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 Heritage
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 events were united as European Heritage Days at the initiative of the Council of Europe.

Why the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine are loved so much in France
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 17th and 18th September, 2022! (Some also on the 16th) Read about our previous experiences here (2021), here (2019) and here (2018) for inspiration.

Is this list complete?

Absolutely not! We have done our best to mine the Internet for as much information as possible. Events may be organized locally without having been widely advertised. However, this list allows you to build a fun itinerary for one or both days! Simply use the 'directions' links to plug in your point of departure to get directions specific to you!

Please come prepared to wear a facemask and follow the requested rules. And some currency to pay for possible entry fees. They will be small, so coins will be helpful.

Could we go further afield?
YES! Of course we encourage you to travel, discover and enjoy all France has to offer. For a France-wide list of things to see visit the website of the Ministry of Culture here.

Angles (85750)
**Donjon De Moricq FREE - Sanday 18 September 2022 - 10h30
    Guided tour, no reservations necessary. The current square tower was built anno 1435 by Régnault Girard, mayor of La Rochelle to protect the port of Moricq which exported wine, grain and timber to La Rochelle and Bordeaux. More information
**Eglise Notre-Dame des Anges FREE - Saturday 17 september 2022 - 15h00
    Visit the church and crypt  guided tour at 10h30 - 12h00. Please meet at parking Clos de l'Abbaye behind the church
    Romanesque architecture. A guided tour of the Roman church and crypt will bring the public between history and legend in one of the most beautiful religious monuments of Bas-Poitou. Directions
**Municipal Theatre Screening of the film "Regard Nature" (French) on Saturday, September 17th, 2022 at 16h30
   Everyone is welcome for a screening of the film directed by Philippe Garguil and the Communauté de communes Vendée Grand Littoral.
   Discover the natural landscapes of the Vendée Grand Littoral, from the bocage to the ocean, free of charge and open to all. Information at but no reservations necessary. 14 rue du stade 85750 Angles directions

Apremont (85220) 
**Château D'Aprémont FREE 
    Renaissance castle, on the site of a medieval fortress. Discover the castle differently: the entire mediation team offers thematic flash tours.        Don'tmiss the "cavalier vault" cut in the rock, unique in France, which allowed visitors to arrive from by river in the valley below the castle.      On this occasion enjoy music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in the first courtyard of the castle. Discovery of instruments and dances by Patrick Proust. Bar on site. Directions
   Schedule: *Saturday, September 17, 2022 - 13h30 - 18h30
                      *Sunday, September 18, 2022 - 13h30 - 18h30, 21h00 - 21h30
**L'atelier de Vitrail - Atelier Verre Curieux FREE
    The different phases creating stained glass windows with ancestral techniques and the tools used are explained in a guided tour /  workshop. Directions
    Schedule: *
Friday, September 16, 2022 - 10h00 - 13h00, 14h30 - 18h00
                       *Saturday, September 17, 2022 - 10h00 - 13h00, 14h30 - 18h00
                       *Sunday, September 18, 2022 - 10h00 - 13h00, 14h30 - 18h00

Avrillé (85440)
**Château De La Guignardière (Reduced rate visit) 
    *17/09 from 11h00 to 18h00
    *18/09 from 11h00 to 18h00
    Renaissance chateau, completely restored. Also known as Chateau des Avonturiers with some prehistoric monuments on site.
    Open 11h00 to 19h00 on both Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th

Beaufou (85170)
**Visite église FREE - Saturday September 17th and Sunday 18th 2022 - 09h00 to 19h00
     The earliest mention of this 13th century church appears in the cartulary of the priory of La Roche in AD1212. The church was attached to the La Roche priory until 1640. In 1568, the church was ruined by the Huguenots until 1648 when the Bishop of Luçon ordered the church restored by the middle of the 17th century. It was restored again in the 20th century.

Beaulieu-sous-la-Roche (85190)
**Village des Trois Moulins (discounted visit) - Sunday 18th September 2022 10h00 to 12h30
     Go back in time with a tour and presentation of the history of the Mill and its functionality. Directions to Route de la Mache
Discovery of the remarkable trees of Beaulieu sous la Roche
   Join on foot or by bicycle from the village of La Rochette to observe the remarkable Bellilocan trees. Two departures: at 10h00 and at 11h30 a.m.  The remarkable trees listed in Beaulieu are species surviving and thriving outside of their natural surroundings. Rates, special conditions: On registration Tel: 06 82 11 38 80

Bazoges-En-Pareds (85390)
**Donjon de Bazoges-En-Pareds (DONJON 2Euros, children free and MEDIEVAL GARDEN and MUSEUM)
    XIVth century Donjon, medieval garden and museum not to miss! Directions
    Schedule: *Donjon visit with gardens and museum on 17 september 2022 from 10h30
                        *Marché artisanal 17 september 2022 from 10h30
                        *Demonstrations of the smithery and bread ovens on 18th September 2022 at 11h00.

Beaufou (85170)
**Eglise Romane de Beaufou FREE - Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th from 09h00 to 19h00
    Romanesque church of Our Lady of the Annunciation (XIIth century), belonging to the Abbaye de Marmoutier-les-Tours (Indre-et-Loire). In March 1568, the church was burned by the Huguenots. restored in 1652. 

