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Beaujolais Nouveau: what’s the hype?

The Gamay grapevines that lend the Beaujolais Nouveaux their unique taste are cultivated over only 30,000 hectares … in the world. Half of these vineyards are located in France, just north of Lyon, in the southern part of the Beaujolais AOC. More particularly, they cover 97% of the Beaujolais region. The Gamay grapes, a variety conceived by crossing the vines of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc, make excellent wines for ageing. But those wines are not what this post is about. Curious about the hype around the annual release of the Beaujolais Nouveau vintage on the third Thursday of November, we went in search of the what, the where, the who, and in this quest, discovered perhaps the more important—the why—of this story. We discovered it’s not **just** about the wine!History of Beaujolais Nouveaux – The Gamay grapes have been established in the Beaujolais region north of Lyon since the …

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The history of France’s most iconic cookie: the Macaron

Macarons are a staple treat sold at many French bakeries and cafés. Resting row after colorful row in the shop displays, these most delicate of cookies cause little explosions on the senses from the first-glance to the first bite. Macarons are as delicate as they are seductive; as versatile as they are difficult to make, and as humble as they are a luxurious gift to yourself or a loved one. Macarons are a cornerstone of French culture, tucked into a fancy box. How did this cookie become so iconic? How did it know its beginnings? And where?History of macarons – Macarons as we know them today have gone through an evolution dating back to the 8th Century. Whilst the early macaron is said to know its birth in Italian monestaries, the fact that the pastry is based on almonds points to an origin in the Arabic kitchen. Centuries ago the …

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Christmas Markets 2022 in the Vendée

NOTE: INTHEVENDEE.COM IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR EVENT CHANGES OR CANCELLATIONSSaturday 19th November *Sainte-Cécile 85110   Stade, Rue de l’Aublonnière, L’Aublonnière from 10h00 – 20h00 *Saint Gilles Croix de Vie 85800   Halles de la Vie from 9h30 to 19h00 *Sallertaine 85300  RECOMMENDED    Ile des Artisans! Fête des Lumières from 14h00 to 21h00 at Centre Bourg Sunday 20th  November *Sainte-Cécile 85110   Stade, Rue de l’Aublonnière, L’Aublonnière from 10h00 – 20h00 *Sallertaine 85300  RECOMMENDED     ! Fête des Lumières centre-bourg from 11h00 to 19h00 Friday 25th November *Avrillé 85440   Place des Halles from 16h00 to 22h00 Saturday 26th November *Beaufou 85170   Centre ville from 10h00 to 22h00 *Bellevigny 85170   *Salle du Quadrille from 15h00 – 20h00   *École des Chaumes from 16h30 *Champ-Saint-Père 85540   Ecole saint Pierre, rue du petit Paris from 10h00 to 18h00 *Chavagnes-en-Paillers 85250   École Nazareth, Rue des Écoles, La Gerbaudière …

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Journées Européennes du Patrimoine 2022 in the Vendee

Welcome to the European Heritage days 2022! In the Vendée, that is. The 3rd weekend of September ranks among the best weekends of the year in France! It is the perfect weekend to challenge yourselves with a sprint 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. How mental the sightseeing tour is entirely up to you. We tend to drive between 300 and 400km in two days, our destinations mapped either in a loop, or chosing a gem farther afield with things to see along the way. Here’s a list of options  in 2022. This year’s theme is sustainable patrimony.The history of the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine or European HeritageThe French Ministry of Culture began the event  La Journée Portes Ouvertes in 1984. In the …

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How to best stay cool in a heat wave! Plus the three heat-related syndromes

The second week of July 2022 will bring another heat wave throughout France. The Vendée will also be hit hard with temperatures of over 37 degrees Celsius. Here are some tips on how to keep your body cool during a huge heat, what you can do to keep the house cool, and the three heat-related syndromes that keep emergency services very busy during a heat wave. Be safe!BODY HEALTH DURING A HEAT WAVE DRINK WATER DON’T WAIT TO BE THIRSTY TO DRINK WATER OR SOMETHING WITH ELECTROLYTES. AVOID CAFEINE DON’T DRINK ALCOHOL IF YOU DO MAKE SURE YOU DRINK ALCOHOL LOTS OF WATER IN BETWEEN. STAY IN THE SHADE OR KEEP INDOORS WEAR LOOSE CLOTHING AVOID STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES INCL EXCERSIZE KNOW WHICH PARTS OF YOUR BODY ARE THE WARMEST AND COOL THEM DOWN – e.g. YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE A SWIMMING POOL, A BUCKET WITH COLD WATER TO STICK YOUR …

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Best Vendée chateaux to visit with children

