La Vendée is a great place for family holidays, 18 famous seaside resorts and more activities than you could possibly do in a busy week of fun!
Family fun for foodies
As a foodie that loves to uncover natural food sources, one of my personal highlights on a visit to La Vendée, was our visit to the fascinating Riez Salt Marshes. Dating back to the 7th century, and linked to the Atlantic Ocean by the River Vie, you will be able to discover how they cultivate and harvest salt here.
You can opt to go around either at your own pace with an English-translated paper guide, or tag onto a French guided tour which runs several times a day at peak times. At the end of your exploration you can even take home some of the marshes’ natural wares, the Sel de Vie, or salt of the River Vie, to enjoy at home, or to give as gifts. The Sel de Vie was just 4.10 Euro for a 3kg bag, and you can also choose from a selection of flavoured salts, and a host of different vessels in which to store your salt.
If you’re looking for a bird’s eye view of the region then you can’t beat the 360° view from the top of the Kulmino water tower attraction.
There’s an exposition in French at the base of the tower, but there are translations in English on boards and audio stations at the top, which you ascend to by a lift. Amongst the features you can see from here include the fascinating Passage du Gois. This is a road that disappears and reappears with the tide changes and there’s a tide calendar on the approach to it which you can check to know when to visit to see both spectacles.
But when it came to the kids both the Grand Defi and Explora Parc were absolutely brilliant attractions to visit.
At the Grand Defi you’ll find Parcour Des Arbes, which is essentially like the Go Ape venues in the UK, but on a much grander scale. Parcour Des Arbes boasts an awesome choice of different routes, including family trails, and many which feature exhilarating zip slides across a lake. In fact, there’s a choice of 22 trails, including purely dedicated zip slides you can do without taking the trails, all of which helpfully feature a time scale on them before you start.
What’s also great is that you can do as many trails as you like in an allocated three-hour time slot for the same price, and you don’t need to book in advance.
The trails are split into different abilities for different ages which tally with the colour of the wristband you are allocated, and there’s also free parking, lockers to leave your belongings, and other activities like paintballing, galactic laser, pony rides, disc golf and jump tower.
You’ll also find tree top trails at Explora Parc, although not as extensive as you’ll find at the Grand Defi, but here you can also do archery, archery tag and base jumps too. We enjoyed a fabulous one-and-a-half-hour family archery lesson, which as well as learning the craft we played targeted games in teams to show off our newfound skills.
Puy du Fou
But overall, I would say that our most favourite place to visit was the remarkable Puy du Fou – click here to read about our visit to this incredible theme park.
Our visit to this beautiful area of France was memorable and relaxing. As the weather in Vendée is warmer than northern France we enjoyed temperatures from 22C to 24C with glorious sunshine and only the odd cloudy day.
I’d return to this area without hesitation as it was a real winner with all my family across the board.
Justine Halifax is a multi award-winning writer and has worked as a journalist and feature writer for the Birmingham Mail, Birmingham Post and Sunday Mercury.
Justine and her family stayed with Madame Vacances at Le Mas de St-Hilaire with Summer France in Vendée for five nights and at La Citadelle Hotel at Puy du Fou for two nights. She travelled to and from France with DFDS Seaways