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Moving forward: tips for small-business digital housecleaning during Covid-19

We’re at the start of tourist season here in the Vendée but in times of uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, when we’ve all had to scale down our “business as usual” activities or shut them down altogether. Of course, time is a gift. There are things you can do to keep moving forward, to make your online business presence stronger than ever. This may involve precisely the tasks you never have the time, or take the time, to do because they’re not your favourite, but like your antiques, your online life deserves-needs- a polish too. UPDATE YOUR IMAGE INVENTORY Spring is here. No doubt, with all this extra time, spring cleaning and gardening is a productive activity right now. But spring also translates to our online business life. With flowers beginning to bloom and blossoms on the fruit trees, spring is a perfect time to update our business image …

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Windmill hunting in the Vendée

The windmill was omni-present in the European landscape and history shows their use wasn’t limited to the production of flour. In periods of conflict the windmills were an effective communication tool, including in the Vendée. A brief history – A windmill is a structure that converts wind power into a rotating energy through a series of  toothed wheels, mechanisms and millstones, grinding various grains into usable products like flour. The earliest known wind and water powered grain mills were used by the Persians (Iran) from the 6th to the 10th centuries as well as by the Chinese in the 13th century. The vertical windmills seen in Vendée use a mechanism with sails that rotate in a horizontal plane around a vertical axis. The first mentioned “vertical windmill” in Northern Europe dates to the late 12th century.  Bread in its countless variations has always played an important role in cultures around the world. …

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A walkabout Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre

The beautiful Eiffel bridge across the Sevre-Nantaise river, is but one of many interesting historical monuments to see in the quaint village of Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre. We’ll take you exploring some of them in this prequel to your own Vendée adventures. I love my job! When through inthevendée.com’s Facebook page and group our readers were invited by the tour guide students of Val de Sèvre Formation for an English language guided tour of the village known as the Holy city of Vendée, Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre, yours truly seized the opportunity to sneak away from her desk for a few hours. There’s nothing like exploring another corner of France and the Vendée… and sharing it with the rest of the world. Located idyllically on the banks of the Sèvre-Nantaise river, a tributary of the Loire, this is village ideal for a lovely stroll among French heritage. On the morning of the tour it was quite cloudy …

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Travel Trends 2020

Generational shifts – A number of last year’s travel trends have climbed right into the new decade but as trends go, they shape and mold to our ever-evolving sociological needs and issues. Social media has certainly managed to blast every world border out of existence up to and including… space. Yes. Puzzling as it is, what with space tourism not quite a reality just yet, the rising excitement around Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic’s progress toward space tourism has pushed space travel right onto the Travel Trends 2020 list.  Internet millionaires from Gen X on down, appear to be ready to take on the challenge! The Influencer Effect – We can’t help but wonder how Greta Thunberg feels about the notion of blasting toward the skies in a rocket? The next generation to enter the travel market is Gen Z (currently 10 – 25 years old). While environmental consciousness is certainly …

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Chicken Chili with Mogettes

Whilst I’m a very selective fan of the slow cooker, there are some meals that just demand to be prepared that way. This chicken chili is definitely one of them, but I would never cook a lovely Texas Chili Con Carne or Spaghetti sauce in a slow cooker. They demand a thickness that this chicken chili doesn’t really need. So, as the fall/winter season knocks on the kitchen door, this is definitely an easy favorite in our family. The original recipe is not mine, but I have adapted it e.g. to include our Vendéen mogettes, and I have also devised a vegetarian version which I’ll share at a later date. Note: I made this while on holiday, and shopping for ingredients locally, I was lucky to find canned black beans – otherwise I would have made dry black beans first and then rinsed them. The mogettes I had with me …

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Ready for the 3rd annual #bookdirect guest education day?

The first Wednesday in February is #BookDirect Guest Education Day, a worldwide campaign of solidarity for owners and managers of holiday rentals to work together towards a better balance between direct bookings and reservations through online travel agencies in their business. Everybody is invited to participate this year on February 5th, 2020 and at inthevendee.com we’re ready to support and help you! Big online booking websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway (Expedia), Booking and TripAdvisor add a high percentage of booking fees to the reservation total and as a third party they act as a wall between you and your (potential) guests. Booking directly with the owner or manager ‘deletes’ any 3rd party commissions. Dealing with the customer directly creates not only trust but also a positive (human) relationship with future contact at its beating heart. The long-term result is a better balance of direct bookings and reservations through online travel agencies. What started …

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Fireworks ban Vendée

On December 23rd 2019 Benoît Brocart, prefect of the Vendée, has issued a temporary ban on fireworks as a preventive measure for the end of year festivities next week that prohibits the port, transport and storage of fireworks and pyrotechnic articles. The decree stipulates that: In addition, the prefect also issued a decree for a temporary ban on buying “take-away” fuel during the same time period. Share this Post

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Winter sightseeing: Logis de la Chabotterie

A story through the ages –  The story of le Logis de la Chabotterie reaches far beyond the realms of the architecture of a Vendéen castle and its surrounding farm buildings. Its reputation as the best preserved manor of the Bas-Poitevin rests in the very hands of history. Not only was it restored to perfection, but Gerneral François de Charette was wounded and captured in the gardens of the domain in 1796. At its inception in the late XVth century, the layout was typical of a manor house in the area. In an exhibit on the first floor, there are a dozen or so examples of other such homes in the Vendée, some of which still exist. Much like the abbeys, these types of homes were at one point abandoned which left them vulnerable to being stripped for their beautiful stones to build houses. That didn’t happen here. In the …

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Vegetarian Butternut Pie – an autumn delight!

Last year in fall or winter, Sky News announced the upcoming UK budget revelation with an infomercial where the main character was a pie… a wintry pie that looked delicious and easy enough to try to make. The infomercial showed the pie being made from scratch, and even without an actual recipe, I thought well, come on, you can figure this out. So, here it is, probably not exact and really it doesn’t matter. Because this pie is delicious, and it’s vegetarian. That makes it pretty much perfect for me. The question was, would my husband -the carnivore- like it too? Ingredients – Vegetarian Butternut Pie 1 butternut squash peeled and sliced into 1 cm portions or in fingers 1 red paprika (bell pepper), washed, seeds removed, cut into chunks 1 medium sized carrot peeled, then washed, and shopped into strips 1 courgette, peeled and shopped into strips Optional: spinach, …

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

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

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

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

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Journées du Patrimoine 2019 Vendée – EVENTS

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

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

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

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Prehistoric Vendée

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

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

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

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Make it a Saturday in Fontenay-le-Comte!

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

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Present your business with GOOD images! PART 1: food

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

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Did you feel that? Earthquake in the Vendée!

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

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Fête de la Musique: a worldwide phenomenon rooted in France

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

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About Les Journées du Patrimoine de Pays et des Moulins

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

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Why your website matters more than ever

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

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SSL Recommendations for your small business website explained

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

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Your business with Google explained

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

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A look at 2019 travel trends

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

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In the footsteps of Georges Clemenceau

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

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Le Puy du Fou for Notre Dame Cathedral

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

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

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

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New proprietors at Café Cour du Miracle in Vouvant

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

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How to use our marketing ebook

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