All summer long the Vendée offers fantastic opportunities to explore medieval life. Certainly le Puy du Fou our world renowned historical theme park is a place where you can do that and where your family will have a fabulous time. But if that’s not in your budget, never fear. There are other opportunities to step back in time. In the following article we share the castles where you can bear witness to fierce reenactments, play games, and dive head first in a world of imagination. Enjoy!The following are navigation images. Click a castle image to be taken to its info.Château d’Apremont Château d’Apremont was established in the XIth century atop a rocky cliff overlooking the Vie river, both elements forming a clever natural defense of the castle which was only accessible via the north. In fact the ruined castle that can be visited anno 2020 is the remainder of both …

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COVID-19 Vendée

While there are no official changes in the status of the rules, the numbers are going up again just slightly due to new variants and increased travel. Do stay vigilant. Wear a mask when in close proximity to others, wash and disinfect your hands, keep your distance. Unless there are significant changes announced by the government or department, this article will not be updated.  We invite you to follow included links for the latest official updates. Have a great summer! 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 …

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2022 Evening markets in the Vendée

inthevendee.com is not responsible for cancellations or changes to this schedule. Changes can happen at any moment due to weather or the pandemic situation. Please check local “mairie” (townhall websites) for (last minute) announcements or call the nearest Office de Tourisme. Friday July 1st 2022 ** Saint Jean de Monts 85160 from 21h00 Avenue de la Mer and the Avenue des Demoiselles **Saint Gilles Croix de Vie 85800 from 20h00 Place du Vieux Port and the Place du Marché aux Herbes ** NEW! Vouvant 85120 from 17h00 to 21h00 Place du Bail (local products) Saturday July 2nd 2022 ** Saint Jean de Monts 85160 from 21h00 Avenue de la Mer and the Avenue des Demoiselles **Saint Gilles Croix de Vie 85800 from 20h00 Place du Vieux Port and the Place du Marché aux Herbes Sunday July 3rd 2022 ** Saint Jean de Monts 85160 from 21h00 Avenue de la Mer …

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Spam phone calls in France? Here’s what you can do!

UPDATE: AT THE BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER 2022 IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT COLD CALLERS MUST NOW USE A 09 NUMBER TO CALL. IT WILL THEREFORE BECOME EASIER TO RECOGNIZE WHEN NOT TO ANSWER THE PHONE. [admin 09/09/2022] Do you have a business and receive tons of cold calls from entities trying to sell a product or services? We feel your pain! Phone operators in France are obligated to add your number to a liste rouge, where your number will not be published in a directory or given out for commercial or other reasons; or to a liste orange which is supposed to avoid marketing calls.  Even if you don’t have a business these types of spam calls seem a real problem in France.  But, especially for businesses this is proving to be a difficult problem – we can’t imagine surviving with a business number on a simple landline. It makes the phone …

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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 BOURNEAU Saturday 9 July 2022 – Sunday 10 July 2022 Zaterdag 9 juli 2022  14:00 – 22:30 Zondag 10 juli 2022   09:00 – 21:30 On Saturday afternoon and Sunday, there will be entertainment around medieval camps with archers, sword fights, candle making, exhibitions of coins, tools, crockery….. – On Saturday at 7pm, the town will host a free show “La brigade de dépollution” as part of the Ricochets …

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The Avian Flu is back (Vendée under restrictions)

We are in bird migratory season. As of March 11, 2022, France has detected 649 outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in livestock, 36 cases in wildlife and 15 cases in backyards. Since the end of February, outbreaks of HPAI have increased sharply in the Pays de la Loire. In the departments of Vendee and Loire-Atlantique new measures have had to be deployed to help slow the spread of the virus. We’ve gathered information on the latest measures for you, including links to the official decrees issued by the French Ministry of Agriculture, maps of detection zones, interactive maps etc. In all, thirty-four countries are affected by the HPAI virus on the whole of the European continent.UPDATE JUNE 2022 The restrictions have been lifted. Set your chickens freeeeeee!!!  UPDATE 22/04/2022 The French Ministry of Agriculture has decided to increase measures in those areas where H1N1 appears to be spreading …

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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 nature & wildlife spots in the Vendée

Ask any locals and returning tourists, and they’ll tell you the Vendée is so beloved because of its moderate ocean climate and because of its tranquility. Vendée is indeed an excellent place to relax with a good book and birdsong! It is also an excellent holiday choice if you enjoy hiking, or wish to practice hobbies such as photography and birding. It is an excellent choice for observing fauna and flora in natural environments, as well as to discover patrimony and old trading customs. Sometimes the two go hand-in-hand. In this article, we share the most excellent spots to discover nature’s joys in the Vendée. We hope you enjoy our (very random) selection!La Cité des Oiseaux – TOP CHOICE Don’t miss this incredible nature reserve located on one of the largest North-South migratory routes for birds, making it a major ornithological center. The Cité des Oiseaux (bird city) is one …

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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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Tiger mosquitos & allergies! Oh NO!

