10 Reasons to go to Vendée Grand Sud | EUROtoday

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If you're on the lookout for a really inexperienced escape, the place nature and heritage jostle facet by facet, look no additional than Vendée Grand Sud – the south of the Vendée. The superb sluggish tourism vacation spot, right here you may take day trip to find the wealthy pure landscapes of 'Green Venice', wander by means of the winding streets of idyllic villages, and get to know the native individuals, who’re, fairly rightly, captivated with this lovely nook of France.

With the Vendée coast, Puy du Fou and La Rochelle all inside an hour's drive from Fontenay-le-Comte, you’re assured a vacation to recollect.

1. Green Venice

The magical panorama of the Marais Poitevin – nicknamed 'Green Venice' – is ripe for exploring by boat alongside the various canals that crisscross this historic marshland, which was created throughout the Middle Ages. Take a guided tour to actually immerse your self on this land like no different. As properly because the marshlands, the Marais Poitevin is residence to lovely meadows and fairly little lanes, excellent for exploring by bike or on foot – and even on horseback.

The Marais Poitevin – © Simon Bourcier for Vendée Expansion and CC VSA

2. Mervent-Vouvant Forest

Outdoors lovers will adore the Mervent-Vouvant Forest, with its array of open-air enjoyable and sports activities actions. At 5,000 hectares, it's the biggest expanse of woodland within the Vendée, and is residence to mighty oaks and speeding rivers, dammed in locations to create tranquil lakes. It's the proper spot for climbing, or get these legs and lungs pumping with a spot of mountain biking – or for an actual deal with, discover on horseback. On the lake on the coronary heart of the forest, you may have enjoyable on the water, whether or not you wish to strive canoeing, paddle-boarding or calm down aboard an electrical boat. Don't neglect to go away time to go to the 300 or so animals at Natur'Zoo of Mervent or let the youngsters burn off some vitality on the Pierre Brune Amusement Park.

The Mervent -Vouvant Forest- © Simon Bourcier for Vendée Expansion and Vendée Grand Sud Tourist Office

3. The bocage

The Vendée is known for its bocage – the undulating wooded pastureland which varieties a patchwork of various shades of inexperienced. There are loads of strolling trails you may comply with by means of this peaceable swathe of countryside, or maybe you like to discover by bike or on horseback? At evening, calm down in one of many picturesque villages and keep in mind to search for – with subsequent to no gentle air pollution, you’ll marvel on the evening sky as you've by no means seen it earlier than.

Pays de la Châtaigneraie – © Mehdi Média for CCPLC

4. Fontenay-le-Comte

This Renaissance metropolis bears the label Ville d’artwork et of historical paste and is a acknowledged Plus Beau Detour from France – and little surprise. Fontenay-le-Comte's golden age was within the 16th century and this period gave rise to a few of its most gorgeous buildings – take a look at the wonderful arcades of Place Belliard. Be positive additionally to go to the attractive Fontaine des Quatre Tias and the Château de Terre Neuve, a Renaissance gem.

To actually recognize this lovely city, discover with the GPS-tracked audio information and get to know the characters who as soon as strolled these fairly streets.

Fontenay-le-Comte – © J. Gazeau for Vendée Expansion

5. Exceptional villages

In Vendée Grand Sud, you'll be spoilt for alternative in terms of fairly villages to discover, a lot of which have a powerful heritage besides. Medieval Vouvant is a Plus Beau Village de France and Petite Cité de Caractère, and its Mélusine tower is to not be missed. The former retains has a fairy-tale high quality – the legend goes it's all that is still of a fortress constructed by a fairy known as Mélusine, who was half-woman half-snake. Today, you will see that a haven for artists, forest trails in your doorsteps and a raft of welcoming hostels through which to unwind. Foussais-Payre is one other Renaissance gem and Petite Cité de Caractère whose marvelous structure is testomony to the success of the native fabric commerce within the 16th century. Here you'll discover distinctive buildings and, each two years, a symposium of chainsaw sculpture (the subsequent one is in July 2024). Discover the fascinating historical past of mining at Faymoreauthe place a museum tells the story all the way in which from the invention of the coal seam again in 1827 to the mine closure in 1958. History buffs will love the Petite Cité de Caractère of Nieul-sur-l'Autise, constructed from glistening limestone not removed from the Marais Poitevin. Don't miss the Abbaye Saint-Vincent, inbuilt 1068 by the Duke of Aquitaine. And imbued with a wealthy historical past, lovely cloisters and gardens of medieval vegetation.

Vouvant – ©Simon Bourcier for Vendée Expansion and Vendée Grand Sud Tourist Office

6. A starry evening at La Chapelle-aux-Lys

La Chapelle-aux-Lys is a small village, residence to only 250 individuals – and hundreds of stars. It has been acknowledged for its lack of sunshine air pollution and the standard of its evening sky with the label Star village, 4 stars, which advantages the native wildlife in addition to enthusiastic stargazers. It can be residence to a state-of-the-art planetarium, permitting guests to discover the photo voltaic system. Other 'starred villages' within the Vendée embody Marillet, Breuil Barret, Cezais and Bazoges-en-Pareds.

