Summer in the Vendée

Summer is well underway in the Vendée and the whole area is awash with sunshine, holiday makers, summer festivals and great things to do. If you’re in the area, you’d be hard pushed not to know about some of the many events that are going on but in case you find yourself with nothing to do, here are a couple of our suggestions:

1. If music and other cultural entertainment is your thing, the Vendee delivers throughout the summer months. Finding information online might be a bit tricky, so here are a few suggestions to help you on your way. On the Atlantic coast from St. Brevin les Pins right down to La Tranche sur Mer you can enjoy an absolute smorgasbord of free entertainment, with an eclectic mix of music, dance and street theatre which includes everything from African story telling, Burlesque dancing, rock and roll and blues and quite a lot more as part of La Deferlante, a family friendly and free cultural event with a distinctive and international flavour. Website

But there are many more nights of music organised by cultural organisations around villages and cities, e.g. Niort holds "Jeudis Niortais", free concerts in the park on Thursday evenings in July and August. You can also head down to St. Gilles to enjoy several free concerts in and around the town as part of the “Les Musicales du Pays de St. Gilles”. More info on Facebook or their website

Put your Google-fingers to work, and keep in mind that many announcements are placed in and around villages or main roads/ intersections/roundabouts and bus stops. Assign a passenger in the car to take notes or snap a picture of the 'billboards'. 😉

Thanks to gentle evening temperatures, nocturnal events are a coveted part of every summer in the Vendée. Gregorian chant concerts in smokey, candlelit abbeys; concerts on village squares or in a farmer's field ... a little research will go a long way. And let's not forget the spectacular  Cinéscénie event, nightly at Puy du Fou medieval theme park with 2400 actors and 28000 costumes.


2. For a taste of the Vendéen history and a great day out, make your way to Tiffauges. The chateau has all sorts of  re-enactments and attractions. Anno 2018 the show “Les Noctunes de Tiffauges” is held on Wednesdays between July 25 to August 22 ; or daily from July 7th to August 31st for  a musical entitled Shadow and Light, set around the grim but intriguing story of the castle’s notorious occupant and child murderer, Gilles de Rais also known as Bluebeard. See links for more specific information.

Which brings us to abbeys and donjons of the Vendee which are often only open to visitors in the summer season. Sometimes evening concerts or medieval demonstrations are staged at these locations. Check local websites for opening times and rates. Donjons can be found in: Cholet, Sigournais, Bazoges-en-Pareds, Les Sables-d'Olonne, and many more. Abbeys in St. Prouant, Les Herbiers, Maillezais etc...


3. Fancy something a little more languid and leisurely? What about a family friendly boat tour beneath the arches of trees looming over the little canals of the Marais Poitevin, otherwise known as La Venise Verte (the Green Venice)? Add in a tour of the beautiful Abbaye de Maillezais, there is a lovely embarkation spot right at the foot of the abbey. Great choice for photography enthusiasts.


4. Everything we've mentioned so far has been more inland but let's not forget that the Vendée's lovely climate has everything to do with the south and south-west influences of the Atlantic Ocean. How fortunate are we to travel or live in an area where there is literally something for everyone. If you're a beach-bum or love long languid walks by the ocean, or fancy meandering the shops near the boardwalk, the Vendée coastline is quite long and the golden beaches are pristine. Dogs are not typically allowed on the beach in summertime, but there are plenty of seaside cafes and restaurants where the views from the terrace is... well, enough to crack open a book or just fantastic for hours-long people-watching with a cocktail or a bottle of wine at your fingertips. For the more active crowd, you can learn to sail, go horse riding, participate in sunset kayaking, sign up for beach Zumba and so much more. Visit Les Sables d'Olonne, Tranche-sur-Mer, Faute-sur-Mer, and so much more! Check our markets in the Vendée page for mention of evening markets in these locations.

I hope that there is something here to keep you and the family entertained and if you have your own suggestions, be sure to let us know! Have fun and don’t forget the sun cream!

Submitted by July Pits
Updated July 2018 by admin.
Images by webservices.dramatis except Puy du Fou 

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