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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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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 …

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2021 Journées du Patrimoine Vendée: list of things to see

Welcome to the European Heritage days of 2020! The 3rd weekend of September ranks among the best weekends of the year for us! We challenge ourselves with a spring 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. Join us for a list of options this year.Historically, how did the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine or European Heritage days begin? The French Ministry of Culture began the event  La Journée Portes Ouvertes in 1984. In the following year, at the 2nd European Conference of Ministers responsible for Architectural Heritage, the French Minister of Culture proposed that the project be internationalised under the European council. The Netherlands joined with their own Open Monumentendag in 1987, followed by Sweden and Ireland in 1989, and Belgium and Scotland in 1990. In 1991 the …

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Journées Européennes du Patrimoine 2021 in the Vendée: exceptional openings!

The European Heritage Days are the most renowned cultural event in which European citizens participate together. Launched in 1985 in France, the Programme has been a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Union since 1999. Make the most of the EUROPEAN HERITAGE DAYS on 18th and 19th SEPTEMBER. This year’s theme is HERITAGE FOR ALL. In this article we highlight interesting locations that are open exceptionally for the occasion, or uniquely provided with a guided tour. 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 public for free or at a reduced rate on the third weekend of September every year. All weekend long, well-organized guided tours, animated demonstrations of old techniques, concerts, theatrical performances, and more, shed a special light on French heritage. Route Planning and Preparation – …

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What’s shaking in the Vendée

In the afternoon of Friday 20 August 2021, the Vendée was shaken by several small earthquakes. One measured at a 3.5 magnitude and two more measured between 2.0 and 3.0 on the Moment Magnitude scale (Mw for short). The earth did not shake enough to have caused any significant damage, other than the odd statue or plate falling from shelves, or a crack in pavement or window, but it was felt as far south as Fontenay-le-Comte. Source Based on the preliminary seismic data issued by the Réseau National de Surveillance Sismique (RéNaSS) the epicenters were located near Cholet (Maine-et-Loire, Pays de la Loire) and Les Herbiers (Vendée) but the exact magnitude, epicenter, and depth of the quakes may be revised as seismologists refine their calculations and more reports come in. There were a further six smaller earthquakes under a 2.0. magnitude. Do these sorts of tremors happen frequently? They do. …

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

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

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Baked falafels with homemade pita bread

A 10-minute job and super healthy That meals can be associative experiences that stand as pillars along our life’s journey has long been established. I vividly remember the very first time I tried falafels. I was vacationing in Toronto, Canada and for some strange reason (because I hate shopping for anything but books, wine, and food), it was in the food court of the huge mall in the heart of Toronto. Falafels. Folded into a pita, topped with tzatziki and tabbouleh. Y.U.M.M.Y. I couldn’t believe what I was tasting.., the flavors had a party on my palate. That I had to be in my twenties to get this delicious meal on my adventurous life path was actually a mystery. As a good source of fiber and protein, falafels support healthy blood sugar levels. But while they are healthy, deep-frying (as they are usually prepared) turns them into a fat and …

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Empty Attic (Vide Greniers) & Flea Markets

Vides Greniers or brocantes in France are a popular pass-time around the world. So too in the Vendée and lucky for those of those who enjoy upcycling or repurposing previously loved items. In 2021, there are fewer flea markets scheduled than what would normally be the case and due to the pandemic, please be aware there may be last-minute cancellations!  “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure”!JUNE 2021 Vide-Greniers in the VendéeFRIDAY 11TH JUNE *Challans 85300   Vide Maison, Various household items furniture, knick-knacks, crockery, gardening accessories by the locals @ 125A Chemin du Gué aux Moines from 10h00 to 19h00. Free entry *Saint-Mathurin 85150   Vide Maison, Various household items, mechanical tools, masonry tools by locals @ 7 Rue des Mûriers from 8h00 to 18h00. Free Entry *Olonne-sur-Mer 85340   Vide Maison, Various household items by locals @ 114 Route des Pins from 10h30 to 19h00. Free entry. SATURDAY …

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Medieval Festivals Vendée 2021

Reminiscent of the big Renaissance Fairs or the all-immersive Feasts of the Hunter’s Moon in other countries like the United Kingdom or the United States, our Vendéen Medieval Festivals take you right into the heart of life in the Middle Ages with authentic food, demonstrations, reenactments, entertainment, and artist markets. The Medieval Festivals are fun for the entire family, a feast for the senses!Medieval festivals and Nocturnal events in the Vendée 2021 – TO BE UPDATED AS INFO BECOMES AVAILABLECHÂTEAU DES ESSARTS   No medieval festival announced but expanded programming in 2021 features nocturnal events three nights per week in July and August 2021 (see our events calendar or visit their website) Directions Reservations here ** Nocturne du Dimanche « Les Scènes Ouvertes » Every Sunday evening in summer from 21h00 the Château des Essarts makes its stage space available for various talented artists. Some are singers or dancers, others are comedians, some …

