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Arts and Crafts in the Vendée

The Vendée with its various landscapes, its historic heritage and men who have shaped the land in a multitude of ways, has been home to painters, sculptures, weavers, potters, musicians, carpenters, cabinet makers and photographers for generations. There has always been a wealth of people with skills in all manner of arts and crafts here in the Vendée, and they have been joined by others who rejoice in the making or creating of works of art.

The ancient natural crafts of the Vendée are kept alive at the world famous
Puy-du-Fou where dozens of craftsmen demonstrate their skills on a daily basis throughout the summer. There are also various fêtes during the summer months where other craftsmen come to show off their creations. These are held at places like the Foire de l'Ancien at l'Hermenault on the 1st weekend in September, the Nocturnal Market on Tuesdays in the summer at Notre-Dame-de-Monts in the Avenue de la Mer and at Vouille-les-Marais on Friday evenings in July and August.

Artists come to the Vendée to capture the many moods of this vibrant landscape which, with the many hours of sunshine, makes this an artists paradise. There are villages like
Vouvant, Coulon (not strictly in the Vendee), Mallievier, Sallertine and towns like St.Gilles Croix-de-Vie and even whole islands where artists can be found in perfusion. It fact in Vouvant there are probably more artist studios than all the other shops put together.

Art Galleries. There are many art galleries right across the Vendée and they fall into two groups. Those that show art works relating to historical events and past artists and those that are either devoted to the works of a single artist or have exhibitions of various artists or themes.
In the first group you have the pictures held by such places as the
Historial de la Vendée , Musée Vendéen at Fontenay le Comte, Musée Mileendeau-Jean Yoles at Soullan and the contemporary art gallery at l'Abbay- de la Croix.

Art 39.  Rue des Loges, Fontenay-le-Comte has exhibitions (usually 10) from March to December on Wednesdays to Fridays 15h to 18h and on Saturdays 10h to 12h & 15h to 18h each exhibition features a single artist.
Beaulieu-sous-le-Roche:  Régis Delène Bartholdi

Galleries des Ormeaux, 17,rue des Sables. Challans.
Talents Vendeens. La Gallerie, 17 Rue Bonne Fontaine, Challans.
Atelier Samanos Pierre. 359,rue Pepiere, Longville-sur-Mer.
Perce-Oreilles productions. 2,rue Gaston Guillemet, Fontenay le Comte.
Ile D'Yeu:
                  Galerie Maree Haute. 17 Quai de la Mairie. Artist: Marie Houset, Daniel le Saux, Fabricia Lepoutre.
                  Galerie de la Marine. 15,Quai de la Chapelle Artist, Anne Francoice Touanen.
                  Galerie Insula, 5 rue de l'Abbesse. Art contemporary and sculpture.
                  Karibou.  14 rue de l'Abbesse.
                  Henri Rouberol. 21,rue du Pu
                             Galerie Bourreau Ravier, 12 Grande Rue.
                                "           "            "          7, rue Cure
                             Galerie Seiller   8,Place Republique.
Port Bourgenay;    Maurice Savy, 144, rue du Bouc-Etou,

La Roche-sur-Yon.      Promenarts, 14, rue Paul Doumer.
Les Sables d'Olonne.
                                   Galerie d'Art, 70 Promenade Georges Clemenceau
                                   Galerie B.Vincent. 42 Promenade Georges Clemenceau.
St Gilles-Croix-de-Vie:
                                  Espace Henry Simon.  Les Rimajures, 75,Boulivard Georges Pompidou.
                                  Galerie d'Art revzin Christian, Place Gare.
                                  Galerie Mulot. 19,quai Port Fidele
                                  Galerie Nuances. 7, rue general de Gauille
                                  Simon-Feuillatre.  75, rue General de Gauille.
                                  Un Bruit Qui Court. 21 Quai Port Fidele.
                                   Bellon jean-claude. 11,rue plage.
                                   Etat D'Ame  4,place Jean Yole.
Soullans:  Mulot. 37 Chein Paradis.
Vouvant: classified as the "Village de Peintres" there are some 11 galleries in this small village plus exhibitions of paintings and events from April till November.

