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Attractions Sud Vendee
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What's On in the Vendee
·From the Atlantic coast to the Marais Poitevin and beyond to the Mervent-Vouvant forest the South Vendée is as relaxing as it is inviting to those who visit. Everywhere nature’s exuberance captivates and enthrals with its sheer diversity, it is genuinely a nature lover’s paradise.Water, the symbol of wealth and purity is the key to this intriguing natural playground, The River Lay and its tributaries cross the bocage on their slow meandering journey to the sea leaving behind green and pleasant valleys with their farms, orchards and vineyards before crossing and draining the Marais Poitevin (marais dessèche). The river Vendée has its source in the Haut Bocage and is joined by the River Mere in the heart of the Mervent forest where barrages have dammed the river. This has created a necklace of magical and picturesque lakes which are a natural playground for walkers, bikers, and all manner of sports and recreation. The river then makes its way through Fontenay le Comte before lazily crossing the plaine (Lucon-Fontenay Prairie) and joining the river Sèvre Niortaise in the Marais Poitevin.

The coastal region stretches from
La Tranche sur Mer, with its dedication to nautical sports and family friendly beaches, southwards past the Belle Henriette nature reserve to the Anse de L’Aiguillon. The next town after La Tranche sur Mer is the beach resort of La Faute-sur-Mer with its golden sands stretching for miles to the South. Crossing the bridge over the Lay Estuary from La Faute-sur-Mer one arrives at LAiguillon-sur-mer, the mussel capital of the Vendée, with its ultra safe man made beach and lakes. Then there is the road along the (man made) dyke, built by the Dutch, to the Point de l’Aiguillon  with its acres of mussel beds just off shore.

The Marais Poitevin, a large area of marshland which extends past the boundaries of the Vendée, is the second largest area of wetlands in France. Water is an important key to this region and it is at its most dynamic on the Marais Poitevin. Divided into 3 main types each with their own character and charm, the Marais Poitevin is a unique and peaceful area of the Vendée. By far the most visited and most talked about is the area of the Marais Mouille, the wet marshes which are more commonly referred to as the
Green Venice or Venice Vert. A labyrinth of tree lined canals covered with green duckweed and punctuated by pretty white houses with coloured shutters makes this an area of picture postcard beauty and tranquillity.

The Towns and villages of the Region have their feet solidly planted in history. The Renaissance town of Fontenay-le-Comte was the former capital of the Bas Poitou, the name of the pre-revolution Vendée, and is its architectural jewel . Other notable towns and villages are
Luçon, with its Cathedral, the villages of Mervent and Vouvant with their ancient ruined castles and Maillezais and Nieul-sur-l'Autise with their abbeys and Royal connections. From all of these places came legendary and illustrious men who shaped not only the land but the very fabric of Vendéen life.

Mervent-Vouvant just 12kms from Fontenay-le-comte is both publicly and privately owned, and is a haven of tranquillity for both people and wildlife alike. The damming of the Rivers Mere and Vendée have created lakes which are a paradise for fishermen, water sports enthusiasts and those who just like to be near water. The forest has been laid out with over 200 kilometres of well marked footpaths and offers some of the best walks to be found anywhere in the Vendée. The local tourist office has plans of all of these walks together with distances and their difficulty. For full details of the forest and its amenities view our Mervent Forest page.

The Plaine
(Lucon-Fontenay Prairie) This natural grass land was the ancient coastal plain in the time before the Marais Poitevin started to silt up. Today, during the summer months it is a land where golden wheat, tall corn and yellow sunflowers dominate the view as far as the eye can see. For full details go to the
Plaine page

Wines of the South Vendée. The wines of the south Vendée are grown in four distinct areas mainly the Fiefs Vendéen label, athough some Vin du Pays is also grown. The main areas are Mareuil-sur-Lay, Vix, Pissotte and around Chantonnay. To find out more about these wines and to discover the wine route view our wines of the Vendée page.

Bike Hire on the Marais Poitevin;

l'Aiguillon-sur-mer: Bien eric. 33 rue Jacques Moreau. Tel. 02 5156 49 01.

La Faute-sur-Mer: Locacycles,3,Route la Tranche. Tel. 02 51 27 14 73.

La Tranche-sur-Mer:  Atout Cycles. 125 Lattre de Tassigny. Tel. 02 51 27 71 25.
                                 Bien ric. 23,rue Sables d'Olonne. Tel. 02 51 30 10 44.
                                 Cyclo Trek. 21,rue Pertuis Breton. Tel. 02 51 30 40 50.

Damvix.Equestrian Centre, 2,La Maison des Champs. Tel. 06 80 45 69 98.

Maillezais: Embarcadere de l'Abbaye. Le Grand Port. Tel. 02 51 87 21 87

Le Mazeau: Le Port. Tel. 02 51 52 90 73.

Horse Riding;

L'Aiguillon sur Mer. Ranch de Cacharel 02 51 29 42 82.
Pony riding 1-4 hrs. Beginners games.

Fontenay le Comte.
                           L'Etrier Fontenaisien   02 51 51 11 34
Horse riding lessons,outings, courses
                           l'Ane Vert. 02 28 13 08 98
Trekking with a donkey, trips in Mervent forest and Marais Poitevin.

St Maurice des Noues and Vouvant. La Garreliere.
Bruno & Beatrice Ripaud Tel 02 51 00 81 55.

St Hilaire des Loges. Tel 02 51 52 13 71

Benet. Stable of the Marais.

Roulottes du sud Vendée. Horse drawn caravans. Tel 02 51 46 83 49.

Boating & Canoeing;

Marais Poitevin.  Including the River Sèvre-Niotaise.

Damvix. There are three companies that hire canoes for trips
                          around the nearby canals.
                          Les Conches.  Tel. 02 51 87 12 01
                          Aria Loisirs      Tel. 02 51 87 14 00
                          Rocher           Tel. 02 51 87 18 18.

                          La Gue de Valluire: le Guetreen,7, rue place de la Riviere Tel. 02 51 52 53 87.
                          8€1h 12€ 2hours.
Longville-sur-Mer.   Maison des Marais, La Pepiere, route d'Angles.
                                                     Tel.02 51 90 36 63. &  06 86 61 14 18

Maille             Tel 02 51 87 07 52

Maillezais. Arie Loirsirs Grand port. Tel 02 51 87 14 00

Coulon (deux Sèvres)There are several points of location with in the village

Arcais two points of location in the village.

River VendèeFontenay-le-Comte. Canoe-Kayak C.K.F. Route Orbie, Base Pilorge.
                      Tel.06 11 04 64 06.  July August. By the bridge, organised by local canoeing club.

Mervent Forest. Base Nautique, Mervent available all year round to
                     discover the Rivers Mere and Vendée.
                                             Le Chene Todd. The adventure centre organises canoe a kayak
                     trips in various places including sea kayaking. Tel. 02 51 00 20 63

Xanton-Chassenon. Just south of Fontenay-le-Comte at the swimming pool lake.

River Lay.            Mareuil-sur-lay. Just under the bridge in the main street.
                          DIRIAM Location - 1 place circulaire - 85320 Mareuil-sur-Lay-Dissais
Towns & Villages in the South Vendee
La Chataigneraie
Foussais Payre
La Faute-sur-Mer
Saint Hilaire-des-Loges
Saint Hermine
La Tranche-sur-Mer
Canoeing on the Marais Poitevin