Benet (85490)
**Lime kiln of Benet (special rates) - Saturday, September 17, 2022 - 10h00 and at 15h00.
    Guided tours, it is recommeded to make a reservation by phone or text at 0607298806. On the program: tours of the lime kilns renovated with the help of the Heritage Foundation, exceptionally open to the public. Unique site in Vendée, quarry, ovens etc classified as Historical Monuments. GPS (best to set it) 46°22'27.0"N 0°35'00.8"W
**Guided tour of Benet Sunday, September 18, 2022 - 15h00 - 16h30 and from 16h30 - 18h00
    Criss-cross the village along narrow paths to discover the history of Benet (Neolithic era to the present day). You'll see the medieval castle, the listed church of Sainte Eulalie (Roman), and urban art frescoes, the beautiful limestone houses of Benet etc. Entertainment for the children and treasure hunts. Meet at the Transfo for 2 tour departures at 3 and 4:15 p.m. possibility of combining with the guided tour of the church Directions

Bellevigny (85170)
**Porch of the Old Church - FREE - Saturday and Sunday from 10h30 to 18h30

Bournezeau (85480)
**Abbaye De Trizay (FREE - guided tour for 4 euros) - HIGHLY RECOMMEND
    Former Cistercian abbey founded in the XIIth century by monks of the abbey of Pontigny. An organized circuit with comments by a guide and explanatory panels displayed at each of the important places of the Abbey. A conference room will present to the visitor the steps taken by the new owners since their acquisition, illustrated with photos and plans. Bar with frites and crepes. Directions
   Schedule: Saturday, September 17th 2022 from10h00 - 12h30 and from 14h00 to 19h00  
                      Sunday , September 17th 2022 from10h00 - 12h30 and from 14h00 to 18h00  

Brem sur Mer (85480)
**Suggested self-guided tours throughout the village and its monuments with documentation provided by the tourism office. Visit Chemin des Gîtes de la Corde, Croix de la Mulnière, Eglise Saint-Martin, Eglise Nicolas de Brem, La Vigie Chemin du Menhir, St Nicholas Prieury, Menhir de la Crulière

Breuil-Barret (85120)
**Funeral Patrimony. September 17 2022 from 16h00 to 18h00
   A guided tour at the cemetery by Dominique BODIN, (former curator of the cemeteries of Niort, and initiator of the natural cemetery of Souché) and Patrick LOIZEAU (Advisor in funeral regulations and Trainer) Meet at the municipal cemetery by 16h00
**Visit the village church on both days. It is a 16th century church featuring stained glass windows and painting by Jean Chevolleau.

Chambertaud (85500)
**Château du Boisniard - Saturday September 17th, 2022 from 10h00 - 18h30, and on Sunday 18th September 2022 - 10h00 - 18h30
    Visit the park and its exhibitions. Guided tour on the history of the estate and the castle, Also tour "Claire Voyance",  a photo exhibition by Eddy Rivière, featuring Vendée landscapes as we have never seen them.
Christian Champin is a "metal waste collector" who recovers metal waste and transforms it into sculptures which are exhibited in the park of Château Boisniard. The Chateau is now a five-star hotel in the Vendée. By reservation :Tel: 02 51 67 50 01 Also discover the natural heritage of the park following the dedicated path. Directions

Châteauneuf (85710)
Abbaye de l’Ile Chauvet (3 euros pp) Friday 16th, Saturday 17th, Sunday 18th September 2022 from 14h00 to 18h00 ** HIGHLY RECOMMEND
    Guided tour by the owners of the premises. You'll be shown the portal with 5 covings in broken arch unique in Vendée. Dormitory of the monks with carved framework with has been transformed into a museum, the pilgrims' dormitory with kitchen, bread oven and pantry. Video presenting the life of the monks at the time of the Camaldolese who restored the Abbey around 1680 and occupied it until the end of the monastery during the Revolution. Directions

Commequiers (85220)
**Château de Commequiers FREE - Saturday 17/ Sunday 18th September 2022 - 10h30 - 18h00
    XVth century octagonal stronghold with 8 towers will exceptionally reveal all its secrets to you on the occasion of European Heritage Days. Guided tours  Directions

Cugand (85610)
**Moulin  à Foulon FREE - Sunday 18th September 2022 - 10h00 - 18h00
    Celebrating its 500th anniversary, the waterwheel will be restarted following restoration. Demonstrations on wool, processing tools, spindle spinning and modern spinning wheel, weaving workshop on bicycle wheels, workshop "Come weave your belt with Super powers". Special: presentations on the processes and techniques of wool transformation and spinning throughout history will be offered at 11h00, 14h00 and at 16h00.  Directions

Doix (85200)
**Eglise Saint-Pierre FREE - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th from 10h30 - 18h00
    Built in Empire style in the 1845 (19th century) with traces of it from 1306, this church has three naves and the central vault has a coffered ceiling. To see: the paneled ceiling of 1889 bent and painted, the murals which overhang the choir representing three stages of the life of Saint Pierre, the painted wooden tabernacle of Prieur Gusteau, an occasional poet who had the church extended by 8 meters on the west side in 1732, restored in 2011.  Directions

