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Historic Heritage

Museums
Chateaux & churches
Wars of the Vendee
Vendee History

The Vendée is a region of France that is steeped in history, being as it is on the coast but also more importantly on a boundary which has historically divided races of people since the earliest inhabitants.
Later with the onset of religion it was both on the pilgrim route to Santander, which saw the building of many abbeys, priories and churches, it was then on the divide between Catholics and Protestants. Finally it was the focal point between Royalist and Republicans.
Due to these factors and the production of "White Gold" (salt) the area has had a very turbulent past, being fought over not only by tribal factions but by pirates and Foreign Nations.

From these turbulent times and man's need to tame the land has come a heritage as vast and vivid as any in France.
The Neolithic period has left us with Menhirs and Dolmens which can be viewed all over the Vendée. The  CAIRN centre near Avrille dedicates itself to research and education on this period.

The region was the historic boundaries between the Gauls to the north and the Pictons to the south and the area was not united until the Roman occupation from 57Bc. There are many traces of their 300 year stay although you will need to visit one of the museums to see the evidence.
When the Romans were driven out by the Barbarians and despite the land being fought over by various tribal groups,
Christianity which had started in the 3rd century, continued.

The 10th century saw the start of the Romananique architecture and many of the  churches and abbeys date from this period. It was also a period when man started the draining of the marshes in particular the Marais Poitevin and salt became an essential for the preservation of food.

The various conflicts that ravaged the Vendée including the 100 years wars, the wars of religion and finally the Wars of the Vendée left the vendée devastated, but due to the determination and ingenuity of its people it has today become one of the most productive and economically sound Departments of France.

The Vendée is also a world leader in Yacht building.





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