Les Sables d’Olonne
Perhaps most famous as the point of departure for the Vendée Globe round-the-world sailing race, Les Sables d'Olonne is a popular seaside resort in its own right, as well as being Vendée’s sub-préfecture. It has a long, fine sandy beach and a pleasant seafront promenade, plus thalassotherapy centres, a casino and a golf course. The Château Saint-Clair and impressive tower stand guard near the entrance to the port, while quaint fishing cottages with brightly-painted shutters hint at the town’s important fishing trade.
La Faute-sur-Mer & L’Aiguillon-sur-Mer
In the southern Vendée , La Faute and L'Aiguillon combine all the pleasures of the seaside: golden sandy beaches, superb seafood and an abundance of wildlife. La Faute-sur-Mer is located in the heart of the Baie de l’Aiguillon and specialises in oyster breeding and the so-called ‘bouchot’ mussels, genuine treats for foodies. Sea enthusiasts should explore the fishing port, a departure point for sea excursions and fishing trips. Nature lovers will enjoy roaming the 200 hectares of holm oak and pine forests and visiting the Pointe d’Arçay with its bird sanctuary.
L’Aiguillon-sur-Mer has preserved much of its authentic French charm, located on the low banks bordering the Marais Poitevin at the estuary of the River Lay. It’s the southernmost resort in Vendée, renowned for its seafood markets and family-friendly atmosphere. The fishing port, having kept its original appearance with a myriad of wooden stakes and piles that peep out of the water, has also earned a reputation for the quality of its oysters and mussels.
The Côte de Lumière
Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez,Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie and Brétignolles-sur-Mer are situated near Les Sables-d'Olonne on the Atlantic coast. Saint-Hilaire is linked to Saint-Gilles via the Sion coastal road, a listed site that offers views onto lovely sandy creeks. The resort of Saint-Gilles is a chic and lively little town and a popular destination for sardine fishing. A little further south, Brétignolles welcomes families and its rolling waves make it one of the most popular spots in the region for surfers.
Family-friendly seaside resort Saint-Jean-de-Monts has an exceptional wooded environment and 20km of safe, gently sloping beaches with lifeguards.There are plenty of activities for the whole family here: golf,thalassotherapy, fishing, bike rides or picnics beneath the pine trees... For something a little different, try sand-yachting either here or at neighbouring La Barre-de-Monts or Notre-Dame-de-Monts; this little-known sport involves buggies pulled by kites gliding across the beaches. Where there are inland marshes there’s a constant breeze and, even when it’s anti-cyclonic, the sails still catch the wind.