Faymorreau (85240)
**The historic mines of Faymoreau FREE 
    Guided tours of the exterior 17th, 19th and 21st century buildings. Your guide will tell the story of this small mining village as you walk through the lovely settlements and discover the stained glass windows by Carmelo Zagari in the chapel. Directions
    Schedule: *Saturday, September 17, 2022 - 15h30 - 16h30 - 17h00 - 18h00
                       *Sunday, September 18, 2022 - 15h30 - 16h30 - 17h00 - 18h00

Fontenay-Le-Comte (85200)
**Château De Terre Neuve (no preferential rates listed for JEP days)
    We LOVE château de Terre Neuve and highly recommend this lovely Renaissance home - privately owned and beautifully preserved with true treasures Website.  Directions
   Schedule: Friday - Tuesday from 10h00 to 12h00 and from 13h30 to 18h30 (Monday 19th closes at 18h00)
**Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th 2022 from 14h00 - 18h00
    Rebuilt largely in 1604 after the Wars of Religion, enjoy a guided tour of the church. Directions
**Espace culturel René Cassin-La Gare FREE (please register)
    Guided tours to take you behind the scenes of the old railway station turned cultural center! The visit of 1.5hrs will allow you to discover all the spaces, rooms, backstage, passageways etc... NOTE: Limited to 15 people so please register by telephone - or via email ... The visit not recommended for children under 8 years old. Directions
     Schedule: Saturday, September 17th, 2022 - 11h00 - 12h30, 14h00 - 15h30;  Sunday, September 18, 2022 - 11h00 - 12h30, 15h00 - 16h30
** Other events in Fontenay-le-Comte here

Foussais-Payré (85240)
**Eglise Saint-Hilaire FREE - Saturday and Sunday from 10h00 to 12h00 and 14h00 to 18h00
    XIth century, restored in the XVth and burned down in the XVIth century. Beautiful Romanesque portal 
    Open: Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th - 10h00 to 12h00 and 14h00 to 18h00 
**Prieure De Foussais (Ancien) - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th 2022 from 10h00 to 12h00 and 14h00 to 18h00 FREE
    Built from the 11th century, the priory was home to Benedictine monks until the Revolution. Rebuilt in the 15th century at the same time as the church, it was badly damaged by the Wars of Religion and fortified in the second half of the 16th century, then enlarged and embellished internally in the 17th century. Two of the four very beautiful fireplaces bear magnificent ornaments. The priory has been the Town Hall since 1982.
**Protestant Temple - Saturday and Sunday from 10h00 to 12h00 and 14h00 to 18h00 FREE
    1843 in Greek style - a sober church with schoolroom and teacher's quarters

L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer (85460)
**Observation point for bird migration FREE - Saturday 17th September 2022 - 09h30 - 12h00
    Every year since 1993, the monitoring of bird migration from Pointe de l'Aiguillon begins on September 1. The volunteers who take part in these migratory bird counts will welcome you to share their passion for nature and their know-how.  Upon reservation.
** Nature reserves Pointe de l'Aiguillon - l'Eperon on Saturday, September 17, 2022 - 10h00 - 17h00
     All nature reserves are open for free and without reservations. 
      *Belle-Henriette RNN: Chemin de la Bergerie (La Faute sur Mer) from 10h00 to 13h00
      *Belle Henriette footbridge (La Tranche sur Mer) from 14h00 to 17h00
 the Saint-Denis-du-Payré RNN
      *at the Vacherie RNR observatory (Champagné les Marais)
      *at the Pointe de l'Aiguillon (85) and at the Pointe Saint Clément (Esnandes, 17) for the RNN Baie de l'Aiguillon.

L'Oie (Mouchamps 85140)
**Guided visit of the village
    Saturday 17th September 2022 from 17h00 - 18h30 and Sunday 18th September 2022 - 15h00 - 17h00

La Barre de Monts (85550)
**Ecomusée du Marais vendéen, le Daviaud - FREE - September 17, 2022 - 14h00 - 23h30  and on      Sunday, September 18, 2022 - 14h00 - 19h00 
    Discover the culture in the Marais from yesteryear to today with lots of animations. Saturday,   Free except for dinner upon reservation for 20 euros See website . Directions

La Garnache (85710)
**Château de la Garnache
    (no further info) Sunday, September 18, 2022 - 10h30 - 11h30 and from 15h00 - 16h00  Directions

La Réorthe (85210)
**Logis de la Touche Morice - Fee 1.50 euros for adults over 18 - Saturday 17th/ Sunday 18th 2022 10h00 - 19h00
    Guided tour of this former Templar Commandery. Exhibition of works by artists (painters, sculptors...), and old cars in the park. Restauration and lunch available. Directions 

*****Reach the island by ferry*****
**Vieux-Chateau - FREE Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th Sept 2022 from 11h00 to 18h00. 
    Refuge for the island population during the many incursions, the guided tour of this medieval fortress makes it possible to evoke the military architecture of the 14th to the 17th century and living conditions on the island under the Ancien Régime. Self-guided tour. Arrange ferry transport and local transport on the island before departure. 
** For a list of all  Ile d'Yeu  JEP events check the island webiste

La Chaize-Giraud (85220)
**Eglise Notre-Dame - REGISTRATION Tel: 02 51 22 96 37
    Friday September 17 at 8:30 p.m., Pascal Amoyel and the Parisii quartet, Beethoven's 3rd piano concerto.
    Saturday September 18 at 8:30 p.m., Parisii quartet, quartets by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven.
    Sunday September 19 at 5 p.m., Juan José Mosalini (bandoneon) and Parisii quartet, works by Astor Piazzola.

