Feel Saint-Jean-de-Monts with our top 5 sensory experiences…

See a bird’s-eye view of Saint-Jean and the surrounding landscape from the belvedere

Hear the sound of horses at the Caval’Océane equestrian event every September

Smell the heady pine forests and salt marshes that envelop the resort

Taste pignons, popular small bivalve molluscs dug up from the beach

Touch the sand underfoot during Planète Beach in July and August, with competitions and beginners’ courses in beach volleyball, beach rugby and beach football.

Surrounded by white sandy beaches, pine forests and salt marshes on the Vendée coast, Saint-Jean-de-Monts is an ideal destination for a family holiday in the great outdoors. Famous for its 8km-long beach – the perfect spot for beach games and relaxing strolls – this resort offers a whole host of sporting and cultural activities for all the family, including golfers, who will be in their element at a course situated just 300m from the sea. Getting around the resort is straightforward thanks to a well-developed network of cycle paths and footpaths; a stroll through the forest to the belvedere offers a bird’s eye view of the surrounding woodland and marshes. You’re also sure to enjoy a visit to the nearby islands of Noirmoutier – accessible by boat as well as by road – and Yeu, the furthest island from mainland France after Corsica.

Other activities on offer in Saint-Jean include horse-riding, kite-surfing, rollerblading and sand-yachting. The resort has also always paid special attention to the needs of children: all activities come in ‘kids’ sizes’, for example at the Jardin des Mers, whose sailing classes are designed to introduce under-7s to the pleasures and pitfalls of the sea. The lack of strong currents at Saint-Jean, coupled with trained lifeguards and free ID bracelets on the beach, make this a perfect place for kids to swim safely. The Kid’S Folies festival, held during the Easter holidays, is a fun cultural and sporting event involving a range of activities, exhibitions, workshops and shows for families.

Other annual highlights in Saint-Jean include the international triathlon, drawing 1,000 French and foreign triathletes to a tough seaside course, and Planète Beach in July and August, with high-level competitions and beginners’ courses in beach volleyball, beach rugby, beach football and more. September’s Caval’Océane sees equestrian activities on the beach with a horse-ball tournament and a show-jumping competition at low tide. When you’ve worked up an appetite, you’ll find a range of local seafood on sale at the town’s various markets all year round. Sample oysters, langoustines, crabs, prawns and whelks, caught every day off the local coast – and the ever-present pignons, small bivalve molluscs dug out of the beach sands.