St.John Chapel, Les Epesses. Temporary exhibitions during the summer months on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Eglise St.Christophe, Mesnard le Barotiere, Medieval wall paintings open: 1/5 to 30/9 everyday 9-19h
                                                                                                       rest of year,  Saturdays & Sundays 9-17h

Eglise St Hilaire de Loulay, The worlds only replica of "St.Gregory" the original is in the Vatican.

Potteries: The following potteries are to be found in the Vendée.

Tournesol poterie, Maud Hardy, 64 route Grande ote, La Barre de Monts.
Marie-Christine Grangiens, la Cantardiere, Beaulieu sous la Roche.
M.C.Poterie. 12 place Marche, Beaulieu sous la Roche.
Christian Bourcereau. La Corde, Brem-sur-Mer.
La Barbotine, 11 rue Grenouille, les Clouzeaux.
Pierre Schaal. La Roussiere, Commequiers.
Potterie du Marais. 2, Chemin Cooperation, Damvix.
Poterie de Nesmy, 23,rue Geoges Clemenceau. Nesmy.
Poterie l'Alandier, 133 rue Pierre Brossolette, La-Roche-sur-Yon.
J.J.o.B. Decorations, 44 ave Orouet, St.Jean-de-Monts.
Alain Chaigneau, 2, la Grande Bougreliere, St.Martin-Lars.
Bertrand Larde. 25 rue Du Perrier, Sallertinee.

Miscellaneous Arts & Crafts:

Painting on wood & glass, Jacqueline Diot, 4 rue du Moulin a Tan, Mervent. Tel. 02 51 00 24 86

Tournage  d'Art sur Bois. (wood turning) Sebastian Panis. 6 impasse du Coq Hardi, Fontenay-le-Comte.
                                           Tel. 02 51 69 47 30

Vannerie (Basket weavers) Daniel Breillat, 7,rue Alienor d'Aquitaine, Neuil-sur-l'autise.

Tannerie. Tannerie Bocquier, Route de St. Gilles, Commequiers. Workshop and Boutique
Open every day except Sundays 8h-12h & 14h - 19h one of the last tanneries to be worked by hand in France.

Fonderie d'Art. Founderie.23,Terrace, Rue Kleber, Fontenay-le-Comte. Tel.02 51 52 55 72
Open all year round Tuesday to Sunday, 10.30 to 18.30h  15th June to 15th September everyday 10.30 to 19h
Demonstrations of casting; April,May, June,Oct, Nov & Dec 2nd Sunday of the Month 16h
                                         10 July to 11 Sept every Tuesday at 16h
Tarif;  Adult 4.5€   Child under 12 years old  2.50€

Antiques and Brochante. If you want to buy or just look at old arts and craft objects then you have 3 choices, there are antique shops and occasionally antique fairs and there are dozens of these all over the Vendée. You then have Brochants or what the English call Bric a Brac, again these are quite numerous although they rarely have the more expensive items, but you may well find a bargain especially in things that are not Vendéen or even French. Then there are the Vide Greniers, literally empty attic or to the rest of the world Car Boot sales, these are normally held on Sunday mornings and at these it is possible to find some great bargains especially if you arrive early. These Vide Greniers often occur without much notice, so you need to look out for local announcements, which are often just a series of small notices posted on the verge as you enter a village or town. There are exceptions like the one at St. Martin-des-Fontaines which holds possibly the largest Vide Grenier in the South Vendée on the second Sunday in September.

Music: Music has been an important part of life here in the Vendée and today the music traditions carry on from traditional music often played at village fêtes, to Jazz festivals and night-time musical spectaculars (at many of the major attractions) at places such as the Abbaye at Maillezais and Neuil-sur-l'Autise. There are regular musical evenings at the Puy-du-Fou with their Organs de Feu and the Vendée has its own L'Orchestra-de Vendée which holds regular concerts throughout the Department.

Photography: there are two photographers of the Vendée who stand out from the crowd. If you browse the many publications on the Vendée their work is evident by its quality. One is Francis Leroy of l'Ile d'Olonne who specialises in aerial shots, his work can be viewed on, The other is Valery Joncheray who though not living in the Vendée has taken some incredible photos of the region.

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