La Chataigneraie (85120)
**Villa Lionnet  FREE - Sunday, September 18th 2022 - 14h00 to 18h00
    19th Century villa of the painter Félix Lionnet, pupil of Corot, listed as historical monuments and decorated by the painter. Stunning murals!

La-Roche-sur-Yon (85500)
**The Vendée Departmental Archives (rate unclear) Saturday, September 17 and Sunday 18th 2022 - 14h00 - 18h00
Guided tour of conservation stores, technical as well as family workshops, self-guided tour of the “A la carte” exhibition featuring old maps of the Vendée coast. (Reservations are highly recommended Tel. 02 28 85 78 00). Directions
**Haras de la Vendée - Saturday 17th from 14h00 to 18h00 and Sunday 18th and from 10h00 to 18h00 FREE
    Free visit of facilities and stables with horse riding demonstrations, interactive workshops and performances to music
**Point du Jour Cemetery - FREE
    Open all day but there's a guided tour (French) at 19h00 - 20h30. Discover the history of the cemetery, architecture, funeral culture etc...
**The future municipal museum of La Roche-sur-Yon - FREE
    What used to be the
 André Malraux school is the future home of the city's art museum featuring permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, educational room, courtyard opening onto the city. The museum is set to open at the end of 2022, so the weekend of JEP offers a unique opportunity for a sneak peek at what's to come with visit and a concert.
     Schedule: *
Saturday 10h00 and 16h00 a presentation about the history and architectural evolution of the building since the beginning of the 19th century (about 45 mins).
                      *Also on
Saturday 17th at  11h00 a concert featuring a Renaissance, Baroque and festive music (about 1 hour)
*****The complete program for La Roche-sur-Yon here*****

Le Bernard (85560)
**Dolmen de la Frébouchère - FREE
    Largest dolmen in the Vendée. Open 8h00 - 22h00 (booklets available at the Mairie) More info see our article. Directions parking on the side of the street, then walk about 150m

Le Girouard (85150)
**Château Gaillard - FREE - Saturday 17th from 10h00 - 18h00, Sunday 18th 2022 from 11h00 - 17h00
    This remarkable builting is a former presbytery, built end 19th century by order of the Abbé Rouillon. The architecture is inspired by castles and fortifications in the Holy Land at the time of the Crusades. It is now used for communal events and cultural activities.
  Guided visit of the home, the dovecote and the Saint Généreux church, Minerie fountains and the lavoir. Also an exhibition of Jean-Claude Chauvet: "The school of yesteryear" room of the Château Gaillard - And restarting the restored bread oven.
    Exra: guided visit of the parcours du P'tit Val Gaillard Saturday from 10h30 to 12h00. Treasure hunt. Directions

Le Givre (85540)
**Château de la brunière FREE - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th 2022 from 14h00 to 18h00
    16th century castle. Guided tour of the exteriors on the history, architecture and life of an estate. Directions

L'Hermenault (85570)
**Château de l'Hermenault -  Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th from 14h00 to 18h00 (Entry fee 5 euros)

     - Not to miss manmade canal, laundry, spectacular veg garden, dovecote, Renaissance tower, ancient trees, and an absolutely stunning barn. Guided tour. Directions
**Domaine de La Grand Court - FREE (donations are appreciated) Saturday 17/Sunday 18, 2022 from 14h00 to 19h00
    Guided tour or visitors can wander around this gorgeous farmstead (see our article Hidden Corners) currently being restored to view an entrance porch (anno 1660) and architecture from the 15th century (2 towers) and from the 17th century (ruin), the typical Vendée barn, as well as 2 chicken coops also with remarkable architecture. Exhibition of prehistoric tools. There's also a beautiful lake and wooded grounds. Directions

Les Herbiers (85500)
**Château du Bignon FREE - Saturday 17th Sept from 14h30 to 18h30/ Sunday 18th September 2022 from 10h00 to 18h30
     Free visit or guided tours of the exterior of the Château du Bignon, consisting of four towers surrounded by outbuildings, also called a manoir, dating from 1490. In the park, there is a pavilion, called the gardener's house and on the pond, the lavoir or washhouse. The entrance porch is marked by leopards from England that the Rouault family (first owners) wore in their coat of arms.
**Château d'Ardelay - FREE - Saturday 17th Sept at 15h00 and at 17h00 and on Sunday 18th September 2022 at 10h45, 13h45, 15h15 and 16h45
    Enjoy a guided tour of this compact chateau in the heart of Les Herbiers. 
The evolution of the castle and its architecture will be discussed outdoors as well as indoors with a discovery of the keep. Château d'Ardelay was constructed in the 15th century but stands on the foundation of an older one with a feudal motte. The keep measures 30 metres tall! This historic castle was derelict until the city purhcased it back 1984 and has since been restored to a cultural center featuring exhibits throughout the year. On this weekend there is a photography exhibit with presentation by the photographer (Christian Thibaud). (1 hour tour)