La Chapelle-aux-Lys planetarium – © Olivier Sauzereau

7. The abbeys of Vendée Grand Sud

For a dose of historical past and gorgeous structure, make sure you go to a few of the abbeys, cathedrals and Romanesque church buildings dotted all through the realm. At Maillezais within the Marais Poitevin, you'll discover the Romanesque Saint-Pierre de Maillezais Abbeywhich overlooks the canals dug by the monks within the 13th century to empty the Gulf of the Pictons, creating a novel pure surroundings. Then there's the Saint-Vincent Abbey of Nieul-sur-l'Autise, a Small City of Character. This architectural gem – it is likely one of the finest preserved monasteries in Poitou – dates again to 1068 and has been given a digital restoration, permitting guests to step again in time.

Maillezais Abbey- © Mehdi Media for CCVSA

8. Travel by means of time with Fontenautes & Co

Discover the wealthy heritage of the realm with the assistance of the Fontenautes, your time-traveling guides who will carry to life a few of the nice Vendéen characters who’ve formed this land over the centuries. With the assistance of VR and immersive experiences, be a part of the fairy Mésuline and her friends to find the historic hotspots and legendary tales of Vendée Grand Sud. At Fontenay-le-Comte Tourist Office you'll discover clues left by the Fontenautes, together with movies, cellphone calls, varied objects, pictures… and take heed to Mésuline's vacation spot music, Setting sails, accompanied by Renaissance mathematician and astronomer François Viète and prehistoric man Jean-Grüt.

Let the Fontenautes information you as you discover – © Akken

9. Gourmet specialties and producers

Visitors to Vendée Grand Sud received't be stunned to study that an array of native specialties await to tantalize your style buds. The gentle and ethereal candy treats Vendée brioche and spoils are excellent with a morning espresso. Or maybe you'd prefer to strive the minute-cake, so-called as a result of it lasted properly and was able to be served 'in a minute' ought to it’s worthwhile to entertain surprising friends. From the Marais Poitevin comes the muffins or Vendéen fritter, historically served on the Mardi Gras carnivals as a substitute of crepes. For these with a savory tooth, prefou is a scrumptious flat bread baked with butter and garlic inside. Add Vendée ham to your picnic hamper, a aromatic ham, hand rubbed with sea salt, spices and eau-de-vie and look out for mogettes, the native white beans which carry the PGI label. And whilst you're deciding what to strive first, have an aperitif. The Kiki Vendéen makes use of the native troussepinette (blackthorn wine) and is accessible in varied flavors together with peach and pear. And in fact, to actually recognize the Vendée's wealthy larder, make sure you go to the native producers who will educate you about their merchandise and give you a tasting, plus a chance to purchase.

Gourmet delights on supply in Fontenay – © D. Herbreteau for Vendée Grand Sud Tourist Office

10. Incredible locations to remain and eat

You might be spoilt for alternative in terms of lodging and eating in Vendée Grand Sud. At hotel-restaurant The River Innin Velluire-sur-Vendée, you may get pleasure from a connoisseur meal of seafood and different native produce overlooking the banks of the Vendée, proper within the coronary heart of the Marais Poitevin. Just 45 minutes from La Rochelle and an hour from the Puy du Fou, it's a super place to remain. A heat welcome awaits at The Parenthesis guesthouse in Maillezais, simply 100m from the abbey, whereas B&B With the 4 Horns presents charming visitor rooms (plus a swimming pool) within the coronary heart of the bocage simply exterior Fontenay-le-Comte. For a bit extra independence, there’s a alternative of cottages, together with secluded cottages on the water's edge within the Mervent-Vouvant Forest, equivalent to The Retro and The Modern ,and the Nightingale Gite, a transformed barn within the Mervent-Vouvant Forest not removed from the medieval metropolis of Vouvant. Camping followers ought to take a look at Green Venice campsite within the lush inexperienced coronary heart of the Marais Poitevin. When it involves eating, you received't go hungry, and there are cafes and eating places to swimsuit all tastes and budgets. The Echauguette in Maillezais presents conventional delicacies and native specialties utilizing recipes down handed by means of the generations. In Fontenay-le-Comte, Slate additionally serves terrific native produce overlooking the river, or get pleasure from snacks and lightweight meals within the courtyard of Café Cour du Miracle in Vouvant, a Plus Beau Village.

Lead photograph credit score: Mervent-Vouvant Forest – © Simon Bourcier for Vendée Expansion

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10 Reasons to Visit Vendée Grand Sud, the South of the Vendée