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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 …

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Petra of Le Puy Ardouin tests own Tiny House accommodations during lock-down

After a long search for the perfect spot to live in France, Dutch couple Petra and Jan fell for their rustic farmhouse  ‘like a ton of bricks’. We can understand why! Among the ancient trees, across a sloping terrain, one can almost touch the sound of silence. Le Puy Ardouin is an earthly place that speaks for itself, that brings you back to simplicity.  Sunday, March 15th. We’ve just completed a training course in the Netherlands and plan to drive to France tomorrow morning. We hear that from 18.00 that evening all restaurants in the Netherlands have to close their doors. We’re worried about making it back to our place in France, Le Puy Ardouin, because there’s a threat of a lock-down. That’s why we decide to leave immediately and drive through the night. On Monday morning we’re relieved to be greeted by our dog Lola and our friend Peter, …

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The silver lining of lockdown at B&B Au Passage du Gois

When we asked to find a title or tag line for their blog post, Martine told us that she thought the motto of footballer Johan Cruyff was appropriate to describe their almost 2 months of lockdown. She found a balance in routine, in sunshine and in the wildness of her husband Hemko’s confinement beard. It doesn’t happen often, but for the first time in a long time there was something you couldn’t find on Google. What is a COVID-19 confinement in France, how does it work and when will it be over? But there wasn’t much information initially so, we thought… well, we’ll need to come up with some sort of answer ourselves. We sat around the table and made some kind of a plan of action. We said to each other: we will not be sleeping in, but get up at our normal time and get to work, because …

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Owners of L’Etournerie Gites & Camping Vendée look to the future

We have asked a few Vendéen small business owners to discuss their plans for the future whilst coping through enforced quarantine. In a first installment, allow us to introduce you to Renée, René, Jacky, Emma & Mariecke, a Dutch family who own L’Etournerie Gites and Camping where tranquility, good food, and flowers are central to Dutch-French hospitality in the Vendée! In 15 years, you develop habits. Or maybe a rhythm. At the beginning of the year, you start looking at everything that needs to be done before you can announce that you are ‘open for business’ once again. You tick off all those things and then you put up the sign “OUVERT”. Only this year, a pandemic with the inevitable French government’s announcement of a complete lockdown starting March 17th, threw a spanner in the works. At the beginning, everything was so focused on China that no one in Europe was …