Landeronde (85150)
**La Gourderie - FREE - Saturday 17th Sept from 10h00 - 19h00 and Sunday 18th Sept 2022 from 11h00 to 18h00
    Beautiful fortified 16th century home with some restoration by the current owners, however the architecture has changed little over the centuries. Guided tour of the exterior by the owners. **Exceptional opening. Directions

Landevieille (85220)
**Logis de la Robliniere  - 5 euro - on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the JEP 2022 from 10h00-18h00.
    15th century military stronghold, restored since 2000 using period materials. The restoration took 10 years. The seigniorial residence was destroyed during the Vendée wars. The stonghold housed the garrison defending the fortress of La Chaize Giraud. All the materials used are period, except for the ironwork and chandeliers which are reproductions. Extensive gardens. This gorgeous logis is now a holiday destination. Tours every half hour. Directions

Les Landes-Genusson (85130)
**Cite des Oiseaux - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th from 14h00 to 18h00 - FREE
    Birdlife observation point and huge ponds.

Les Lucs-sur-Boulogne (85400)
**Historial et Memorial de la Vendée FREE - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th 2022 from 10h00 to 18h00
    The Department of Vendée invites you to explore 7,000 years of history in a unique setting: the most beautiful museum in the department.
Discover seven permanent museographic spaces, archeological treasures, the children's museum (unique in France) and the Vendée Memorial.   

Les Sables d'Olonne (85100)
**Prieuré de Saint Nicholas - Friday 16th/  Saturday 17th / Sunday 18th 14h30 to 18h30 - FREE
    Erected by the religious of Holy Cross of Talmont in the XIth century, the priory was looted during the Wars of Religion, restored by Richelieu, and for 100 years (XVIII and IXXth) became a fort, guard house and powder magazine. Also Painting exhibition by Eric Moteau-Verneuille.
**Eglise Notre dame du Bon Port - FREE Saturday 17th 09h00 to 13h00 and Sunday 1th 2022 from 09h00 to 18h00
    Beautiful church dedicated to the fishermen. Located on Place d'eglise, Rue Bisson (near the boardwalk - walking distance from large car parks in the city)
**La Gazelle Paul-Emile tour - FREE Saturday 17th from 09h00 - 12h00 and 14h00 to19h00. On Sunday from 14h00 to 19h00.
    Self-guided tour of the replica of a maritime heritage Sables d'Olonne boat. NOTE LOCATION DEPENDS ON THE TIDES AS AND IS SCHEDULED AS FOLLOWS: MORNING at the Pontoon du Patrimoine (Guinea wharf) or at the ferryman's hold at La Chaume AFTERNOON: at the pontoon of the harbor master's office Olona 85100 LES SABLES D'OLONNE
*****The complete offer of Journees du Patrimoine at Les Sables d'Olonnes here*****

Longeville sur Mer (85560)
**Maison du Marais - FREE - Sunday 18th September 2022 from 13h00 - 17h00
    Free tour and boat excursions. Directions

Luçon (85400)
**Cathédrale Notre Dame de l'Assomption and cloister - FREE 
    A gem in the Vendée. Guided visits, schedule as follows: 17th September 2022 - 14h00 - 15h00, 15h30 - 16h30, 17h00 - 18h00 and on Sunday 18th September 2022 - 14h00 - 15h00, 15h30 - 16h30, 17h00 - 18h00
**Other events in Lucon here**

Maillezais (85420)
**Ancienne Abbaye - FREE - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th 2022 from 10h00 to 18h00
    The magnificent abbey ruin, once powerful seat of Catholicism in the heart of the Marais Poitevin. Concerts

Mallièvre (85590)
**Tour of the village by reservation Tel : 02 51 65 11 32. Sunday 18th September 2022 from 11h00 to 12h00. Gather place des tisserands. Directions

Mareuil-sur-Lay-Dissais (85320)
**Château de Saint-André - visit 5 euros. Sunday 18th 2022 from 10h00 to 19h00
     19th Century chateau built on the remains of the old parish of Saint André. Within a 5 hectare park, dominating the Lay valley, hundred-year-old trees and numerous rose gardens can be discovered. Directions

Montreverd (85260)
**Logis de la Chabotterie - FREE - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th 2022 from 10h00 to 18h00 
    Not to miss! Life in the Vendee in the 18th Century, incredible logis with authentic period furnishings, museum on the Vendee wars, and the gardens. Historic location - see our article

Mouchamps (85640)
**Gravesite of  Georges Clemenceau - FREE     See our article and directions
**Lavoir or communal wash basin
from 1925 restored in 2005. Free - Sunday 18th September 2022 - 15h00 - 19h00