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Evening Markets Vendée

July 2021 evening markets in the Vendée.DAILY EVENING MARKETS  *SAINT JEAN DE MONTS 85160   (except on Sundays) @ avenue de la Mer and avenue des Demoiselles from 1/7/2021 to 31/8/2021  ——- THURSDAY 1ST JULY *Brétignolles-sur-Mer 85470   Art market @ La Parée from 18h00 to midnight. Free entry. *Jard-sur-Mer 85520   Crafts, books, flowers and local products @ le Port de Plaisance from 19h00 to 23h00. Free entry. *La Tranche-sur-Mer 85360   Marché Nocturne @ la Grière Beach from 21h00 to 00h00 (midnight). Free entry FRIDAY 2nd JULY *Vouillé-Les-Marais 85450   Entertainment for young and old, including music and food. cold meats, sausages, minced steak, fries, mussels, cheeses, candies, frills, wine,              refreshments (picnics not allowed) @ L’ Ile aux cinq villages SUNDAY 4th JULY *La Tranche-sur-Mer 85360   Marché Nocturne ARTISANAL @ la Grière Beach from 21h00 to 00h00 (midnight). Free entry MONDAY …

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These are the benefits of a Pass Vendée

Whether you are visiting the Vendée or live here, Le Pass Vendée is a great way to maximize your experience of this beautiful department in France. It offers access to seven cultural gems and two nature reserves for as many times as you want for an entire year. Especially if you have children, it’s a steal, because they don’t pay a thing! We heart France. We heart La Vendée!Family fun – Worry no more about finding things to do at any day of the week or weekend. The Vendée is charged with interesting sightseeing whether you’re into nature or you prefer historical sites or better yet… all-in-one! At each of the locations included in this article you can go for a brisk walk, browse leisurely, drink in your surroundings and learn about their role in the history and the very heart of the Vendée and its people. In more good news, adults …

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Activities guide to the Massif Forestier de Mervent-Vouvant

In south-Vendée where the rivers Mere and Vendée converge lies a hilly forest of some 55 square kilometers called Le Massif-Forestier de Mervent-Vouvant. It consists of accessible private and public domain and contains nine villages: Mervent, Pissotte, Bourneau, L’Orbrie, Foussais-Payré, Saint-Michel-le-Cloucq, Saint-Hilaire-des-Loges, Xanton-Chassenon, and Vouvant – one of France’s most beautiful. The villages are mere dots, leaving 5519 hectares of dense forest featuring beautiful hardwood trees. Whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth, as soon as you step foot beneath their canopy and lay eyes on meandering brooks sounding like little bells, and the abundant carpet of wildflowers, realization will strike that this forest exudes something absolutely magical. Whether you live in the Vendée year-round or like to visit with the seasons, these woods hide a plethora of activities to please the solo adventurer, the athlete, and the whole family. Use images below (and the UP arrow) to easily navigate our guide, or scroll through.A brief history …

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Daytrip to Le Tour de France 2021 from the Vendée

In 2021 Le Tour de France and all its craziness doesn’t go through the Vendée, but people who enjoy a little drive and travelling to this amazing event can definitely do so. Here is the short list and info about where you can witness Le Tour LIVE and up close, with our suggestions (i.e. the general areas we would choose personally), which does not mean you have to follow them! Do your thing, enjoy yourselves observing and making new memories with the family. And, making new friends too! Detailed schedule and map Stage 4 on 29/06/2021: from REDON TO FOUGERES (Bretagne) – See Stage 4 time schedule Stage 6 on 01/07/2020: from TOURS TO CHATEAUROUX (Loire Valley) – See Stage 6 time schedule NOTE: The time schedule is rather meticulously kept.What would be our choice for a spot? Stage 4 REDON TO FOUGERES (Bretagne) The Finish line today is in …

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Join our Facebook Group for THE BIG GIVEAWAY

YES! We’re giving away something magical to one of our readers!  In collaboration between inthevendee.com and Chateau de la Preuille we are giving away DRRRUMROLL!! A ROMANTIC WEEKEND STAY AT CHATEAU DE LA PREUILLE !!!!  STAY IN THE BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED MEDIEVAL TOWER “LE DONJON” VALID FOR 2 PEOPLE, INCLUDES BREAKFAST & A BOTTLE OF THE LOCAL VINTAGE! PRIZE DRAWING 16TH JUNE. The winner can redeem the grand prize in the autumn. Would you like to participate? In this space we are issuing the RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. Relax, there are only a few easy steps you need to do to ENTER TO WIN THE PRIZE DRAWING. If you have already done Rule 1 and 2, you can skip straight to Rule 3.  RULE ONE LIKE OUR INTHEVENDEE FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/inthevendee RULE TWO JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP https://www.facebook.com/groups/1912025715513887 RULE THREE HELP US SPREAD THE WORD TO FRIENDS YOU WOULD LOVE TO SEE WIN THIS …

