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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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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 !APRIL and MAY 2022 Vide-Greniers in the VendéeSUNDAY 24th APRIL *Aubigny 85430   Parc de la Tournerie from 7h00 to 18h00. Free entry.  Outdoors, food and drinks. Around 100 stalls. *Avrillé 85440   Place du Champ de Foire from 9h00 to 18h00. Free Entry. A spring market/ empty garden, open to producers, small business and individuals with a surplus of plants, gardening tools, garden furniture etc. 30 stalls *Challans 85300   Salle du Grand Palais de la Foire from 9h00 to 18h00. Free entry. 100 stalls. Food and drinks. * Fontenay-le-Comte 85200    **Espace …

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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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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 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 22/04/2022 The French Ministry of Agriculture has decided to increase measures in those areas where H1N1 appears to be spreading like wildfire. By decree, they have ordered preventive depopulation across the previously …

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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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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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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

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Buying a house in France? How to check Internet speed

That the Internet in large parts of France is slow, is a well-known fact. Since a law was issued by the French government to bring equal high-speed service throughout the country by the end of 2022, you may have seen evidence of fibre being laid down in your communities. Question is, will they reach everybody in the countryside by deadline? We don’t know. For those people who need a potent connection to the world at large for their livelihood, figuring out where to live, indeed, where to purchase a home, the matter of bandwidth and throughput and allotment can be a real issue. To begin with the fact that **most** people, including buyers, sellers and real estate agents when asked about the Internet speeds at a property, will look at their portable phones and say “it’s great, it’s 4G” and believe that has answered the question. We have lined up …

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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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Why oyster shells should be recycled

Do you enjoy a meal of oysters on the half-shell at your favourite restaurant or at home? Recycling programs in coastal regions world-wide, including the Vendée, are popping up just about everywhere to ensure the shells are redeployed as a vital natural resource. Oyster shells provide the best material… to rebuild oyster reefs. As an oyster lover, contributing your household shells back to the reefs is probably the most responsible way to recycle them, but it’s certainly not the only way in which oyster shells can be re-used.What is an oyster shell recycling program – Oyster are a fundamental species for water filtration to maintain estuaries and healthy coastal ecosystems. As a result, oysters are also used to gather information on the overall health of the surrounding ecosystem. Healthy coastlines mean more tourism and water sports, which suggests that oyster reefs provide not only ecological, but also economical and recreational benefits …

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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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Current tax rates in France 2021

SUMMARY of the main rates applied in continental France in 2021: 2.1% for medicines reimbursable by social security, press releases, sale of live animals for slaughter to persons non subject to this tax, 140 first performances of theaters or circuses; 5.5% for products of first necessity and operations having a social utility: this includes food, gas and electricity subscriptions, equipment and services for the elderly and the disabled, supply of heat produced by renewable energies, social housing, work to improve the energy quality of housing, deliveries of works of art made by their author books; 10% mainly for the following operations: Passenger transport, accommodation, furnished rentals or classified camping, certain renovation and maintenance work on housing, restaurants, non-refundable medicines, entrance fees to cinemas, fairgrounds, museums, zoos, cultural sites, exhibitions, etc. 20% for products or transactions that are not subject to 5.5 or 10% rate: all products or services that are not …

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Customs tax on non-EU care packages

As an expats, how much do you love to receive a care package? No matter how old you are, there are always things you miss from home. It could be specific items such as spices or food or coffee… how wonderful is it to respond to a knock on the door only to find your mail person on the doorstop with their arms wrapped around a box of goodies sent by parents, siblings, or friends. Unfortunately, should you choose to accept that package, you might find you’ve just received the most expensive pair of your favorite socks ever. The European Union has implemented customs taxes on any shipments from outside its borders, and the fees are mind-blowing. What should feel like a warm hug suddenly feels like a vice grip. Especially around Christmas time, it’s likely that many a mail person are seeing the smile melt off an expat’s face …

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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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Christmas Markets & other Holiday Events

NOTE: INTHEVENDEE.COM IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR EVENT CHANGES OR CANCELATIONSNOVEMBER 2021Saturday 20th November *Sainte-Cécile 85110   Salle Famisol from 10h00 – 20h00 *Sallertaine 85300 RECOMMENDED   L’Ile aux Artisans event with some forty artists, craftsmen who present their creations and their new collections in the workshops, at the Romanesque church and at the Buissonnière School. Saturday from 14h00 –  to 21h00 website Sunday 21st  November *Sainte-Cécile 85110   Salle Famisol from 10h00 – 18h00 *Sallertaine 85300 RECOMMENDED   L’Ile aux Artisans event with some forty artists, craftsmen who present their creations and their new collections in the workshops, at the Romanesque church and at the Buissonnière School. Sunday from 11h00 – 19h00 website Friday 26th November *Avrillé 85440   Place des Halles from 16h00 to 22h00 *Chavagnes-en-Paillers 85250   École Nazareth, Rue des Écoles, La Gerbaudière from 18h30 – 23h00 Saturday 27th November *Bellevigny 85170   Salle du Quadrille from …

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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 …