Mouilleron-le-Captif (85000)
** Château de Beaupuy - FREE on reservation Sunday 18 September 2022 - 09h30 - 16h50
     Normally closed to the public, this is a great first for this guided tour of the ground floor of Château de Beaupuy. Nestled in lush greenery, the place is ideal for a stroll after visiting the castle. Tel: 01 51 31 10 50

Mouzeuil-Saint-Marmain (85370)
**Chateau de la Riviere - FREE - Sunday 18th September 2022 - 10h00 - 11:h30, 14h30 - 16h00, 16h30 - 18h00
Guided tours of this unique castle at the edge of the Marais Poitevin. The elegant 19th century facade stands in contrast with the Louis XIIIth one from the 17th century and the 15th century castle. King Henri IV stayed there during the siege of Fontenay in 1587. It is also the historic residence of Denis Loynes Marquis de la Coudraye, governor of Fontenay le Comte 18th century. The park consists of multiple gardens such as French, English, Mediterranean, beautiful meadows etc. Directions

Nalliers (85370)
**Réserve Biologique de Nalliers-Mouzeuil - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th from 14h00 to 18h00 - FREE
    146ha of natural park and two hiking trails; exhibition of nature photography featuring orchids of the Vendée. Directions

Nieul-Sur-L'Autise (85240)
**Abbaye Saint-Vincent FREE - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th from 10h00 to 18h00.
    Founded in 1068, it was declared a royal abbey in 1141 by King Louis VII, husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Except for the Romanesque cloister, it was largely destroyed in the Wars of Religion, and restored. Animations, contemporary dancing, and just great with children. 
**Maison de la Meunerie - fee 2.50 euro  Saturday 17th, Sunday 18th Sept 2022 - 10h30 - 13h00, 14h00 - 18h30
    Guided tours schedule at 10h30, 11h30, 14h00, 15h00, 16h00, 17h00 and cake tasting of minute cake baked in a wood oven in the afternoon. New museum and story telling of the old watermill which has been in operation since 1728. The miller's daughter will give you a tour. Directions.

Noirmoutier-en-Ile (85330)
**Chateau de Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile - FREE- Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th 2022 from 10h00 to 18h00
    12th Century Feudal castle on the gorgeous Vendéen island. Tour the castle museum and special exhibitions. Directions

Poiroux (85440)
La Folie de Finfarine HONEY HARVEST - FREE - Sunday 18th September 2022 from 14h00 to 18h00
    The last honey harvest before winter will be a fascinating process to witness. You can do so in 10 hectare park where you will learn about the life of bees and their habitat, polination and production of honey. Be there when they open the hives to extract the honeycombs. Directions

Pouzauges (85440)
**Vieux-Château - FREE tours Saturday 17th 14h00 - 19h00 and on Sunday 18th 2022 from 10h00 - 18h00
    XIth century fortress with its 350-meter long curtain walls. The donjon, built in the Poitou stone, is 26m high and was transformed into a residence by Catherine de Thouars, wife of the famous Gilles de Rais (Bluebeard) in the XVth century, with a granite spiral staircase, carved fireplaces and windows. Exceptional opening. Directions

Réaumur (85700)
**Chapelle Ste Marie De Réaumur - FREE - Friday 16th, Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th 2022 from 9h00 to 19h00 
    At the origin of this chapel lies the legend of the Virgin Mary to have provided a spring to quench the thirst of a knight.
    Self-guided tour - 

Rocheserviere (85620)
**Château de la Source FREE - history, park and flower gardens Saturday from 14h00 to 18h00 and Sunday from 09h45 - 12h30, 14h00 - 18h00 NOTE: by car via rue de Bretagne and the D937. Cyclists and pedestrians via rue de la Garde and rue de la Source (chemin balisé).

Saint-Etienne-du-Bois (85670)
**Forge de la Tulévrière FREE - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September 2022 at 16h00 guided tour 
    Discover this old 16th century house transformed into a forge in 1913. After 3 generations of blacksmiths from the same family there was a period of dormancy, until young blacksmith Arthur Muller took over the activity in a building next door. He will introduce you to his trade and its evolution over time and talk about the history of this remarkable site.
**Chapelle de la Tulévrière FREE - open Sat 17th, Sun 18th September 2022 09h00 to 20h00
    In full Terror, a refractory priest erecteda chapel in gratitude for the protection of the small hamlet where he took refuge. (1794) This chapel is also the memorial to 22 villagers killed on March 22, 1794. The liturgical vestments, worn by the abbot during the Wars of the Vendée are still here as well as a tabernacle arranged in a neighboring house by the abbot. The chapel has the first stained glass windows that speak of the Wars of the Vendée (1875) and is one of the only remaining religious building built at the time, still standing.

