proprietors need 100% of their booking revenues to live, to reinvent, and to maintain their business. We’re not saying not to use OTA’s. We’re saying, get in front of them. Here are some tips and tricks to take back control over direct bookings. Internet marketing is a long-term strategy. So, start now! 1. WEBSITE IS YOUR TOP MARKETING TOOL (but not the only one) We’re not making this up! You need to have a modern, responsive and active website for online marketing purposes. If …

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Three cultures. one meal: Shepherd’s Pie à la Flamande

Two cultures, one meal… it’s fusion to make the angels sing! I love jamming two cultures together, combining flavors and textures of meals that I love, that I know for sure my husband will love, AND that I can easily turn into a vegetarian meal without compromising anything. Shepherd’s pie – or parmentier – is such a dish. The city I was born – Ghent in Belgium – was historically a very important port in northern Europe, one where exotic spices were part of the trade. Add in the refined abbey brews and a need for cheaper cuts of meat among the working class and it should be no surprise these ingredients found their way into a stew that has kept its reputation as a delicacy throughout the centuries. Since the first published recordings in the 1800’s, the recipe has not changed indeed, it probably hasn’t since centuries before that. …

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The future of travel examined

For the third spring in a row we have scoured the Internet, travel magazines, world news and statistics to bring you a summary of the expected travel trends. In 2021 it’s certainly not travel bloggers and influencers or sector statistics that show the way forward. This year it will be the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic guiding our travel behaviour. The roll-out of a vaccine presents a light at the end of the tunnel BUT we’re not out of the woods just yet. The average human being is certainly dealing with lockdown fatigue. In this article we’ll be delving into the immediate future of travel: what it looks like in 2021 and beyond, the mindset of travellers in a pandemic, who benefits (and who doesn’t), old and new travel trends. It’s time to rise from the ashes of 2020 like a Phoenix and look the future of travel straight in …

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Putain de merde! Writing 2020 off of my shoulders

The last week of the year is normally a time of reflection for me as it probably is for many people across the globe. At the end of 2020, I vowed not to. Because… why? What was the point? What could I possibly reflect upon more than what I had already demanded of myself, or screamed into my own ears, or lie curled up in a ball worrying about? With the festive season safely behind us and both feet firmly planted into the new year – that’s 2021 in case you were wondering – it’s probably time to write the traumatic experience that was 2020, off of me, and to regain a sense of hope and even a sense of humour about it all. After all… aren’t people going through so much worse on any given day and what the hell do I have to be so sad about? Well. …

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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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My mother’s Frangipane

Not quite a Gallete des Rois but just as delicious! January 6th – the Christian Feast of the Three Kings or the Epiphany – is coming. Traditionally this is a day when a “Galette des Rois” is consumed ‘en masse’ in France. It is a puff pastry filled with almond-based cake or frangipane and a ‘bean’ hidden inside, typically in the form of a small golden crown or a genie lamp. French bakeries and super markets sell this typical delicacy with a golden crown. The person who gets the bean, gets to be King and wear the crown. My mother’s Frangipane doesn’t have the puff pastry but it is super delicious, my personal fav to serve with afternoon coffee or tea. I bake it often because typically I have the ingredients at hand and what’s more, the preparation is quick and easy, and you can’t really mess it up either! My …

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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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Apéro honey-mustard dipping sauce

A versatile sauce for many dishes and we’ve included three! Honey mustard sauce is a very tasty addition to your apéro table. It’s sweet and tangy, it’s sweet and a little bit spicy, and it’s super sweet because it takes no more than five minutes to make and keeps for up to a week. The longer it stores in the fridge, the stronger the flavor. So, if it’s not spicy tasting right when you make it, the next day you’ll catch that hint of cayenne at the back of the throat. It can be served to accompany an array of finger foods. It can be more fatty or more healthy. It can be used for a plethora of things in the kitchen, such as: marinade for barbecue, deviled eggs, as a glaze for a pork roast or ham, as a sauce on a hamburger, glaze for seared ahi tuna, on …

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Apéro Mini Vol-au-Vent

For apéritif we handle them quickly! At our house we are not planning to conjure up a big party menu this Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We don’t have any guests and actually “apéro dining” is something we do every Friday evening anyway; just a lot of snacks we like with a cocktail or a bottle of Cava and a nice movie. For us it’s a cozy, relaxing way to end the week. When I prepare vol-au-vent as a meal, it involves a lot of work and love. “In grandmother’s way” you know… I don’t do that for apéro-dining. First, not much filling is needed for the mini-pastries, and second it shouldn’t take so much of my time. These mini vol-au-vents are tasty AND quick. Ingredients and preparation – mini-vol-au-vent For 24 – 30 mini-pastries 2 chicken breasts cut into small pieces 1/2 lemon – juiced 50g/50g butter and plain …

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Château de la Preuille joins the Dakar Rally in 2021

The Dakar Rally, renowned for being the biggest and toughest off-road race in the world, will have one of our very own Vendéen châtelains among its participants in 2021. In just a few day’s time, Paul Las van Bennekom of Château de la Preuille will be joining the Dakar Press Team for the 7600 kilometer race, a dream come true for the Dutch expat! Founded by Thierry Sabine in 1978, the race formerly known as Paris-Dakar is now called “The Dakar”. From 2009 to 2019 it was forced to move to South-America due to security threats. Since 2020 the drivers face the arduous adventure in Saudi Arabia. Is Paul ready for the challenge? Chasing dreams is par for the course in the life of Paul Las van Bennekom and his wife Sandra. Last year they bought the lovely Château de la Preuille in Saint Hilaire de Loulay located in beautiful …