I’m a buffet. It’s true. And, I hate mosquitos. One of my earliest memories is of hearing that annoying high pitched singing in my ears. I didn’t know what it was. But I knew I didn’t like it. When the existence of mosquitos was explained to me, I didn’t like it so much that it became a point of teasing in my family. What’s for lunch? I’d ask, scratching at bites. Fried mosquitos. With frites and mayonnaise. Seriously. I didn’t know then what I do now… decades later I’d have  a real enemy in my life… the tiger mosquito.On my list of reasons to move away from the Deep South of the US, this wicked beast was a thing. A reason to move. A near-plea to take me away from the sub-tropics where they thrive. Yes, I was aware of the migration pattern of the tiger mosquito in Europe and …

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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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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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The history of May First in France

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

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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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The many uses of Colza

The consumption of rapeseed oil begins so much sooner than fries and a salad on our plates. It begins right rain and sunshine turn the Vendéen fields into stunning expanses of bright yellow flowers, and a drive through the countryside makes the heart sing with the joy of spring. Rapeseed or colza was born from a cross between cabbage and rape that happened naturally, one of nature’s gifts to the world. The plant was first cultivated in China during the Antiquity i.e. before the Middle Ages. In the 18th century it was introduced in Scandinavian countries, Flanders, and Germany. Despite its unfortunate name, rapeseed has many a benefit, and in this article we’ll show you why.What’s in a name – The term ‘rapeseed’ comes from the Latin Brassica napus L. and belongs to the Brassicaceae family, formerly called crucifers. The corolla of the colza flower is made up of four …

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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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When the Vendée looks like Mars

What’s going on, Vendée? On the morning of March 15th, 2022, we awoke to cloudy skies exuding a hue of orange, as if we had suddenly landed in a bizarre Martian-colored landscape.  The haze in the air and the fine reddish dust coating everything here today is Saharan Dust.  It comes from the Sahara Desert, and consists of mineral dust produced by wind-driven erosion. The dust is actually vital for marine and land-based life as it is rich in micronutrient iron, which is important for marine bacteria and phytoplankton. In the Amazon Basin, most of the phosphorus comes from aeolian (wind) dust. According to NASA’s website, “Normally, hundreds of millions of tons of dust are picked up from the deserts of Africa and blown across the Atlantic Ocean each year.” These dust storms can fertilize soils in the Amazon, degrade air quality, impact hurricane development, and even shape Caribbean beaches. The Saharan …

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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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Wildflowers in the Vendée

If you have toured around France, you might have noticed that the roadsides are often covered in a wealth of wildflowers. One of many joys of living in France, including the Vendée, is that the villages typically maintain these verges two or three times each year, but when the flowers pop out in spring, they are left to bloom to their heart’s content. Their beauty, as we await with bated breath the vastly blooming fields of sunflowers, make the Vendée countryside a pleasure to roam around with no particular destination in mind. In spring and summer even on a quick to-and-fro for groceries one’s heart sings with the abundance of wildflowers. In autumn, the forest floor reveals carpets of wild cyclamen and searching for crocus feels as much like a treasure hunt as foraging for mushrooms. In this article, we give you a rundown of the species you might encounter …

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Beijing Olympics: Vendée snowboardcross star Chloé Trespeuch wins the SILVER medal!

AN ACCOMPLISHED RIDER The Vendée may be our adopted home, but we waited with bated breath through the qualifications and the final of snowboardcross at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter games where Vendéen Chloé Trespeuch was set to race. And racing she did… earning a medal for the second time at the ultimate tournament an athlete can achieve! We can’t hide, yours truly was screaming at the television, making the movements of the track along with the crossers as if that would make a difference for Chloé. After winning the Bronze at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, Chloe was challenged by the pressure she put on herself to win and a difficult rehabilitation after having suffered a few serious injuries. On 10th February 2022, she was ecstatic to confirm what a phenomenal athlete she is! And we are so happy for her.Born on April 13, 1994 in Bourg Saint Maurice. our …

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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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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 your …

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FOR SALE: beautiful harpsichord and piano

Cottage Grand Piano  Anno 1873 John Broadwood & Sons Completely restored in 2013 to original condition (invoices available at 3872€) and has been tuned regularly since. Beautiful example, lovely tone, metal frame. All offers around 3900€ considered. ITEMS NOW SOLD.Harpiscord DOLMETSCH This lovely preserved instrument is around 80 years or older. It is in superb condition, though 1 string is in need of replacement. Dismantles into carry case. Includes original key and tuning key. Small instrument with a powerful sound. Offers of around 1500 Euro consideredTHESE ITEMS HAVE NOW SOLD. IF YOU HAVE LARGE, BEAUTIFUL ITEMS OF CULTURAL VALUE FOR SALE, DO CONTACT US. WE CAN HELP YOU SPREAD THE WORD TO THE RIGHT AUDIENCES. STARTING PRICE 75 EURO incl. photos, not incl. transportation to you, not incl. your chosen budget for online adverts + admin fee for this work (zero is an option)…no commission! Contact:  admin@inthevendee.com Share this Post