Saint-Hilaire-Le-Vouhis (85450)
**La Chevillonnière - small fee - Friday 16th, Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th from 16h00 to 19h00
    Guided tour by the owners of Manoir la Chevillonnière XVth century which has been restored to reveal many original features, but the XIVth century ramparts have only recently been discovered and at least partially been reassembled by experts: 110 m long with 2 small corner towers overlooking the river Le Petit Lay. A unique opportunity and STUNNING!!!
    Directions  GPS 46°41'23.2"N 1°07'49.9"W

Saint-Germain-de-Prinçay (85110)
**Logis des Grois - FREE - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September 2022 from 9h00 to 12h30 and 14h30 to 18h00
    Private home that has belonged to the Vendeen Majou family for thirteen generations! Beautifully restored and maintained, the owners are ready to welcome you for a tour. A unique opportunity.  Directions

Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez (85270)
**La Livarde: Maritime Exhibit - FREE  Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September 2022 from 10h00 - 12h00 and from 14h00 - 18h00
     Through documents and objects (old photographs, navigational instruments, fishing tools) learn about the village's maritime activity through the ages, including the restoration of old boats. Directions
Saline du Recoin - FREE - September 17the and Sunday 18th September 2022 - 14h30 - 18h00
   Visit saltmarches that have existed since the 7th century and were returned to full operation in 1997 and classified in 2000. A salt miner will demonstrate and explain his ancient trade of cultivating salt using traditional tools and methods.
NOTE: Free guided tours at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. by reservation only: limited number of places. Online reservations here section "Discover", then "Les Marais salants de la Vie", or by phone: 06 81 97 39 84. Directions
**Musée La Bourrine du Bois-Juquaud - FREE - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th from 14h30 - 18h30
    Discover every day life in the Vendée- Breton marshes anno early 20th century with a farm and outbuildings anno 1818. The charming thatch-roof home is open for a self-guided tour. On site will be demonstrations such as butter churning, and dancing groups provide an atmosphere of Vendéen folklore. Directions

Saint-Martin-des-Noyers (85140)
**The Château de la Grève (3€/adult (children free), free visit) Open Saturday and Sunday from 10h00 - 12h30 and 14h00 - 18h00 
    One of the few medieval castles still standing in the Vendée and is very complete: many elements of medieval architecture have been preserved, as well as remarkable features such as the framework of the main tower, mullioned windows, vaulted cellar, medieval fireplaces, numerous outbuildings and more. Additionally, the archaeological portion of the site is quite exceptional featuring a complex water system with its moats, bridges and causeway (the pond and moats are currently dry). Directions

Saint-Hilaire-la-Forêt (8544)
**Préhisto site du Cairn - FREE - Sunday 18th September from 14h30 - 16h30
    Offers a terrific and interactive trip to prehistoric times, when Neolithic men in the Talmondais and Moutierrois regions left over a hundred megaliths. Workshops, exhibitions, events invite you to understand the life of Neolithic times incl fire, cooking... Directions

Saint-Juire-Champgillon (85210)
**Château de Saint-Juire-Champgillon - FREE open Sat. 17th Sept from 11h00 - 12h30 and from 14h00 - 18h00 and on Sunday 18th Sept from 11h00 - 12h30 and from 14h00 - 17h30
Castle of the 15th through 18th century, now a private home open exceptionally. Schedule for guided visits: Saturday, 17th September at 11h30, 15h00, 17h00 and on Sunday 18th September at 11h30, 14h30, 16h30 Directions

Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre (85290)
**Tour of the village by reservation FREE Sunday 18th September 2022 - 14h30 - 15h30 and 16h30 - 17h30
    Guided tour of this insteresting village, final resting place of Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort and saw a visit from Pope John Paul II. Meeting point and reservations place Grignion de Montfort, 85290 Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre Tel : 02 51 65 11 32. Directions

Saint-Mesmin (85700)
**L'Audrière Chapel - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th 2022 from 10h00 to 19h00 - FREE
    Guided or free visit of this XVIth century chapel - archeological excavations in progress (may be in scaffold as is currently being restored)

Saint-Michel-Le-Cloucq (85200)
**Château de la Baugisière - 5 euro/ free for children - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th Sept 2022 from 10h30 - 17h30
    Constructed anno 1741 for Maximilien Boutou, Lord of La Baugisière, on the foundations of an earlier manor the architecture is rectangular  framed by two pavilions. The avenue where you arrive is quite spectacular and pay attention to the carpets of wild cyclamen beneath its majestic trees. There's a meticulously restored chapel with a beautiful sculpture of Jeanne d'Arc in lively colours. If you are familiar with Emmaus near Fontenay-Le-Comte, this chateau is very nearby but you'd never know it was there. Exceptional opening (exterior only, and chapel) Directions

Saint-Michel-En-L'Herm (85580)
**L'Abbaye Royale (REDUCED RATE 3 euros, FREE UNDER 7) Sat 17th from 14h00 to 16h30 and Sunday 18thSeptember 2022 from 14h30 à 16h30
    Guided tours (every thirty minutes) of the gardens, refectory, scriptorium, the chapter house as well as (uniquely) the dining room and the other old buildings. Includes musical interludes. Highly recommended!!! It does get very busy here as this is normally a private summer residence. Tickets at the Tourism Office. Directions

Saint-Prouant (85110)
**Prieuré de Chassay-Grammont FREE - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th 2022 from 10h00 to 18h00
    Beautiful little abbey from the XIIth century (see article) with its murals, inner courtyard etc... (STUNNING highly recommend!) including exhibition: Abbeys from the Sky

Sainte-Flaive-des-Loups (85150)
**Logis du Gué FREE - Saturday 17th September and Sunday 18th Sept 2022 - 09h30 - 12h00, 14h30 - 17h30
    Group of buildings probably dating from the 15th century and comprising a main building, outbuildings and a chapel forming an enclosed courtyard which is accessed by a porch. Confession made by Jean du Plessis 1417;Jacques Fouscher de l'Ementruère lord in 1469;home built in the 1470s;interior decorations v.1639 - 1683.  Tour by one of the owners of the courtyard and chapel.