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Gumbo with Mogettes de Vendée (v)

Cajun food, starring the humble Vendée mogette As a long-time expat and having lived many places, multi-cultural meals are a normal part of what I cook. Secretly I think it’s one of the reasons my husband is fond of me. 😉 We enjoy an international kitchen! It’s inspiring to prepare something that you know will evoke a memory, or certain flavors on the palete, that represents somewhere you’ve been on holiday or have lived for a while. In fact. Gumbo is a perfect example of migration and the merging of cultures, combined with what is available locally, to create something entirely different and exciting. According to scholars, the dish originates in the 18th century and is first described in the early 19th (1802). The word likely knows its origin in Africa and refers to the okra vegetable which acts as a thickening agent. Gumbo is a type of stew that …

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The Legends of the Pinecones

“Les Cinq Pineaux” and the “Trou du Diable” can be seen near Sion-sur-l’Océan in Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez, Vendée. The “Five Pinecones” and the “Devil’s Hole” used to form a piece of land jutting out into the ocean – a cape that has eroded by the wind and the pounding of the sea over the years. In local folklore exist the legends of how these natural phenomenon came to be!Legends of the VendéeA bridge to reach the island of Yeu In the VIth Century, Saint-Martin -Bishop of Tours- came to the Vendée region to preach the Good Word. One day as he worked along the beaches, he noticed the shimmering of an island off the coast (Ile d’Yeu) and promptly expressed that he wanted to go there to continue the quest of evangelizing the population. For reasons unknown, no boat could take him there. The devil, having heard about the plight of Saint-Martin, …

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Guide to Fishing on Foot

Food and the outdoors are probably among the most beloved activities in France. In the Vendée we are lucky to be near the Atlantic coast. On sunny days we can flock to the beaches at low tide, armed with wire baskets, spoons, shovels and rakes. We can go on a mission, striding across the wide beaches with purpose because low tide has given way to hidden treasure: the ingredients for a delicious shellfish dinner. Welcome to the what, the where, and the how of the oldest form of fishing known to man: hand gathering or pêche à pied.What is pêche à pied – First let us state we’ve had a difficult time finding the right translations or terminology in both English or Dutch for this particular activity. Shore fishing, hand gathering (also a sewing term), clam digging… To be honest, we find the French term for this popular pass-time the best. It describes …

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Sharing Vouvant with the World

I am Marie Vivies. I was born in Fontenay le Comte and I grew up in a rural Vendée village called Antigny. I have always been attracted to the English language, that is why I focused my studies on discovering the working of its mechanisms. I also wanted to discover my own country, so I attended university in various cities around France: Angers, Rennes, Poitiers and Lyon. It was thrilling to experience life in a big city, but the years I spent there also made me realise how deeply I was attached to the Vendée. I taught English for 5 years but something was missing. It took time to understand that teaching English was not making me happy. Practicing it in conversation with people not known to me was more pleasant than explaining the language to youngsters. In fact, what I really liked was making someone discover something during a …

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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 paprika …

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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 with …

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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 the …

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Abbeys in the Vendée

Stunning in their dimensions, tranquil locations, state of ruin or architectural beauty, the abbeys  offer intrigue with a significant glimpse into French history and geography.Build an Itinerary – It would be difficult to see all of the abbeys in one day, but some could be looped together. Fortunately there is enough to find nearby them to venture out, perhaps with a picnic basket or beach toys, and definitely a camera, creating memorable days in the Vendée. In more good news, three of the abbeys are included in the Pass Vendée. Pass Vendée – the Vendée Pass is a cultural pass for €21 that allows you to visit 9 cultural and 2 nature reserves, as many times as you like for a year. It is available online (currently the site link is not secure, be aware of this) or in each of these locations where you can also use it:  Historial de la Vendée, Logis de la Chabotterie, Château …

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Hidden Corners in the Vendée

Driving through endless farm fields across the rolling hills of the Vendée, adorable villages present themselves from a distance with ancient church steeples peeking over trees or clay rooftops. Why not slow down time itself to discover their hidden secrets? At inthevendee.com we swear by this method of travel. It’s a great way to explore in all tranquility and occasionally meet likeminded people for a chat on the unbeaten paths of France.Prehistoric and Romanesque – How much do you really love history? Or adventure? Enough to ignore the incessant ‘recalculating’ voice of the GPS and point the nose of the car toward the slightest hint there may be something unique or interesting to see?  The hand of History –  Have you ever heard about the age-old tradition of gathering to wash laundry in a village pond still being honored? Or discovered a centuries-old chapel in a picturesque valley? Have you ever touched a circa …