The Good Life France

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Vendée Christmas Markets

puy-du-fou-christmas If you love the Vendée for its enchanting landscape and breath-taking historical monuments, then the chances are you’ll equally love its crisp, cold, clear blue winter skies, sharp frosts and bracing Decembers. But whilst perhaps not the most obvious choice of venue, if you want to really indulge yourself in the spirit of Christmas, the Vendée has some surprisingly unique and achingly atmospheric Christmas events…

A Souk Christmas market: High up on what was once a rocky island in the heart of the Marias Poitevin are the ghostly and echoing remains of the centuries old Abbaye du Marias at Maillezais. As a region, over the centuries, the Vendée has been invaded by more or less everyone from Vikings to Arabs, so it’s perhaps no surprise that come Christmas the shadows of what was once a thriving cathedral are lit up by the warmth of a very special Arabian Christmas market …

Puy du Fou and the story of Christmas: Puy du Fou is a unique and frankly amazing French experience. Best described as a historical theme park, they do re-enactments, displays and special effects on a grand and epic scale and Christmas is no exception. The main Christmas event is staged in the Grand Carousel and this year is titled “The mystery of Christmas”. It’s described as the a story of Egyptian Pharaohs, Roman conquests and ostentatious and exotic dancing displays by the ancient sorcerers of the East and is all set to be an extraordinary extravaganza. There is much more to this quirky  Christmas venue, read more in our free magazine, link above…

Eastern Christmas market at Tiffauges: Another beautifully atmospheric château in the Vendée is that of Tiffauges, just west of Cholet  in the north of the region and once home to the legendary and barbaric Bluebeard (or Gilles de Rais)….

Noel at Harras: The amazing performances of the dancing horses at the Haras in La Roche sur Yon are well worth a visit at any time of the year and as you’d expect, come Christmas they put on some very special displays. There’s lots else to do while you’re there, including guided tours, pony and trap rides, donkey rides and story telling…

Lucy Pitts is a freelance writer.

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