Sainte-Gemme-La-Plaine (85400)
**Logis De La Chevallerie (4 EUROS/ FREE up to 12) Tours on Sat 17th and Sun 18th from 9h15 to 12h00 and 14h00 to 18h15
    The Château de la Chevallerie is one of the 12 remarkable Logis of Vendée, it is fully protected as Historical Monuments (exterior and interior, lodgings and annex buildings). The origin of the castle goes back to the Templars whose site housed an important commandery. The location lives at the heart of royal conflicts until the Wars of Religion. It passed into the hands of Mathurin-Joseph Babin, Lord of the Chevallerie, born after 1703, Auditor in the Chambre des Comptes of Brittany. Two dates can be read on the farm buildings: 1770 above the portal and 1768 on the lintel of a bay in the newly restored east wing. History and website

Sainte-Pexine (85320)
**Logis de Chaligny  - 5 euros - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th 2022 from 10h00 - 12h00 and from 14h00 - 18h00
    The Logis de Chaligny is a very complete example of what a “house in the fields” was in the 17th century: pleasure garden, vegetable garden, fruit garden, herb garden, river and woods. Located between the plain and the bocage and the Marais Poitevin , the logis has been known since Gallo- Roman times and has not undergone any alteration since the 18th century. As such it provides a valuable glimpse into Renaissance architecture of the Bas-Poitou. STUNNING!!!!! Directions

Sallertaine (85300)
**Moulin a Vent De Rairé  - Sunday 18th from 14h00 to 18h00 - (REDUCED RATE)
    Built around 1555, the Moulin de Rairé originally belonged to the lord of the Garnache, Jacques de la Touche. The windmill was spared from the wars in the Vendée and is in fact the only windmill in France which has never stopped functioning. Website (also visit the Romanesque Church in the village!!!) 

Sèvremont (85700)
**Château de La Flocellière - Unguided tours of the park and carriage ride (children free): € 4.00; Guided tours: € 6
    DO NOT MISS this absolutely stunning castle with a very long history from the XIth through the Renaissance, impeccably restored by the owners. WOW!! Now a ***** B&B. Only open on Sunday 18th September 2022 from 14h00 to 18h00  Directions

Sigournais (85110)
**Château Féodal - Saturday 17th from 14h30 to 19h30 and Sunday 18th from 10h00 to 19h00 - (REDUCED RATE 3.50 euro for adults and 1 euro from 6 - 14 yrs)
    Remodeled in the 15th century on the foundations of a castle built around the year one thousand, with moats, polygonal enclosure, towers, covered walkway, latrines and much more. This feudal castle is one of the best examples of medieval military architecture in the Vendée and not to miss! LOTS of activities, excellent with children!! Our article on Castles in the Vendee for more info.  Website

Talmont-Saint-Hilaire (85440)
**Château de Talmont - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th from 10h00 to 18h00 (FREE)
    Incredible medieval castle with a rich history - a favorite in the Vendée. Picnic tables nearby! see our article Castles in the Vendee

Tiffauges (85130)
**Château De Tiffauges FREE - Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th 2022 from 10h00 to 18h00 
    Geoffrey Thouars built the castle in the 12th Century, its ramparts and towers protecting the village by the Crume river; but it is perhaps more (in)famous for Gilles de Rais or Bluebeard. Free guided tours and demonstrations of the war machines (no other animations)  more info see our article. Not to miss! Lovely with children. Directions (picnic spots nearby)

NOTE: We couldn't possible include every single event in this list as the Vendee is vast and with an interesting history. We included locations that seemed interesting to us, and a few churches and chapels.
** Join our Facebook Group for more announcements and charing of experiences.

Chateau d Ardelay in Les Herbiers Vendee
Chateau d'Ardelay
Donjon De Moricq
Château De La Guignardière
Chateau ou Logis de la Chevallerie en Vendee monument historique
Logis de la Chevallerie
Château de Beaupuy in the Vendee
Château de Beaupuy
Abbaye de trizay
La Chevillonnière
Abbaye de Maillezais
Chateau de Terre-Neuve
Chateau ou Logis de la Chevallerie en Vendee monument historique
Chateau de l'Hermenault
Luçon Cathedral CLoisters
Château de La Flocellière
Château de Pouzauges
Château de Tiffauges
Chateau d'Apremont
Scriptorium Abbaye Royale Vendee
Abbaye Royale st michel en l'herm
Prieurie de Grammont in Saint Prouant in the Vendée murals
Prieuré de Grammont
Moulin de Rairé
Logis de la Chaligny
Chateau ou Logis de la Chevallerie en Vendee monument historique
Logis de la Chevallerie

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